Since the begining of time political movements have come and gone. Some have had bigger impacts than others. Some have been movements that supported violence, some advocated a particular issue, but few have been focused on education and empowering the electorate. That is what gives the Tenth Amendment Center (TAC) such staying power. The Tenth Amendment Center is not focused on a single issue insofar as the 10th Amendment covers a range of issues. The TAC does not tell people what to think or for whom to vote. They are focused on educating the people so that we, the people realize that the best government is the one closest to home.
We all know, well most of us, that the 10th Amendment says that the powers not granted to the Federal Government by the Constitution are reserved to the states and the people. What the TAC does is offers perspective and empirical data that shows how to apply the 10th Amendment. Why is this so important for our country and, more specificlly, the Tea Party movement? The answer is: ideological consistency. Nobody likes a hypocrite and, moreover, nobody is going to listen to someone who contradicts themselves. You lose the moral upperhand in political debate when you apply your principles inconsistently. Some in the Tea Party and 9-12 movement talk about limited government and strict interpretation of the Constitution until the argument gets to an issue in which they want the government involved.
This is particularly clear when the discussion is about marijuana or marriage. The Constitution says nothing about either issue, yet, many “constitutional conservatives” want the Federal Government to enforce drug prohibition and define marriage. Since the Constitution does not give these powers to the Federal Government they are, via the 10th Amendment, reserved to the states or the people. People become so emotional when talking about these issues they proclaim that anyone supporting this viewpoint wants to legalize marijuana, which is not the case. Just because I do not think the Federal Government has the constitutional authority to outlaw marijuana does not mean ipso facto I want marijuana legalized. It simply means that the power to make those decisions rests in your statehouse not in Washington, D.C.
There exsists a range of issues like this, some much less controversial than pot and marriage. For instance, the Real ID Act. This law, signed by George W. Bush in 2005, creates, for the first time in our history, a national ID card. The problem is, the Constitution does not give the Federal Government the power to issue an ID other than a passport. That is why drivers licenses and ID cards have always been issued by the states and each state has had different requirements that must be met to obtain a license or ID card. Lots of “constitutional conservatives” will argue that the Real ID is needed to prevent terrorism but that is just a red herring. Thankfully, many true constitutionalists disagree and elected officials like Senator Russell Pearce of Arizona, the author of SB1070, and Governors like Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Sonny Perdue of Georgia, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, and Sarah Palin of Alaska have passed legislation that made it illegal for their state to take part in the Real ID program. Thanks to the courage of these elected officials and their states the Real ID has effectively been nullified.
The Tenth Amendment Center is playing an important role in elucidating these issues to people to ensure that we follow the Constitution every time, not just when it fits with our political ideology. The TAC is showing people that sometimes liberty is uncomfortable. Sometimes we are going to disagree with the choices that other individuals make but that doesn’t mean the Federal Government has the power to force them to make different choices. Sometimes liberty might make us a little less safe, but better to be less secure and preserve our Republic and our Constitution than to turn in to the USSR. I would rather have liberty with danger than slavery with security.
The task of educating people on these principles is daunting. It takes a lot of hard work and effort by the men and women of the TAC and, most of all, it takes money. That’s why I am asking you to reach down deep in your pockets and dig out as much money as you can spare for freedom. The mission of the Tenth Amendment Center is one that is so important and without the help of dedicated patriots like you it cannot continue. Do not look at it as a donation, look at it as an investment in your liberty and the liberty of your children and grandchildren. What better cause is there towards which you could put your money?
My conservative friends think I’m too liberal; my liberal friends think I’m too conservative…clearly I’m on the right track! It seems so simple to me, we are a constitutional republic, not a democracy. Therefore, our government should be limited to the powers granted to it by the Constitution. This doesn’t mean that we are always going to be comfortable with the results but it does mean we will always be free.
Sometimes freedom will make liberals angry (re: 2nd amendment) and sometimes freedom will make conservatives angry (re: gambling et al.). Why even have a Constitution if we aren’t going to follow it? The Constitution says that gold and silver shall be used as legal tender. Why do we use Federal Reserve notes as legal tender? The Constitution says that we only go to war with a decleration of war by Congress. Why did we go to war in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and Iraq again without Congress delcaring war?
I know this sometimes puts me at odds with both sides of the political spectrum, but I think that a consistant application of the Constitution is the only way to ensure the security of our individual liberties. People like to badmouth Ron Paul because he thinks we should only go to war with a decleration from Congress! How crazy! Follow the Constitution?!?!?! What a crazy bastard, right? The Constitution was intended to restrain government, not indidviduals. The Founders believed that the job of government is to “secure our rights”, why is government always infringing on our rights? Life, liberty, property. These are the things governments are supposed to protect. Yet they are taking more and more of our property and liberties away from us.
Government is evil. From the dawn of time governments have murdered individuals on a scale of which the most horrific serial killer could only dream. Remember Ruby Ridge? The Justice Department murdered a 14 year old boy and his mother, in cold blood. Remember Waco? I don’t even remember how many men, women, and children were murdered there, but once again it was the Justice Department that had blood on their hands. Can’t we all agree that murdering women and children in cold blood is not the proper role of government? Yesterday it was Ruby Ridge and Waco, tomorrow it could be a group of tea partiers.
Most of the folks I know in the Tea Party movement like to talk about freedom and liberty but they don’t seem to know what those words mean. They like like to joke about being “extremists” but then they tell me that my views are too extreme! I’m too extreme for the extremists! To quote Milton Friedman, “…the problem is I am on your side, but you’re not.”
Again, it seems so simple. Read the 10th amendment! The powers not given to the federal government are reserved to the states or the people. Remember, democracy never lasts long. I forget which Founding Father said it but “democracies are as short in their lives as they are violent in their deaths.”
I know this has been something of a rant but I hope more people start demanding that the government stick to the Constitution, secure our rights, and stop murdering our citizens. All I want is, “A government small enough to fit inside the Constitution”, as Harry Browne said. People can yell at me and complain about my views being extreme, but, my views are the Constitution. So, go ahead and hate me if you want neo-cons, but I’d rather you hate me for being who I am than love me for being someone I am not. I am just a guy that believes in freedom, is that so bad?