[Cross posted from muskegoncritic.blogspot.com]
As I read more about US history, a certain thematic consistency becomes pretty obvious.
States Rights "conservatives" and Federalist "liberals" have hated each other since before the day the United States declared its independence, and they've been bickering pretty much ever since. And of course there was that whole Civil War thing.
Why, it's as American as apple pie and root beer.
When the US created trade tariffs in 1816, you can bet the South and the States Rights folks were right there complaining about it and calling it unconstitutional, culminating in the Nullification Crisis of 1832 when South Carolina positioned its militia to enforce the state's assertion that they should be able to pick and choose which Federal laws applied to them.
History is full of States Rights advocates bemoaning Federal laws as unconstitutional and over-reaching. Same thing happened with anti-slavery laws. The income tax. Social Security. And of course, more recently, Health Insurance Reform.
Yessir. The current national conversation we're having isn't new. In fact, it's very old.
Folks like Glenn Beck and Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas, seem to love to blame Woodrow Wilson for some new wave of Government Overreach, but really...they should be going further back than that to Alexander Hamilton who wrote much of the Federalist Papers.
Hamilton who wrote:
Even to observe neutrality you must have a strong government.
In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.
Folks like Beck and Perry would have people believe that Strong Federal Government is a new thing, and that a Weak or Hands Off Federal Governmet is our heritage, when that's never, ever, ever been the case.
Federal Government has the authority to trump the States.
It always has.
It always will.
And that's one of the things that allowed America to become great.
A Strong Federal Government IS our history. It IS a source of our strength.
And yet, again we see folks like Glen Beck and many on the right mobilizing the classic American rivalry. They're using the historical, Anti-Federalist sentiment and Anti-Federalist rhetoric it yet ANOTHER push to change what America has always been, and weaken the Federal Government. Even as they decry some "new" American over-reach as unprecedented and, once again, "unconstitutional" they're still basically what they've always been...the insurgent South trying to pick and choose what part of this Union they want to agree with, and what laws they want to abide by.
The insurgent South.
I encourage our leaders to stand by their Strong Federal Government beliefs. To wear them with pride. To know they have history on their side.
We Are Americans first, and that's where our strength is. It's not surprising that Obama campaigned on National Unity. No Red America or Blue America but a United States of America. That is a Federalist sentiment. And it has the backing of the entire history of this nation.
Likewise, it's not surprising that Anti-Federalist Conservatives in office would attempt to derail the power of the Federal Government. Would refuse compromise.
We are having now the same battle we've always had.
This is nothing new. And we're going to win again, as long as our American leaders realize the RIGHTNESS and HISTORICAL primacy of a Strong Federal Government. There should be no mincing words. No running away from it. A Strong Federal Government IS America. It's what Lincoln fought to preserve.