“Texas Secede!” You could not miss the large red and blue letters sprawled across a white T-shirt. They were considered a fringe group back when I lived in the state; I moved out in 1982. Always proud as a peacock to tell anyone I hailed from the Lone Star State. There are still family members who believe I was probably brainwashed or something. Maybe so. A Kansas girl will do that to you.
There is doubt, however – the fringe group is still as fringe as they used to be. Thirty-one percent of Texans believe they have a right to secede; 18 percent would actually vote to do so. Constitutionally they do, but will it ever come to that?
Secessionist groups are no longer fringe. How can they be when 37 states have introduced sovereignty resolutions; 12 have actually passed one, including Kansas. When a Zogby poll asked if the country was so broke that even an election will not fix it, 44 percent of those polled agreed. One in 12 of our fellow countrymen believe we could be headed to another civil war or “something like it.” One in 12! I shudder to think what the “something like it” is that people have in mind.
Where exactly did this furor come from and how will it manifest itself over the next decade? There is no doubt government takeovers, Obamacare, immigration, the national debt and endless government mandates have all played a role. In an article in Investor’s Business Daily that appeared on July 30, attorney Ernest Christian and economist Gary Robbins ask the question: “Will Washington’s Failures Lead to Second American Revolution?” Their in-depth question: “Is the government doing more harm that good? Should we change what it does and the way it does it?”
Evidently, many Americans now answer that question with a resounding yes. The weapon of choice is not the gun for a revolution, but the old-fashioned U.S. Constitution, specifically the 10th Amendment. It reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The states have a right, even a duty, to nullify unconstitutional laws, which if the law violates the Constitution there is no law at all. Thomas Jefferson in his draft of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 first used the term “nullification.” He was simply expounding on political thought that had been around since the early Colonial period. Jefferson and James Madison wrote in 1798 that a state must resist federal enforcement of an unconstitutional and dangerous policy. How this will all play out seems to be anyone’s guess. The time seems right, though; the public is in a mood to desire a push back to the ever-increasing power out of Washington.
The two hottest issues of late seem to be Obamacare and the immigration debate. As of March, 30 states have declared parts of the federal health insurance law null and void. Four states have held votes, with the latest being Missouri with Proposition C, declaring the mandate of having health insurance or be fined, to be non-binding in their state. It passed with 71 percent!
Governors appear ready to take Washington on with these issues. Jan Brewer in Arizona, Rick Perry in Texas, Bobby Jindal in Louisiana and Bob McDonnell in Virginia, for example. State Attorney Generals in at least a dozen states have already staked claims in the ongoing health care debate. Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, who is running for governor, wrote, “by enacting the individual mandate, Congress usurps state’s sovereign power to enact statutes or the state’s constitution provision to protect its citizens.”
In Federalist 39, Madison wrote, “Each state, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation the new Constitution will, if established be a Federal and not a National constitution.”
When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked by a reporter where in the Constitution was the authority to mandate health insurance on Americans, she giggled and replied, “Are you serious? Are you serious?” She then moved to the next question.
Does this trouble you as much as it does me? Pelosi’s spokesperson clarified the no answer by explaining that it was “not a serious question.”
Oh, yes it is, says the governors and attorney generals of nine states. Not to mention secessionists in 21 more.