So, the last newspaper I bought on our way out of town on my trip to Ohio contained this letter: "Health act ruling should mean it's time to end states' rights talk."
The Supreme Court of the United States has affirmed the Affordable Care Act. Alabama, with its rich heritage in states' rights, will scream in agony that the federal government has acted to save all families from financial ruin.The Republican presumptive nominee for president has vowed to reverse the Supreme Court if elected. Who remembers George Wallace and Eugene "Bull" Connor inciting the public to "get rid of outside agitators"? Who remembers the Alabama governor telling the national media "we don't want no outsiders coming down here telling us what to do"? I remember. But, more important, I remember why.As long as the state could keep federal law away from Alabama, the "states' rights" good-old boys could enforce segregation, redesign voting districts, deny civil rights and refuse people the opportunity to vote, provide separate and unequal education and a number of other atrocities without fear of legal recourse. The Civil Rights Act was passed because states like Alabama would not do it on their own.Even U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy begged the Rev. Martin L. King Jr. to stop demonstrating in Birmingham. It was too ugly for the nation to watch. The media coverage was giving all of the U.S. a very nasty view of the reason why civil rights was important in the first place.Those politicians who said states' rights had precedence over federal law were known segregationists -- haters who would rather die than sit in church next to anyone of a different race or origin. How stupid and naive.Yet, today, are we that far removed from that ugly past? Mitt Romney sounds like Wallace in my view. The message is the same, just worded a bit different.The Romans knew poverty leads to insurrection. They knew the people must have opportunity and a chance to succeed; otherwise, they could not govern. It is no different now.Our beloved country is in a crisis. To break loose from the chains that bind us, we must think and act as a single people. We are American citizens. No one is any better than the other.If you do not care about your neighbor, who is going to care about you? The time for separatism is over. The time for teamwork is here.Let us work together to strengthen our great country by accepting our role as bona-fide citizens. Put away the cancer of thinking like a states' rightist and act like you love our country.Jefferson J. DrewBirmingham
Needless to say, I felt this required a rejoinder. It was printed today.
The June 30 letter "Health act ruling should mean it's time to end states' rights talk" (Your Views) linking Jim Crow to opposition to Obamacare is so full of historical fallacies and leaps of illogic that it would take your entire editorial page to detail. The letter writer's primary beef seems to be with the founders' concept of the republic and the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, which to my knowledge has not been repealed.Taken together with the letter's "no justice, no peace" threat implied in the words "poverty leads to insurrection," the collectivist credo of "we must think and act as one people" evokes the street-brawling Hitlerian motto "One people, one government, one leader" -- or else. President Barack Obama may be the letter writer's fuhrer. He's not mine.The letter taunts us to submit to federal tyranny and "act like you love our country." The writer's fundamental error is to think we still inhabit the same country. We are, in fact, two countries divided by the fundamental difference of principle on the question: Does the government serve the people, or do the people serve the government?This is not a question whose answer can be negotiated or finessed. The answers are mutually hostile to one another. I know how the founders answered that question to the tyrant King George -- at the muzzles of their rifles.As for me, I love MY country; I do not love the collectivist "people's paradise" of a country the letter writer seems to inhabit.Mike VanderboeghPinson