10th Amendment protects against government overreach

Written on: 5/8/10

The state of our commonwealth and nation has distanced itself so far from its founding, meaning and purpose, that we can only watch as our lives change, liberty is challenged and the pursuit of happiness becomes harder to obtain.

Our nation was built on the idea of giving power to the people, but today it has eroded to only benefit elected officials, regardless of party affiliation.

Each day both the Republicans and Democrats promise change, but both deliver only larger and more powerful central government while spending taxpayer money at alarming rates.

The people who in 1776 fought to free their children from taxation and political corruption wrote the document that was intended to prevent their children’s children from having to face the fight they were battling.

They envisioned that corruption would return and so created a system of checks and balances, which were supposed to maintain the power of the people. The Founding Fathers were not politicians, they were public servants.

Today, politicians are labeled Republican or Democrat. Their primary focus is not to serve the people, but to achieve re-election and maintain power. Although by voting we routinely change the majority power of Congress, very seldom do we see major shifts in policy despite many promises made by both sides.

Over the last few years, we have witnessed a rebirth of the constitutional principles from groups such as the Campaign for Liberty, the Tea Party Movement and the 9/12 Projects. Those principles and the many quotes from our founding fathers scare today’s politicians who are looking for re-election.

Although the Tea Party Movement was reenergized during the Ron Paul presidential bid, it has been adversely influenced and retitled as the Tea Party Patriots.

The Tea Party Patriots have been backed by Freedom Works, a group whose leadership is composed not of true public servants or grassroots organizers, but of ex-politicians and current politicians looking to capture the movement and wield it to maintain power.

The level of corruption at the national level of politics is being challenged, but with little success. When the three branches of government work together, “We The People” cannot compete with the funding, power and backing.

I have commonly compared this fight against corruption to the government’s war on drugs or even terrorism. The fight will last many years and personal liberty will not be the winner.

The legislators have been extending their powers by enacting new laws against the Constitution for ages. Both Republicans and Democrats have voted for and pushed these laws violating not just the Constitution, but their oath to protect it.

There are numerous ways this has been achieved over the years. One of the more common methods is to write a law that provides state funding, yet requires the state to pass legislation that completes the objective. We all need that extra highway funding.

Today with many states running near bankruptcy, few are able to say no to more federal funding. This method only further expands the federal government’s role within the states.

But the fight for our liberty can still be won, and I believe the answer is within the 10th Amendment: “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.”

The Tenth Amendment ensures that liberty belongs to the people and when government oversteps the Constitution and limits our liberty, the states and “We The People” have the right to take action.
We have to start eliminating our state’s dependence on federal funds and resources, while also reining in the out of control spending we have in Pennsylvania.

Every citizen has to live within his means to survive and so should our local, state and federal governments. Remember, the federal government, by the United States Constitution, is told only what it can do and everything else is left to the states or to the people.

In our commonwealth we are heading on the right track, however slowly. Our two Republican candidates for governor have both helped the push.

Rep. Sam Rohrer introduced a resolution claiming the commonwealth’s sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment. “As time goes on, the federal government has become more involved in areas where it has no constitutional authority to do so,” Rohrer said. “We’re at a breaking point. If states don’t start to push back and hold federal politicians accountable under the Constitution, we could very easily lose the republic that our Founding Fathers fought so hard to create.”

Attorney General Tom Corbett joined attorneys general from 12 other states and filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of health care. The outcome most likely won’t be decided for years.
Both are steps in the right direction, but “We The People” have to rally and challenge all unconstitutional federal, state and local laws — by protest, by lawsuit and by lobbying those elected to serve us.
When elected officials continue to violate their oath, or admit to not even reading the document they are swearing to protect, it is our duty to vote them out of office.

The fight for liberty in 50 states is a goal that is more attainable then one fight at the federal level. Some states have already begun. The key advantage at the state level is increased voter communication and access to legislators.

With smaller districts and more representation, a new wave of public servants will hopefully come forward that are uninfluenced and are there to complete a civic duty to their nation.

Only then will we witness the peaceful return to our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

SCOTT DAVIS is founder of Pennsylvania Revolution, parevolution.com, a website dedicated to constitutional education and political reform.

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