For years, the Tenth Amendment Center has drawn the ire of both the American right and left, but generally for different reasons. To the left, we are neoconfederates trying to mask our desire to somehow reintroduce slavery and Jim Crow segregation by promoting nullification and states’ rights. We draw the ire of the right for challenging unconstitutional wars and the federal War on Drugs.
While we have detractors from both sides of the political divide, the most vocal opposition almost always originates from whichever side holds federal power at the moment.
During the Bush years, we frustrated the right because we stood against unilateral executive war powers, the REAL ID Act, the so-called Patriot Act and more. During the Obama years, the left railed against us because we opposed Obamacare, Common Core, the IRS, the War on Drugs, police militarization, gun control, even the Supreme Court imposing its own definition of marriage on the states.
Now we’ve gone full circle.
Although presidents have changed, our position remains the same: “The Constitution. Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses.”
Meanwhile, the tunes sung by both political movements in the country have switched entirely. The right, once the advocate of decentralization, is now pushing for greater executive power. Meanwhile, the left has suddenly come to appreciate, perhaps begrudgingly, the role of nullification as the “rightful remedy” that people like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison offered to combat federal tyranny.
How ironic that people who for years seethed with contempt for the founding fathers and everything they stood for have suddenly developed an appreciation for the philosophy they fought, suffered, and even died to preserve!
Some have found this flip-flopping amusing, perhaps ironic. To them, it’s a game played between both sides. When one wins, they switch talking points and strategies. In years past, that might have been humorous. But I find no levity in the situation, or the prolonged, rampant hypocrisy.
It’s a game this country can no longer afford to play.
It has done indescribable damage to our political system, our government, and the Constitution. What’s more, it is not sustainable. Calls for defending the Constitution and limited government now fall on deaf ears because Americans who hear it and might have otherwise listened know that those who proclaim it are disingenuous and opportunistic. Adhering to the rule of law is now the trite punchline of an old joke.
The Constitution is not a political buffet. We don’t get to pick and choose which parts of it we will follow and what parts we will ignore because we don’t like them.
For it to have any real meaning or force, the whole document must be followed and its constraints acknowledged. To do otherwise is to make a mockery of the very concept of a written constitution. In doing so we regress to the days of the British Crown that only afforded a “living, breathing” constitution that had no definite meaning beyond the temporary moment
The time will soon be upon us when Americans of all political stripes must decide whether we are going to accept the Constitution as it is written or reject it entirely, because the pretense of federalism has at last come to an end.
If Americans refuse to do this; if they insist on violating it to impose their will on their fellow countrymen, then they invite the very question of why they live under the same government in the first place. We can no longer waver between freedom and tyranny. If we wish to be free, then fight for the freedom of all. If not, then do not be surprised when your opponents use the very same tyranny you would wield against them to subjugate you.