Thursday, November 03, 2005

You better you better you bet

While listening to analysis of Supreme Court nominee Alito on the news this morning, and it got me thinking. The discussion this morning was on state’s rights, and used the example of a case Judge Alito once ruled on regarding a federal ban on machine guns. As it was explained, Alito felt it was not the federal government’s responsibility to enforce such control, and it should be left to the individual states.

I am not well versed in law, politics, or civics, so I would love to have a dialog about this because my comments may sound na├»ve. I have heard other examples of relegating decisions to the states in the case of the Amtrak subsidy Bush wanted to cut out of the budget. The states would have to pick up the slack. Well what if they decided not to then let Amtrak use their tracks because they don’t want to cough up the cash? Or do Amtrak trains not offer stops in states that don't want part of the deal? The issue of gay marriage is being debated from state to state in an effort to not have such unions recognized.

So what happens if and or when this type of federalism gets to the point where “red states” truly become red states? Anyone who wants to own a machine gun, and hates gays and taxes can go move to ____ (insert red/conservative state of your choosing) while gay and lesbians, tree huggers environmentalists, stem cell researchers, and baby killers doctors who believe in choice can go live on one of the liberal “blue states”. What happens to our union, our “one nation undivided?” Is that really the answer? While I understand and agree with the importance of states having the ability to judge best the needs of their own populous, could it go too far? Is it that far fetched to look at the bitter partisan politics we see playing out in Washington, the trend toward fundamentalism as a form of civil war brewing in our country?

Anyway that’s all. LOL as if that isn’t enough.


jamie said...

Well, for one thing, I think statistics prove that proximity to the masses sways red to blue and vice versa. Almost every big city, even in red states, is blue. It's because when you live that close to a lot of different people, you are forced to be more open-minded than someone who owns 40 acres.

Second, I cringe at the generalizations of republicans as machine-gun-toting gay bashers and democrats as tree-hugging baby killers. I happen to be a pro-choice, pro-gay rights, ecologically-minded independent who believes in the right to bear arms. It's sad how near most of us are to the middle, and get thrown to the ends of the spectrum because of the media. I think red/blue has more to do with how much involvement you want your government to have in your life (ie: republicans want less programs and don't want to pay for the ones that don't affect them directly, democrats want more gov't funded help and are generally more utilitarian in scope).

And I don't know a lot about the Amtrak thing either, G, but I do believe that even though it's mainly in the northeast... around 54% of americans take public transportation to work. I'd like to do some more research on that, actually.

Giovanna said...

J thanks for jumping in, I *heart* you.

You know, I specifically didn't use the words Republican and Democrat when I described my stereo types for a reason. I agree with you, I think most Americans fall in the middle, and it's the squeaky wheels that make the most noise and get all the attention. Clinton and many of his supporters are part of a new breed of Democrats who believe in fiscal responsibility and less government. On the other side you have John McCain, a leading Republican Senator, who holds many liberal ideals.

I learned so much from reading that brief history of federalism in the US. As I see it, the Constitution was drafted with certain ambiguities that leave it to the Supreme Court's interpretation as to how much control the federal government has over the individual states. Over the last this balance has shifted and evolved with the needs of our evolving society---most notably in this with FDR and the New Deal following the Great Depression. Those steps were very necessary at the time.

But it all comes back to money doesn't it? I think the discussion of social programs, poverty, the decline of society, budget deficits is a whole huge other topic, but all of that has roots in the way federalism evolved from the New Deal, no?

Fast forward to 2005. I completely agree with you, that the media has created this civil divide because a vocal minority is standing on a soapbox adorned with the Constitution to back their cause. What irritates me, what I don't understand, is where common sense has gotten thrown out the window because of this. The more I learn, I have to agree that people have the right to own guns. But did the forefathers really forsee gangsters spraying machine gun fire into a crowd of people waiting to get into a nightclub? Any attempt at regulating gun control is seen as a threat to gun ownership in general. And before I am accused of taking sides, by the same token, any case that has anything to do with a pregnant woman and a fetus is seen as preparation to overturn Roe v Wade.

Are they right? Or is moderate America being misled and taken advantage of by those special interests who claim to speak for whichever way we might lean.

I just think all this ridiculousness needs to stop.