Red state governors led the fight to keep their states open, their children whole, and their businesses solvent when the federal government used every trick in the book – deception, fear-mongering, prison, job loss, etc. – to keep America perpetually locked down under COVID regulations. In so doing, red states scored a historic win for freedom as they successfully reestablished the original role of states by defending the rights and liberty of their citizens.
The federal government has arrogated to itself so much power we tend to forget that it’s not supposed to be that way, not according to the supreme law of the land – or its Framers.
States are sovereign entities, bound together by the Constitution, which conferred limited and enumerated powers to the federal government. As the Tenth Amendment puts it: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
In Federalist No. 45, James Madison, the fourth president of the United States and often referred to as the Father of the Constitution, sought to soothe concerns that the new government established by the Constitution would undermine the sovereignty of the 13 original states. He writes:
The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce….The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.
In our ongoing discussion of The Federalist Papers, we’ve shown how the arguments made by Madison and his two co-authors, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, are as relevant now as when they were first written, nearly 250 years ago. In fact, some of the most significant fights Americans are waging today to restore their rights are taking place at the state level.
Certainly, there are big issues to worry about at the national level, like runaway inflation, the unabated flow of illegal aliens into America, and the rise of an anti-America bloc consisting of China, Russia, and Iran. These threats and others, if not mitigated, will certainly wreak havoc on worldwide stability. But consider the issues that will determine the character of our country in the years to come — nearly all of them are being decided at the state level.
There’s election integrity, for instance. State legislatures are responsible for ensuring free and transparent elections, without which we don’t have a country where citizens choose their representatives. And then there’s abortion. With the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs (2022) which overturned Roe v Wade (1973), the question is restored to elected officials of state legislatures to decide how each state will protect the lives of the unborn. Generally, issues of rising crime and education are also resolved at the state level, whether related to incarceration, bail, school choice, or ending the promotion of radical race and gender ideologies at public schools.
And don’t forget the Environmental Social Governance (ESG) agenda imposed by woke Wall Streeters pushing investors’ money into companies with progressive ideas and often bad balance sheets. State Attorneys General from around the country endlessly fight against the dangerous fad by using tools available to them such as delinking state pension funds from ESG-endorsed organizations.
Each of these battles is incredibly important on its own grounds, but taken together what we’re watching is the revival of state sovereignty. At America’s Future, we believe that the touchstone of freedom is strong states powered by We The People. Preserving life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness comes down to citizen participation and standing up to fight for our children, for our future, for life. We urge you to join us and find a way to get involved.