Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

States' Rights

One of the issues that conservatives used to pat themselves on the back for was how they valued states' rights. Basically that meant a conservative would not favor rolling over a state with the federal government's power. Supposedly liberals were not so good about this, and they were the bad guys for taking away individual freedoms.

Before we go farther, it is important to recognize that the Constitution has superimposed its will onto the states since the time of the Civil War, which some in the South still call the War of Northern Aggression.

The Civil War determined states had to bend to federal opinion where it related to the Constitution. This is why issues like Civil Rights for blacks became a federal issue. It didn't matter if a state decided it was okay to divide up people by where they could sit in a theater, go to school, or drink from a water fountain. The federal government said they could not based on the Constitution.

Since it was written, the Constitution has received a lot of tweaking through amendments or just reinterpretation of things such as privacy. Does the right to privacy exist in the Constitution or was that invented to figure out a reason for the federal government to forbid bans on abortion? Scholars disagree on this issue, but today what the right to privacy means is constantly being reinterpreted.

Are we a nation of individuals who enjoy the fact that we are different or should we all be made to be the same by the federal mandates of whoever happens to be in power at the time.

Oregon and several other states have seen the federals try to bring their power to bear and only the changing balance of the Supreme Court can stop or allow these movements. If Bush maintains absolute power to appoint who he chooses to please the far Right, it's clear the Supremes will look with favor on corporate rights but not so favorably on individual people's moral choices.

In Oregon's case, the voters twice agreed that someone who was dying (6 months or less to live) and of sound mind (attested to by two doctors) had the right to get a lethal prescription to end their life on their own timetable. That was always there if you had a gun, but many felt that was more brutal to the family and the ill person. The Christian right objected to the idea that anybody could take their own life. Wonder if they would have said those who jumped from the World Trade Center, rather than burn to death, committed suicide? It is the same thing, you know.

So, as with marijuana laws to permit sick people to use it medicinally with a prescription, the federal government under Bush has been using its power against that of the states to block them from what the local voters would decide was appropriate.

These are issues for people to consider when they look at the two parties, when they consider who will be appointing judges. Both parties would use federal power to block individuals from performing acts that hurt nobody else, but it's just which ones.

I might not have even written on this particular issue but I had to find a place to use these photos-- first one is Marion and Buck's Bait Shop taken in Georgia 8 or 9 years ago and second of a husband and wife store in Idaho where I bought an Amish quilt from the left side where it was all frills and crafts while on the right side was survivalist and hunting gear.

I love American individuality. To me, these kind of businesses represents the independent nature of Americans throughout the country-- an independence that both parties claim they value and people in both parties squash whenever that independent nature goes against their own idea of what is correct.

States Rights as well as keeping the federal government with its nose where it belongs is a good reason to consider an independent, third party with a fresh look at ideas. You never know, maybe someday people will get mad enough and really mean it when they say they aren't going to take it anymore. Maybe.

By the way, I am the only member of my family who actually liked boiled peanuts. While they aren't on any list of my favorite foods, I thought they were not bad. That is evidently highly unusual for someone who was not born in the South. Actually, from what I hear not real common in those born there.


robin andrea said...

Interesing ideas here, rain. I like thinking about states' rights, and the friction between the federal government and the state. I thought it was right and proper for the feds to take on the issue of civil rights. It's an interesting distinction to consider when a state tries to abridge the rights of a few (separate drinking fountains, segregated schools) or increase the personal freedom of many (right to die, marijuana). I prefer the feds to stay out of state issues when it comes to increased personal freedom, but to step up when states deny freedoms.

I'd be happy to see a third party emerge.

Mary Lou said...

I usually do not comment on political issues because I am such a wuss! I believe what I believe, and cant defend it with most people. I never was good at debates, I just shut up and go home.

You mentioned a third party, and that made me need to comment! I truely believe that there would be so much less in-fighting amongst the politicians if there was a third party.

Barack Obama was on the Oprah show last week, and he is a democrat, and a very articulate one at that. But what he said was that he was a conservative Democrat.

I have also heard McCain call himself a Liberal Republican. When I take online polls I usually end up just to the left of Center, (Which shocked the hell out of me) and I am beginning to think that maybe I am a CENTRIST! A person who walks the middle line down the road agreeing with both sides, but not as rabid about my choices.

I am mostly a Republican, raised by Democrats, but I do believe in Pro-choice, I do believe in keeping the government out of our bedrooms and our churches,

I also Do not believe that everybody deserves a handout from the government. I think that you are responsible for your own destiny, (with room for exceptions of course) and if you need a job, there are PLENTY out there. Just get off your lazy ass and get one! I have worked three jobs at a time just to stay off of welfare, only because I was young, healthy, and did not deserve a free ride. Leave those to the ones who truely CAN NOT work.

Now I am rambling so I better quit! GO THIRD PARTY!! CENTRIST!!! Bet ya if Obama ran as a centrist, not a democrat that he would win by a LANDSLIDE! So would anybody I think.

Ingineer66 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ingineer66 said...

I love the photos Rain. The southern store is just terrific although it needs some folks sitting in front drinking a Coke. And the Idaho store is American capitalism at its best, sell to everyone whatever they may need. And I like the antenna on top that looks like the kind often used for Police scanners. Something you might want to monitor if you own a gun shop.

And Mary Lou you nailed it, I am right there with you, except a little right of center. I am pro choice republican who was raised by conservative democrats.
We need a third party!!

More on states rights later when I have more time

Paul said...

This is one Reb who sdoesn't like to bend over for anyone-Feds or other ! LOL

Alan G said...

I liked the correlation you made with regard to having the right to choose a lethal prescription verses the poor souls opting to jump from the World Trade Centers. As terrible an image as the latter leaves in our minds, indeed the bottom line is the same as you pointed out.

It has always amazed me how compassion seems to be measured out based on ones personal beliefs and/or convictions and then imposed upon others on specific issues such as this which affect "absolutely" no one else.