Rediscovering and recovering lost and endangered American liberties by studying our Founders' ideas, contemporaries, and etymology – because our united States "…are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States…"
The advice is pretty universal: “We need to get behind [popular candidate] so we can beat [popular candidate from the other party]!
Why has it come to this? Instead of being urged to vote conscientiously for a candidate who espouses our values, we are told that we must vote against the opposing candidate, at all costs – even if it means settling for someone who is largely opposed to our values, but nevertheless running under the banner of the party that seems a little more favorable to said values. “If you don’t vote for [popular candidate], then [popular candidate from the other party] will surely win! Your vote will be a ‘throwaway vote’,” you’ll hear.
I’m here to say that if we keep on voting this way, we’ll keep on getting the same types of elected officials, who will keep on distracting us with the disgraceful voting record of the other party’s candidate, and with scenarios of horror (where the other party’s candidate wins). The cycle will continue.
I believe there is a superficial level of urgency that we as voters are made to focus on: social issues. Perhaps at first it was right to focus on such things, back when our governmental foundation was intact, but nowadays we have much more urgent issues than deciding, for example, whether or not ‘gay marriage’ is a ‘human right’. The reason that enacting laws about social issues seems so pivotal today is because such laws are sweeping – much of the time overriding local and state resolutions. However, the existence of such sweeping legislation is only a glaring symptom of the root problem: our founding principles have been ignored, reinterpreted, and in some cases, legally changed.
This deterioration of founding principles is also the reason that electing a congress or president seems so immensely pivotal. If our Government operated according to the rules and intentions set forth in the Constitution, a single man would not be able to wield too much power, nor would there be overreaching Federal laws that go out across the land like a king’s decree, affecting all 50 states. Our Fathers anticipated such centralized power – ergo effecting a general ‘safety net’ – the decentralized balance of power between State and Federal authority.
Since broad Federal mandates on social issues have become the norm (think: DOMA; ObamaCare; Prohibition; Civil Rights Acts), it’s understandable that so much seems to hinge on who gets into Congress or the Oval Office – but originally, most social issues were left to the States and local governing bodies to decide how things would be handled.
Federal overreach has crept in gradually, with one major exception: the outcome of the Civil War. The precedents set by the Union Government were empire-like: might makes right, states don’t have the right to self-determination, and don’t ever mess with the Feds. Since the War, state representation has also suffered a loss with the passing of the 17 Amendment, which allows for the direct election of senators. Then, in the 1940’s, the Supreme Court dreamed up an ‘Incorporation Doctrine‘ that twisted the intentions of the 14th Amendment, effectively and incorrectly allowing the Federal Government to apply the Bill of Rights to the States (the Bill of Rights was intended to protect U.S. citizens from Federal abuse, not State abuse), stealing even more power from the States.
“But what if [a state, usually Southern] passes a law that [heinously destroys some human right]?” You’ve probably heard a similar question. I say an even better question would be, “What if the Federal Government passes a law that [heinously destroys some human right]?” If that happened the result would be devastating: 50 states of people would be adversely affected, not just one.
Why on Earth would someone assume that a powerful central government will always be morally superior to a state government? Powerful central governments that repress Federalism (state’s rights) are responsible for the most unthinkable crimes ever committed against humanity (Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Saddam’s Iraq, etc.).
Because of the perceived grave import of electing officials who will properly represent our views on social issues, it is tempting to settle for anything that seems better that what we may have had in the recent past. However, I believe we should look past the flashing red alerts and blaring alarms of social degradation, and place the goal of restoring our Republic as ultimately a more urgent task. If and when our founding principles come back more in line with the Founders’ intentions, most social ills and issues can be handled by state and local government, or even more preferably, by private organizations.
Until then, I recommend voting our consciences, for the candidates best suited to help steer our government back toward our founding principles: federalism, limited government, non-intervention, and self-determination – in short: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.