The thousands of 4th of July celebrations did not focus much on our 1776 Declaration of Independence from England. Listening to the list of complaints against England’s King George would sound too much like the complaints against our own Congress and presidents over the past five decades or so. Instead, the official part of the festivities focused on our supposed status as 50 united states.
Most historians would claim that the issue of states’ rights was settled in favor of the central government during Lincoln’s presidency nearly 150 years ago, in the so-called Civil War.
Not quite so fast. On close examination we may not be nearly as united as the political propagandists would have us believe. Recent events suggest that moves to separate ourselves from the central government are accumulating at an accelerating pace.
Perhaps we can trace the growing trend toward a new independence from the central government to California, which in 1996, in defiance of federal law, approved the nation’s first medical marijuana law in a statewide voter initiative. Despite near hysteria by anti-marijuana forces, 13 other states so far have also approved medical marijuana laws, including New Jersey earlier this year.
Concerned about its potential violations of privacy, the costs of funding, and other issues, 25 states led by Maine have acted to denounce the George W. Bush-era law known as the Real ID Act. The law remains on the books, but its implementation has been “delayed” repeatedly, and it is, in practice, null and void.
In the past two years, Tennessee and Montana have passed laws that exempt from federal control any weapons and ammunition made entirely within those two individual states, challenging federal interpretation of the Constitution’s Interstate Commerce Clause.
On the same basis, some 18 states are suing to overturn the recent approval of the so-called Obama Care health bill.
Amid much controversy, Arizona recently enacted a law that challenges the federal government’s exclusive control over illegal immigration.
Rejection of and challenges to the federal government’s claim to power come from individuals as well.
A recent poll found that some 80 percent of Americans want Congress to order an audit of the Federal Reserve. No wonder: The highly secretive non-federal, non-reserve has been claiming it can cure the current economy of its years of artificially low interest rates, easy credit, and printing money with even lower interest rates, easy credit, and printing larger quantities of money. How bad is it? Since the Fed was created in 1913, the value of the dollar has dropped 95%. (www.usinflationcalculator.com)
Schooling is considered by many to be a bedrock function of government. Some 55 million children in the United State are of K-12 age. But the parents of roughly 15% of school-age children — some 8.5-9.0 million — have chosen alternatives to government schools. Parents have put 6.5 million of them in private, that is, non-government schools. Another two million are homeschooled, a number that this decade has been growing 6-7% a year.
One group which does not seem to be making as much noise for independence as it probably ought to consists of younger adults who must by now surely realize that the amounts being confiscated from their paychecks for Social Security are not being set aside for their retirement. One truism in politics is that people vote by age. That is, 70% of the 70-year-olds vote, but only 20% of the 20-year-olds vote. Seniors will turn out in good weather and bad to protect their benefits, but the young can’t seem to get worked up about the fact that they’re being ripped off every time they get paid. Given what the federal government has done, and continues to do, to the Americans, each 4th of July is a perfect time for a wave of new declarations of independence.