The Tenth Amendment states that “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.”
That’s supposed to be a comfort for citizens, to keep the big boot of federal government at bay. But these days, tyrannical governors are using the Tenth to their tyrannical advantage, though.
They’re using the coronavirus as justification to crack down on citizens’ rights, on citizens’ God-given rights. And they’re doing so while knowing the Tenth Amendment protects them from having the feds come in and stop them. That means, in essence, they’re exploiting federalism, the genius of the framers, for personal power.
It’s an abysmal situation that leaves the individuals between a rock and a hard place.
The truth is, in many states, it’d be far better to have the feds under President Donald Trump dictating coronavirus mitigation than these governors. But the hard place is this: Calling for Trump to step in and stop the madness means calling for an end to a constitutional foundation that’s already been far too violated by far leftists trying to stretch their powers, far too many times.
So the suffering goes on.
The stripping of citizens’ rights continues.
Look at Michigan and the Democrat’s Gretchen Whitmer — whose famous anti-American crackdown on seeds will make her both laughing stock and aberration to readers of history in years to come. Look at California’s Gavin Newsom, the maskless restaurant partier. Or New York’s Andrew Cuomo, planning a Thanksgiving family get-together, all the while scolding everyone else to stay home.
Beating even those tyrants to shame, though, was Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan. The guy is thinking about to run for the White House in 2024. God forbid.
Right before Thanksgiving, Hogan said this: “The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is often a night where kids come home from college, they go out to bars to drink and socialize. I cannot stress enough how reckless that behavior would be this year.”
So to combat, he continued: “We will be sending additional state police to every single county. Businesses and individuals who blatantly violate the public health orders and refuse to follow state law are not only willfully endangering themselves, but their family, friends and neighbors.”
Law? What law?
Once again, for the sleepyheads in the back of the room, executive orders and health bureaucrat advisories are not laws — no, not even during a pandemic. Not even under declaration of a health emergency.
Thankfully, old “Lockdown Larry,” as Hogan’s been not-so-affectionately called of late, is getting some serious pushback on his special policing unit plans.
“Don’t be the gestapo,” Maryland Delegate Ric Metzgar, a Republican, implored Hogan, in a widely watched Facebook Live.
“The last time I checked, this was still America,” Metzgar said.
“Mr. Governor, I love you and I respect you but … we don’t need the police come knocking at the door if we have a dinner of four or five people,” Metzgar said.
No, no we don’t need police knocking on our doors, counting table settings and checking for out-of-state license plates on parked cars. That’s not America, either.
So, temptation dawns. Quick redress of crackdowns beckons. One Trump-like intervention, one William Barr-Justice Department reminder of the rights of the people, and it all goes away. Right? With gestapo governors like Hogan, and Cuomo, and Whitmer, and Newsom and more — it’s true, the Tenth Amendment seems more an impediment to freedom, rather than protector.
But let’s remember, it’s the system that matters more than the moment.
After all, imagine a Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration without the constraints of states’ rights. Egad.
Besides, there is a solution to this power-hungry political madness. It’s not of the regulatory world, though. Once again, the Founding Fathers nailed it: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other,” wrote John Adams to the Massachusetts militia in October of 1798.
Therein lies the solution. It’s about the condition of the heart, the state of the spirit.
Governors drunk with power are immoral. They’re behaving in immoral manners. They’re issuing immoral decrees. That’s why the democratic-republic and all its rule of law glory and limits on government power — that’s why America’s falling. That’s why the coronavirus is crippling our small business economy, wreaking havoc on our individual rights, tearing apart our education system, and sticking us all in face masks, even while walking alone down an empty college campus street.
If we want to reel in these ridiculously tyrannical public servants, we need to elect public servants who are virtuous and moral, constrained in thought and deed by a higher authority, committed to serving the people who pay their salaries. America, as the founders might say, is “wholly inadequate” to survive by any other means.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.
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