We the People
E. Pluribus Unum. This was our original slogan. Out of Many… One.
The US Constitution is written about our Union not about nitty gritty states rights things. The framers of the Constitution did understand that there were going to have to be some things that the states would have to work out for themselves, but they came together as a union to work together under a single language, currency, and name. We agreed under this contract to be “Americans.”
The Preamble of The Constitution reads:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The entirety of this speaks wholly of the UNION, and not of the individual states.
Yes, there are things that should be left to the states, but we have to decide what those are.
People no longer just live their entire within 30 miles of where they were born. Lives are constantly crossing over state lines. Borders are blurred every day. What is true and absolute in one state can be completely overturned in a matter of miles, in another.
If we are living in a blurred lines society, then the lines between the union and the states rights are also blurred. If a child’s education in one state is significantly lacking that of a child’s in another, is that supporting the ideal of the “promotion of the general welfare” of the citizens of the United States?
If one believes wholeheartedly in the Constitution then shouldn’t their belief in the union it represents be equally as strong?
It is time to rethink the concept of “states rights.”
I am not saying that everything should be federal, but we need to look at how things like laws across state lines being blurred cause more trouble than they solve.
I am personally proud that Colorado has lead the charge on the medical, and recreational, marijuana laws. But, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, and even New Mexico are frustrated because of their refusal to realize the income and reality of marijuana. They are like Jeff Sessions, believing the fear-mongering ideas of “Reefer Madness,” instead of the benefits found by so many since then. So, they are looking at how they can “catch” the criminals at the border instead of finding a way of helping their citizens as Colorado has.
If we could have found a way, as we were headed that way, to decriminalize marijuana nationally, the tax revenue could be doing wonderful things for education, healthcare, and so much more. (Portugal decriminalized all drugs that have found that drug use dropped by nearly 50%. Drug related crimes have dropped significantly too.)
Gun laws are a huge challenge today. One of the biggest issue isn’t that there aren’t enough, or that one state has really strict laws that aren’t working. It is because people can go from state to state and the laws are so vastly different so if someone really wants a gun, they can find a state with lax enough laws to get what they want, when they want them.
(Yes, the argument can be made that criminals will do the same, but when the rules are consistent and equally applied, criminals have to get creative and have to work outside the lines.)
In the 1980’s the Reagan Administration, albeit inadvisably, pinned highway funds to setting speed limits to 55, under the assumption that it would improve fuel consumption and reduce accidents. And so, with the money, states lowered speed limits. This is an example of how the union works together. It isn’t perfect and states struggle each year because the money is allocated state by state. Often, states are still clamoring for more money due to the failure to plan for the future cost. People afraid of the word “tax” won’t visit the cost of living together in a union.
This is a social contract. We came together as a nation to work together. As a member of this union, we are responsible not only to ourselves, but to our union.
We, the people, need to be active in our government at all levels. We also need to hold our representatives responsible for their actions. We do that by registering to vote, and showing up. We help marginalized populations participate in the process. We educate others on the importance of participation.
I am a member of We the People, and I am a part of E. Pluribus Unum.