America needs Federalism. No, we don’t need the common perception of 18th-century Federalism that is often misconstrued as a push for complete centralization of government. That would be statism and neither the original Federalist Party nor our current manifestation supports this notion. Today, we need the small-government Federalism that the founders (both Federalists and anti-Federalists alike) wanted – a system of proper checks and balances between the states and federal governments that empowers the people and protects them from oppression regardless of which government entity brings it forth.
On the surface, the reasons we need it are quite clear. Washington DC has been accumulating power since the 19th century with a major spike started by FDR that has been in a constant state of expansion ever since. The heart of the 10th Amendment has been ripped to shreds; the concept of enumerated powers for Congress has been shoved beyond the wayside and into a ditch.
It isn’t just the legislature. The judiciary has been redefining their scope and utilizing unsound logic to justify the politicization of their rulings. As a whole, they’re less interested in keeping laws within the boundaries of the Constitution and more interested in determining how they can supersede it. There is a minority of judges who do their job properly, but their numbers are dwindling. Activism from the bench is alive and thriving in today’s America.
Then, there’s the executive branch. The powers of the President have been expanding for a century and a half, but that’s not even the biggest problem. A layer of bureaucracy has grown so thick we could operate the nation entirely with unelected “officials.” This more than anything else has exploded the direct and indirect reach of the executive branch while establishing a self-perpetuating expansion of overreach. Moreover, it’s forcing citizens and private organizations to work within constraints that are neither Constitutional nor practical. This is where the bulk of corruption is bred and harvested. It’s a governmental pestilence that has spread to nearly every facet of Americans’ lives.
It’s when we dig below the surface that we see the most disturbing trend happening in this nation. The vast majority of Americans accept the overreach as a fact of life. In fact, there are many who live their lives in accordance with the government to the point of dysfunction if ever DC was brought back to a state that fell properly within Constitutional boundaries. Too many are so dependent on government that it would cause chaos if any of a plethora of programs were eliminated.
This is, of course, by design. The push for social and support programs has nothing to do with the actual long-term welfare of the nation or its people. The artificial dependence that has exploded in recent decades is a direct result of election-based mentality among our representatives. The bulk of politicians have learned they need to promise more in order to get in and give more in order to stay in. They’ve dismissed fiscal responsibility so thoroughly that budgets (all of which are already way too high) have become mere recommendations rather than actual cutoff points for spending.
We need Federalism on multiple levels. We need it understood by the people so we can all start taking responsibility for our own lives again. We need it embraced by our representatives in order to stop the fiscal death spiral we’re in. We need it supported by the electorate so the hard but necessary choices can be made; supporting promise-too-much-and-punt-the-consequences politicians can no longer be an option.
It’s daunting, but it can happen. Here’s how…
Building a Federalist future
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be going into more details about the plans in place to put the Federalist Party on the map. We’ve seen great successes and unfortunate setbacks since we launched at the beginning of the year. Thankfully, the former has outnumbered the latter.
Today, we have three major challenges: the understanding gap, suspension of disbelief, and magnification of our voice to the national stage. There will be more challenges that arise as we grow in prominence, but we’ll prepare for and tackle those as they come. In the meantime, it’s imperative that we all work towards facing the initial challenges.
I’ve covered the understanding gap in the past. We called it the “knowledge gap” before, but that’s not necessarily the best way to look at it. There are those who are fully knowledgeable about Federalism or who have read the Federalist Papers but who still perceive us as a centralized-government party. We are the opposite of what some perceive. We want to decentralize the bulk of government power that has been accumulating in DC for decades. At our core is a requirement to localize as many decisions as we can whenever it makes sense to do so (which is most of the time). The easiest way people can help is to share articles such as this one with friends, family, and on social media.
Suspension of disbelief has been and will continue to be a need. There are millions of Americans who are sick of the two-party system, who’ve grown disenchanted with their current party, but who cannot imagine supporting a third party because they feel it would be futile or even counterproductive. Our strategy of starting with local elections and working our way to the national stage is one of the biggest differences between us and every other third party that has made a play since the middle of the 19th century. It’s imperative that those who are tired of what the status quo has yielded for them can put aside their bias against third parties and give us their support.
Lastly, we must expand our voice. This will come in the form of talking to more people, going to more events, and getting interviewed by more journalists. We’re building a nice bench of people who will help to spread the Federalist message (more on that coming soon!) and we’re ready to get them on the airwaves and into publications. If you know (or are) a journalist, it’s time to talk to me, Joel Kurtinitis, Pat Nicklaus, or any of our early-adopters who are ready and willing to let the world know who we are and why we’re here.
America needs a government that sees the Constitution as its boundary as well as its guide. We don’t need them continuing to come up with creative ways to circumvent it. True small-government Federalism is the answer. It’s time to educate the people, rally the grassroots, and bring our nation’s representatives to an understanding that they cannot continue down they path they’re taking us.