On October 30, 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama stood on a platform in Carnahan Quadrangle at the University of Missouri. Speaking to a crowd of several thousand starry-eyed students and Democrat Party faithful, Obama said, “After decades of broken politics in Washington, and eight years of failed policies from George W. Bush, and 21 months of a campaign that’s taken us from the rocky coast of Maine to the sunshine of California (presumably, all 57 states), we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”
Then, with a straight face, he segued to a list of Republican talking points. He said, “In five days, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election, that tries to pit region against region and city against town, and Republican against Democrat, that asks us to fear at a time when we need to hope… So, as president, I’m going to go through the federal budget line by line, ending programs we don’t need, making the ones we do need work better and cost less. We’ve got to make sure that we are not charging a credit card to the next generation, borrowing from China just to pay off our dependence on foreign oil.”
Now, after just over seven years of Obama’s leadership, we find a nation that is more divided along racial, religious, and economic lines than ever before; a nation in which elections are decided, not by what is best for the nation as a whole, but by votes purchased with money borrowed from China. When Obama took office on January 20, 2009, the national debt stood at $10.6 trillion. In just seven years in office, Obama has used the national credit card to increase the debt by an additional $8.2 trillion, to $18.8 trillion..
Clearly, the federal government caters to the demands of the cities, where Democrats rule, at the expense of our rural areas, which are predominately Republican. In spite of the fact that the 2012 electoral map of the United States appeared to be almost totally red, with an occasional splotch of blue indicating the major urban areas, Barack Obama was able to win reelection by an electoral vote of 365-173. In that election, of the 3,100 counties in the United States, Obama won a majority of the popular vote in only 653 counties (21.06%), while Mitt Romney won the popular vote in 2,447 counties (78.94%).
Some 239 years ago, another man, Thomas Jefferson, also promoted a historic transformation of government. He wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government…”
Jefferson understood the necessity of creating a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Yet, experience tells us that what Jefferson had in mind was the exact polar opposite of what Obama had in mind when he promised to “fundamentally transform” our nation. After nearly seven years of oppressive rule by the Obama regime, a lawless regime for which constitutional principles and the rule of law are seen as mere annoyances, it’s time we considered whether or not our republic can ever be restored to its former greatness.
There is evidence that liberals and Democrats are using the Immigration Reform Act of 1965 as a means of importing a ruling majority of the poor and uneducated from the Third World, whose allegiances are easily purchased by a corrupt and lawless political party with access to the public treasury. As Democratic strategist Patrick Reddy is quoted as saying, “The 1965 Immigration Reform Act promoted by President Kennedy, drafted by Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and pushed through the Senate by Ted Kennedy, has resulted in a wave of immigration from the Third World that should shift the nation in a more liberal direction within a decade. It will go down as the Kennedy family’s greatest gift to the Democratic Party.”
In other words, what Democrats have done, methodically, over the past 50 years is to import sufficient votes to offset those they are unable to attract among white professionals and blue-collar European-Americans. It causes one to wonder how many years we have left as the freest, most prosperous nation on Earth.
A retired United Airlines pilot compared what the passengers on Germanwings Flight 9525 must have felt to what it feels like living through the Obama era in American politics. He said, “It is hard to imagine the growing feelings of fear and helplessness (they) felt as the unforgiving landscape rushed up to meet them… We feel the descent in the pits of our stomachs. We don’t know where we’re going anymore, but we do know it isn’t good. And above all, we feel helpless because a man very few Americans had heard of ten years ago (Barack Obama) has locked us out (of the cockpit).”
So, if our constitutional republic has been savaged to the point where it is beyond repair, what are our alternatives? In a previous column I have suggest three alternatives with the order of preference being: a) massive civil disobedience, b) widespread 10th Amendment nullification by states and local communities, and finally, c) dissolution of the Union, otherwise known as secession… the most draconian of the three alternatives. However, upon further reflection I have concluded that our first reaction to the heavy-handedness of the Obama regime should not be civil disobedience. We have always been a nation of laws, and to suggest that we should resort to unlawful tactics such as street protests, marches, riots, and sit-ins is to suggest that we should become a nation of law breakers.
It is not the sort of undisciplined behavior that we should be teaching our children. Nor should we be agitating for dissolution of the union, although a new nation comprising the 26 most heavily Republican states of the Old South, the Far West, the Great Plains, the Southwest, and the Midwest would make a very fine country… the greatest nation on Earth.
In a December 6, 2015 column, titled, “Secession or War – America’s West Against the East,” the President of the National Association of Rural Landowners, Ron Ewart, described the problems created by federal government ownership of land in the western states. According to Ewart, of the 2.27 billion acres of landmass in the U.S., the federal government owns 28%, or 635.6 million acres. Of that 635.6 million acres, 572 million acres are in the 18 western states.
Ewart suggests that the 18 western states form an alliance, warning the federal government that “they are on thin ground,” and that the only solution to the unwarranted and unconstitutional federal power grab is capitulation by the federal government… including the release of all federal lands (other than national parks and national forests) to private ownership. He warns that, if the federal government fails to agree, the result might be an effort toward secession.
However, our first alternative should be the widespread use of nullification by states and local governments, as envisioned by the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The 10th Amendment states, “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.”
Liberals and Democrats might argue that the 180 American cities who have declared themselves to be “sanctuary” cities are examples of nullification. But nullification is not about systematic disobedience to federal law that is, constitutionally, the province of the federal government. Nullification represents a decision by state and local governments to refuse to yield to federal laws that are, under the 10th Amendment, solely the province of state and local governments.
In a December 16, 2015 report by the Tenth Amendment Center, we are told of a bill prefiled in the Missouri legislature, HB1791, which would require the Missouri General Assembly to “adopt and enact any and all measures as may be necessary to prevent the enforcement of regulations, rules, and memorandums issued by a presidential executive order.” The bill describes executive orders not justified by federal law, or the limited constitutional authority of the president of the United States, as “repugnant to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Missouri.” Language in the bill declares such executive orders to be “null, void, and of no effect” in Missouri.
The Tenth Amendment Center notes that “HB1791 rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. The cornerstone of that doctrine is found in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898 (1997). In that decision the court ruled, “We held in New York (v. United States) that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”
Republicans now control 32 governorships and both legislative bodies in 30 states. Armed with the words of the 10th Amendment and the anti-commandeering doctrine, those governors and those legislators are capable of reasserting their state sovereignty by engaging in massive acts of nullification. Since we cannot rely on Republican majorities in Congress to reverse the trend toward federal supremacy, the states represent our only hope for restoring our constitutional republic as the Founders conceived it. Nullification is the answer; secession is an alternative.
Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College. He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.