The 10th Amendment articulates how the Founding Fathers intended the United States government to be run. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The authors of the 10th Amendment were aware that there would be a struggle for power between the government and the people, so the amendment was penned to prevent the type of government England had once had over them. However, the country has long forgotten this amendment and the 10th Amendment Center is working to bring it back to the forefront of American’s minds.
Recently celebrating its tenth anniversary, the organization aims to educate people on the original meaning of the Constitution and then provide them with the resources to go out and be activists at a state level for various legislative issues. The main source of educational information is with their website and blog. The topics of the daily postings range from “current bill reports…political issues through a Constitutional lens … historical and Constitutional history … utilizing original sources to show what the founding generation thought.” Michael Maharrey, National Communication Director said.
The organization has made friends and enemies on both sides of the aisle, but Maharrey explained that “Whichever party that gets control of the apparatus that is Washington D.C., that party will violate the constitution and whatever part is out will start complaining and all of the sudden will have all kinds of Constitutional fidelity.” Instead of picking sides, the 10th Amendment Center uses a simple slogan: “Follow the Constitution. Every issue, every time, no exceptions, no excuses.”
Maharrey said that using the two-pronged approach of education and activism, they can “show people what the constitution would allow or not allow in that area and ways that we can bring the current system back in line with what the constitution authorizes.” The center tries to apply Constitutional logic to a wide variety of issues from gun rights to the right to privacy and beyond. Using the Constitution as their guide, they can be assured that activists can go and put their political preferences aside, and work towards promoting practical limitations on the centralized government’s power.
Fighting the beast that is Washington, D.C., and bringing control back to the states may seem like a downhill battle but Maharrey had something interesting to say in reply to that. “We still fight because we are eternal optimists.” But on a more factual level, he states that “the tipping point is around 15%. If you can just get 15% of the population to really buy into something, you can actually make fundamental changes in society and the political culture. I don’t have to change everybody’s mind … just enough to reach that tipping point.”
Photo by kjd