09 March 2006

Federalism v. STATES RIGHTS

For over two hundred years this battle has been fought in the United States, in the courts, in the congresses, and for a few years, literally on blood-stained fields. And somewhat ironically, because of the actions of the Bush Administration, the age-old question has returned to the forefront in three ways (at least).

1. The power struggle between the Executive and Legislative branches over the jurisdiction and methodology of economic, domestic, foreign, and military policy. (wiretapping, foreign ownership of U.S. security related businesses, detention and torture methods, etc.)

2. The battle between the States and the Federal government over domestic policies. (Katrina rebuilding, Border enforcement, and Abortion)

3. The conflict between the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds over the limitations of the, as yet unformed, Iraqi central government's power and jurisdiction.

The first two are but a continuation of the war begun between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, while in Iraq, the question is a new one. (to them anyway)

Ah, how History doth repeat itself. It's as if the Iraqi Founding Fathers, sans updated versions of Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, and especially, a Washington, are presently struggling over the DNA of the state to be, with the added burden of being "supervised" by a superpower who has yet to determine an answer for itself.

It does not bode well. One is reminded of the old canard that "those who can, DO, and those who can't, TEACH".

So while today's headlines are filled with examples of the religious strife in Iraq, with the added consequence of foreign interventionists, both state-sponsored and guerilla, the underlying and fundamental questions should be familiar to anyone with knowledge of American history. The role of religion in the law, border security, the division of economic spoils, federalism, and state's rights.

History has a queer sense of humor. The tragedy of the inability of the U.S. to solve such questions peacefully is now being repeated in Iraq as farce. And in this age of Globalism, it is a farce that affects each and every one of us, to our detriment.

stephenhsmith 9Mar2006