Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

Should US liberals champion states’ rights?

Posted by Jason O on Feb 25, 2010 in US Politics

usflag1Back in the 1960s, 1970s and maybe even today to some degree “States’ Rights” used to be a code word. Oh, it sounded noble enough, after all, who could be against states deciding their own affairs. Democracy in action, right? Well, it was, save for the fact that the democratic majority didn’t like the black minority gettin’ all uppity and demanding to vote. So the Republicans, and conservative soon-to-be Republican Democrats came up with the phrase to send a nod and a wink to racist voters. No longer talking about n**gers, they were now in favour of states’ and the federal government minding its own business. As a result, liberals have always been suspicious of the concept of standing up for states’ rights. 

Is it time this changes? I ask this because it would be hard to find a time where the US was more divided than it is now, at least since the civil war. Even in the 1960s, at the height of Vietnam, there were conservatives in the Democratic Party and liberals in the Republicans,a nd more importantly, both parties recognised the need for two wings. Yet now the parties are both mostly hardline, and every election is practically a winner takes all and the other guy can go screw himself. This isn’t good, for the US or the rest of the world. Is there a solution?

There might be. The fact is, the US is more culturally divided than ever, and maybe it is time to recognise that. Maybe its time that certain rights, and control over rights (abortion, gun control, same-sex marriage, death penalty, campaign finance) be devolved, by a new constitutional amendment, to the states. Yes, it will mean that in some red states women will lose the right to have abortions. But it’ll also mean that in some states far more strict gun control, or gay marriage will be permitted, and all without liberals and conservatives fearing that the other side will stack  the supreme court with their people, and override those rights. People can just move to the states that reflect their values (something which will, I suspect, hurt the red states far more than they realise, but that their business)

Time for “Liberals for States’ Rights”?  

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