When reports of the reignited efforts for CalExit surfaced after the election, I could not help but note the irony of their desire and wonder if any of those protesters were immigrants of the South. It is said to be inspired by Brexit, but, in American history, the first to express such an idea was South Carolina, followed by 10 other states that labeled themselves the Confederate States of America. While slavery might have been the cataclysmic issue for them and protesters in California see their concerns as the exact opposite, the root of all concerns is the ability of the states to govern themselves.
What this movement fails to understand is that it is their own liberal policies that have created this predicament. Decades, if not centuries, of a progressive agenda had created a federal government whose goal is a homogenous country. With the one-size-fits-all mentality and moral superiority, liberals have handed down regulations, programs and mandates to states and local governments. While there is no doubt that some of these have been for the benefit of all — it is hard to argue against workplace safety inspired by the Triangle Factory fire or child labor laws or basic Civil Rights — the agenda has pushed further and further into every nook and cranny of business, schools, governments and, increasingly, homes.
The result is that now liberals are fearful that that power may be turned against them with an agenda that does not coincide with theirs. The expansive executive power that was a nuisance under President George W. Bush, but wielded so thoughtfully by President Obama, is now terrifying in the hands of President Trump.
If only states were allowed to make decisions for themselves and choose their own laws based on their own values, this would not be a problem. Californians are seeking what all states want — the ability to govern themselves. This can be done without dissolving the union. It is, in fact, how this country was originally intended to function.
Imagine a country in which the people of Virginia were able to make their laws without the influence of New York or California, while those states could continue their path towards excessive, self-destructive regulations. We wouldn’t have to argue with them because it would have no impact on us. Imagine if our state delegates who live in our community and understand what is happening in our lives were the ones responsible for spending our tax dollars rather than the people in Washington who are beholden to national special interest groups. And what if our school board got to decide what to teach our children and who to allow in the locker room rather than the federal government? And, as a side benefit, special interest groups would have less power. They wouldn’t have a central repository for their efforts, one group of politicians to buy off and influence.
So, as we move through this new administration, we must consider what we want for our country, where we want our decisions made, and who we think is best able to make those decisions. How is Washington working out for you?