We are a federal republic, not a dictatorship. We are also not a democracy.
For those that don’t know what federalism means, it’s this: The federal government does not have dictatorial control over the states. Further, the states not only have certain independence secured, it’s also enshrined in the 10th Amendment. Simply stated, this means that the only powers the federal government has are the ones specifically stated in the United States Constitution. Further, any powers not specifically stated belong to the states themselves.
This is precisely why we are NOT like other nations in which the central government issues a dictum and the nation follows suit. Our states do not have to follow direct orders unless said orders are specifically stated in the Constitution. Our system of government is a mixture of independent state control and central government control…with limits. Historically, those limits have been challenged – the entire reason the Supreme Court exists. Not to create law, which is called judicial activism, but to interpret the law – what does the Constitution say and is said law constitutional.
Many are blaming the powers that be in D.C. for their lack of mandates (masks as an example), or for not sending in the National Guard to quell the urban unrest in American cities such as Portland, Chicago, and Minneapolis. What they don’t understand is this does NOT fall under the power of the federal government. This also means that Mr. Biden, who famously said not long ago that he’d mandate masks if the doctors recommended it, cannot issue such an order. Further, there is some question as to the efficacy of mandating mask wearing at all, although in Illinoisthe governor does have the power to impose restrictions for thirty days…after that, he cannot (although that is being tested now which is why a downstate lawmaker won his lawsuit and doesn’t have to wear one). I am not saying not to wear a mask. What I am saying is: understand how the federal system works before blaming the federal government for what amounts to a state action the Tenth Amendment prohibits the government from doing.
With regard to the riots – and that’s what they are when property destruction is involved – that is also the purview of the STATES, not the federal government – unless, and only unless, the Insurrection Act is invoked to quell such rioting. Now, before anyone starts to decry that should Mr. Trump invoke it, he’s making a play for dictatorial power, the Insurrection Act has been used many times, including waging the Civil War (Lincoln), and safeguarding the Little Rock Nine (Eisenhower), among many other instances. The federal government does have that power.
So again, please dispense with the “Trump is causing the riots” or “Trump can’t stop the riots” trope. In essence, he can’t prima facie, because it is a state issue, unless the state asks for help. Don’t like what’s happening, blame your governor. Riots out of control in Wisconsin, blame the governor who rejected federal aid when offered, allowing only two hundred fifty national guardsmen rather than the seven hundred the police said they needed. Blame the Portland mayor for the continual riots as he posted a letter in which he explicitly rejected the help of the federal government.
The complete lack of civility, knowledge of history, and willingness to engage wrong information, biased information, or incendiary information because of one’s political stance is simply ludicrous. Look at events objectively and not through the lens of political partisanship. Let evidence be your guide, not emotions.
The Tenth Amendment was put in place for a very specific reason. Our founders had a legitimate fear of government overreach and wanted to maintain the sovereignty of the states. They valued the independence of the state, and taking in context, it’s not a wonder. In their age, kings ruled the day, and ruled on a whim. Even the British government, with certain shackles on its monarch was beholden to the crown in greater degree than today. The Founders were to make sure our government didn’t overstep. As Alexander Hamilton said to the ratifying convention in 1788, “While the constitution continues to be read, and its principles known, the states, must, by every, rational man, be considered as essential component parts of the union; and therefore the idea of sacrificing the former to the latter is totally inadmissible.” Let us make sure it stays that way.