Our country started as a confederacy but never reached its full potential until it became a union. Our forefathers debated at length whether to have a federalist government or continue as a confederacy of states. A confederacy of states proved not to be an efficient way to defend our country, unite our country, or throw off the yoke placed on Americans by England. After a long and arduous debate, the founders of our nation decided on the federal system and created the United States of America. Through our unity, America evolved as a beacon of freedom, a powerful nation, and a juggernaut of economic growth and benefits.
The last attack on the union of America brought on the Civil War. I’ve thought since my early study of the creation and continuation of the United States of America that that conflict settled the question of whether or not we were a confederacy of states or the United States of America. The latest right-wing, looney idea about our federal system comes from our own governor, Greg Abbott.
Abbott wants to convene a constitutional convention to change our current United States constitution. The idea of a constitutional convention is not so loony or bad in and of itself. Were we to have one, there would be an opportunity to overturn the “Citizen’s United” decision of the Supreme Court which decrees corporations are people, money is speech, and unlimited sums of secret money can be spent to influence our elections. Abbott’s ideas, however, would undermine, if not destroy, the United States as we know it.
Abbott’s plan, among other things, would allow the states to overturn laws passed by our Congress and decisions made by our Supreme Court. Think about what mischief could be wrought under such a system.
The right of all citizens to vote without paying a poll tax could be reversed. States could reinstitute the practice of Jim Crowism—draconian literacy tests before people would be allowed to vote in even local elections. The concept of one man/one vote would be a thing of history. The practice of separate but equal in education could be reinstituted as well as separate drinking fountains for our citizens of color. What if, perchance, America found itself once again in a world war, and our national Congress reinstituted the draft? Would states be able to overturn such a decision and opt out of allowing its citizens to serve in the military?
Our forefathers were wise in creating the federal system we now have. I do not advocate that our United States constitution is perfect, but it is flexible and has been enduring. America became strong when we ceased to be a collection of states—with each going their own way, following their own will—and united as a federal system called the United States of America.
Abbott should rethink his plan, if he is truly to be known as a loyal and patriotic American citizen.