All Very Well

There is much talk of reducing the Federal government to Constitutional size by returning to the States the duties and obligations ceded to the States by the Constitution and since usurped by the an ever expanding Federal government assumption of powers not specifically accorded the Federal government by the Constitution. This is all very well, but the country the Framers envisaged as a collection of sovereign States, each with its own laws and customs, died on a hot July day in 1863 at a place called Gettysburg. The idea of a singular and sovereign United States did not exist until Pickett’s Virginians failed to cross the gentle slope in front of the stone wall behind which lay veteran Union infantry and artillery. Certainly Vermont is entitled to have its own health care system if it chooses to pay for it, but do we really want people to again feel they are Vermonters or Texans rather than Americans? In my unwritten dystopian novel the United States is Balkanized by the Left, not by the Right. The States have a right to determine a full range of things they are now prevented from determining, like same sex marriage and abortion, but there must be natural limits to their ability to defy the Federal government. A State or City should not have the right to decide to declare itself a sanctuary and defy Federal law. A State should not have the ability to withhold its militia if called upon by the Federal government to produce it. It is all very well to allow the States more freedom than they current possess, but the verdict of history is that the greater the distance from the seat of power the greater the impetus to completely divorce oneself from what will inevitably be considered a foreign and oppressive power. Be moderate in the use and dispersal of power, and be careful what you wish for.

Marse Robert paced the floor all night
At dawn came his decision
Virginia was his holy light
His country and his vision
And so they came, the future dead
The young to die in battle
Who wished for life but got instead
A minie ball’s death rattle
But in the end a nation grew
Leviathan in power
No longer were we gray and blue
But freedom’s holy tower
What once were States were now a State
United and unyielding
Determined to direct its fate
With honorable wielding
Of power for the good of all
Its citizens wherever
Small place that they might choose to call
Their home be it so never
So rude as sod huts on the plain
The wagon borne expansion
No longer men from Georgia, Maine
The country our great mansion

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