Friday, September 16, 2005

Government: State's Rights vs. Federal Power

Posted by guest blogger, Qui-gonnjesse:

No Child Left Behind is currently being challenged in certain states because the state government, certain members of the legislature and the school board disagree with it.

In the case of Connecticut, I believe, the reasoning for the opposition and subsequent refusal to administer the criteria is that it requires the state to put a set of mandatory regulations and standards into practice that the government does not provide adequate funds to implement and administer.

The resultant joust between the local government and Washington has a rhetorical echo that is reminiscent of pre Civil War conflicts of states rights versus federal power (Dred Scott, the Fugitive Slave Act).

What I find interesting is that the traditional proponents of federal consolidation and authority (Democrats) are now using the tools and language of states' rights to try to forward or preserve their own issues and causes....

One could conceivably argue States Rights over Federal Rights were invoked (albeit briefly) in California and Massachusetts to allow gay couples the right to marry.

Now, my questions, are these.
Is this seeming switch a reaction to a "Republican" administration that is ostensibly a neo-conservative group; one that is not in place to make sure that Federal Power remains in check to allow State government to function, but rather a group with a laundry list of reforms that will have every tool in the toolbox used (and no small number of goats sacrificed by the Aspect of Orcus that is Karl Rove) to make these ideals law?

Patriot Act
Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage
No Child Left Behind
Efforts to make FEDERAL tax cuts permanent.
If the above is true, will it change when there is a new person in power? For example, were John McCain to become president, (who is still a strong proponent of traditional republican ideals of States' Rights over Federal, and smaller government and who has criticized radical conservatives as intolerant), would we see a stabilization of a kind? Namely, would democrats and republicans reshuffle to their traditional bases (all of which now are belong to us) and would they tend to represent liberals and conservatives respectively as a secondary consequence of their overall political perspectives?


Does this trend in politics indicate that the political parties are becoming less about ideas of government, and more about ideas of morality?

Will the parties become "Republican" and "Democrat" in name alone, leaving us--effectively--with one group willing to use the full authority of the federal government to make abortion illegal, restrict marriage as it applies to all citizenry, and require mandatory sect-specific religious practices and iconography in civil and governmental locales and proceedings, while another group uses whatever means possible (state or federal) to uphold what they see as the basic rights of all citizenry and to preserve what they see as the rights that--while maybe not contemplated by 18th century minds in powdered wigs--as the basic freedoms of Americans?

Basically, are we moving from Big Government versus Small Government to my beliefs versus your beliefs, and lets see who can get to the Supreme Court faster?


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