Any young journalism student quickly learns that conflict makes for good narrative. How many compelling tales have you read where everybody gets along throughout the entire story?

Not very many, eh?

That explains why pretty much every political story told pits one side against another. Left against right. Liberal against conservative. Republican against Democrat.

But what if something in the political realm brought people across the divide together? Imagine a story that got the guy occupying Wall Street and the Tea Party activist both nodding in agreement. Imagine the piece puts the guy holding the anti-war banner and the gal demanding responsible government spending and lower taxes together on the same page. Imagine a narrative where guns and weed shared the same spotlight.

You’ll find that happening every day at the Tenth Amendment Center.


Because we rally around a principle, not a single issue or even a political ideology. At TAC we are all about the Constitution, every issue, every time, no exceptions no excuses.

Many find it difficult if not impossible to wrap their heads around this. I’m constantly asked, “Is the Tenth Amendment Center part of the Tea Party?”

No, it is not.

That would prove difficult since Michael Boldin founded TAC in 2006, long before activists brewed the first cup of tea. True, we find many friends in the Tea Party; particularly those who seek to shrink and limit the power of the federal government. Yup, we do that. But I’ve seen many Tea Party Patriots squirm in discomfort when the discussion turns to getting the feds out of the war on drugs business. And a lot of Tea Partiers don’t exactly stand up and cheer when TAC points out the unconstitutional nature of many Patriot Act provisions. So while we find common ground with many tea-drinkers, we don’t walk in lock-step with them. TAC often partners with Tea Party organizations, but when those folks advocate for unconstitutional uses of federal power, we oppose them without hesitation.

And while you won’t find TAC occupying Wall Street, the organization does recognize the validity of some of the occupiers’ assertions. Large corporations take advantage of the average American citizen every day, gaming the system to their advantage. But the problem does not grow out of Wall Street, it sprouts from Washington D.C. Former Kentucky Libertarian congressional candidate Ed Martin gets to the heart of the problem.

“Corporations do what they are supposed to do. Granted their tactics are oft detestable, but they exist to profit/make money. It is their purpose. They buy and sell with the ultimate goal of making profits. Distasteful as it is, if they have the opportunity to ‘buy’ politicians and entire political parties in that effort – they do it. Political parties/governments, however, are charged with protecting the rights of the people. That they ‘sell’ themselves to the highest bidders, forsaking the citizens, is a complete dereliction of their charge.”

A federal structure that allows the government to reach into and exercise power over so many areas the framers never intended creates an environment ripe for abuse. Limit federal power to it proper constitutional sphere and the corporations lose the levers they work to gain advantages.

When OWS supporters recognize this and seek to limit the power and scope of the federal government, the Tenth Amendment Center will stand side-by-side with them, just as we have the Tea Part folks. But when the Occupiers call for more federal power to solve problems, we will oppose them vehemently.

The bottom line is that TAC is not part of any movement. We are a movement. As Boldin pointed out in a piece last week, “The only thing that the Tenth Amendment Center is ‘with’ is the constitution.”

At the Tenth Amendment Center, we want to get people looking beyond their pet issues and political ideology. When they do, perhaps they will come to recognize that left and right have a little more in common than they first realized. Those we label liberal intuitively recognize the federal government should not have its nose stuck up against the bedroom window or conduct armed raids against American citizens just because they grow an unapproved plant. They recognize the folly of unending war and the danger to civil rights that comes along with it. And so-called conservatives rail against the one-size-fits-all health care solutions and overreaching FDA and EPA bureaucracies. They demand the federal government keep its hands off their guns and that it stop taking their hard-earned money and handing out in social programs they don’t approve of.

The problem lies in the fact that every side embraces overreaching federal power when it suits their purposes and rail against it when it doesn’t. They fight to gain control of the power structure instead of stepping back and recognizing the power structure itself is the problem.

The Constitution provides a bridge across this political divide. At TAC, we yearn for left and right to recognize that while they may disagree vehemently on various issues, the true enemies lurk on Capitol Hill and along Pennsylvania Avenue. As Americans fight to gain control over the levers of power in D.C., the Frankenstein that is the federal government simply gets more and more powerful, running roughshod conservative and liberal alike. Instead, we need to destroy those centralized levers and work at our state and local levels for the changes we desire.

The framers created a system meant to allow state and local residents to make their own decisions in most matters. This works to the advantage of people holding every conceivable political viewpoint, because different regions can find solutions that work best for them. State and local governments can experiment and innovate, discarding failed policies and embracing those that work. Americans intuitively understand that political solutions in Alabama will likely look different than those supported by Californians. Is that really such a bad thing? Do we really need central planners in Washington telling every citizen in every state how to do things?

Clearly not.

So we call on liberal and conservative, Republican and Democrat, Occupier and Tea Partier – walk across that bridge, link hands and join us in the battle to take back our Republic. Our movement will welcome you with open arms.

Mike Maharrey