"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 defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite....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."
- Publius, Federalist 45
Saturday, I went to an event sponsored by Rock the Vote. It was fascinating. I might have discovered the Rosetta Stone for cracking the youth vote.
Federalism and local control; in other words, the Tenth Amendment.
I didn't spend much time discussing candidates and parties (except to promote Ted Cruz). I focused instead on principles and policies. Federalism and local control struck a chord with these kids.
I've written about this issue before, but the pitch is simple. Unlike in Washington D.C., a group of ten to fifteen engaged citizens can change policy in your local city council or school board. Any time you face a seemingly insurmountable problem, Step 1 is always to break it into smaller, more manageable, parts. Federalism and local control, by definition, do that.
Living in Texas, we hear more about the Tenth Amendment than folks in other states since our Governor, quite literally, wrote the book on this topic. He also proposed doing something about it during his Presidential campaign. To quote Governor Perry:
Empowering states [and local city councils and school boards] prevents the accumulation of power in one central government and limits the extent to which the people must be governed by faraway representatives, bureaucrats, and judges who do not share their beliefs....The centralization of power in a country as large as the United States necessarily means that the people are largely unable to participate in many of the decisions that are going to affect them....Finally, states encourage civic virtue by enabling the people to participate more actively in public affairs, resulting in greater independence and self-reliance. ( Fed Up 28-31)Unfortunately, far too many D.C. establishment Republican insider types hate federalism and local control. D.C. Republicans, much like the Democrats, want a large central government so they can be in charge of the money. Obviously, we've already thrown a bunch of these D.C. insider types out of office in primaries. We must, however, be persistent. The results seem to strike a chord with Jon Stewart's audience.
The idea of federalism and local control, as expressed in the Tenth Amendment, is common sense. I've always liked this idea, because it holds government accountable. Based on my experience Saturday, however, I think promoting federal and local control could also yield massive dividends with Americans under 40.