This is not an original thought with me, but it expresses just how I feel. A blogger in another forum today said, and I paraphrase, "Here I sit in Texas, worried about a senatorial election in Massachusetts, and I realize this is not the way it's supposed to be."
I feel exactly the same way. The design of the Constitution is such that a Texan should have absolutely no concern over a Massachusetts senatorial election. Even a neighboring state like New Mexico or Louisiana should not concern a Texan.
Yet today, and I write this before the outcome of the Massachusetts contest for Kennedy's throne is known, the whole nation is holding its breath over this one special election for a partial senate term. Both sides of the aisle are pulling for the win. Special interests from all over the country have been in the state pushing their side of the issue. The president of the United States has gone to Massachusetts to plead his case, and our special envoy to Haiti, the honorable William J. Clinton, last week after the earthquake in Port au Prince, flew to Massachusetts for what he saw as a greater disaster, a deeper crisis: that Ted Kennedy's heir apparent seemed to have dropped her crown.
In the original design of the constitution, states were to conduct their own business, including commerce, health care, education, et al, but somewhere -- somewhen, the monster of federalism has reared its ugly head.
It is preposterous that a Massachusetts senatorial election should send aftershocks to Texas, or for that matter, that a Texas senatorial election should send them to Massachusetts, but that is the sad state of affairs in our nation today. During the Lincoln administration, a grammatical change was imposed on our country. Before Lincoln, the correct sentence was, "The United States are..." Since that time, it has been "The United States is..."
Before, we were a union of states, unified for the purpose of mutual defense and support. We relegated such important issues as the coinage of money, the making of treaties with foreign nations, and the declaration of war to the federal government, an entity which could do nothing without the permission of the states.
Somewhere in and around the 14th Amendment, that perception changed. Now, the states are minor principalities that can do nothing without the permission and consent of the federal government.
So, we have a monstrous "health care bill," as some like to call it. It is full of pork, bribes, corruption, and under-the table deals. Both Massachusetts and Texas will have to fork over extra money -- we're talking several zeroes -- to Nebraska and Louisiana because two senators were bought for their votes. We all have to pay for the bribes.
This bill, which is now despised by both rank and file Democrats and Republicans, is being forced upon us by a beltway minority who are determined to have their way. Harry Reid is so despised in his own state that he may not survive his own party's primary, and he certainly will not survive past the November elections, and this lame duck has been put in charge of this Jabba-the-Hutt legislation.
So I sit in Texas and shouldn't even care what they do in Massachusetts, but along with sane people, both Democratic and Republican, I am concerned. We have seen what a super-majority can do on either side of the aisle, and it is not pretty.
Would it have been this way even a hundred years ago? Probably not. In 1910, each state decided how to select senators; most of them were chosen by their states' legislatures. It is safe to say that, if that were still the process, maybe 75% of the senators we have today would be doing something else. Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd would certainly have not experienced their obscenely long terms in office.
The constitution was not meant to be this way, and it was the seventeenth amendment, passed in 1912, that diluted the purpose of the senate, turning it into a "light" version of the house, with longer terms of office.
When this election is finally decided in Massachusetts, it will heavily influence how we live in Texas, in California, in Alaska and Hawaii, and in all the other 49 states. Seriously, a senatorial election in Massachusetts should not even affect life in Maine or Connecticut.
We need a revival of the tenth amendment. States need to be allowed to do what they were intended to do. Be it prohibition, the income tax, or the fugitive slave law, every time the federal government has taken over a state issue, even with good intentions, it has only made things worse. Do we want our health care, flawed as it is, to be run by the same people who have given us the IRS, the US Postal Service, and Amtrak? Who really wants that?
I am not nearly as bothered about who might or might not win tonight in Massachusetts as I am bothered about the fact that it even concerns my way of life in Texas. It ought not to be so!