States Rights: What it Really Means

The cry of “States Rights” has always been a shallow argument, and August slices right through it like Zatoichi:

But the most frequently-used references to “states’ rights” seem to have, shall we say, and alterior motive, don’t you agree? The Declaration of Independence flat-out says that all men (and in modern times we’ve accepted that means all people) are equal, and yet whenever there’s some kind of equality people acquire, a lot of people suddenly feel the states should have the right to disagree with the founding document upon which the entire structure of American government is based upon.

This is nothing more than a dodge.  At best, it is an appeal to latent yearning for racist days gone by:

Ronald Reagan, of course, knew exactly what “states’ rights” really meant during his famous speech supporting them that just, by sheer coincidence, mind you, happened to be delivered while in a small town of no discernible relevance other than three civil rights activists having been murdered there for opposing Jim Crow laws.

I’m pretty we held, argued, and settled the argument over a state’s right to determine the rights of selective Americans a long time ago, and if you disagree, then your state’s probably exercising its right to have a tacky flag.

There is a clear and readily accessible counter argument in these words:

So really, why should abortion be a “state’s right” to determine? Either you think abortion should be illegal or you don’t. Is there a particular reason you think it’s a crime in Wyoming but but in New Jersey? That goes the same for the death penalty and gay marriage… exactly what does geography have to do with this stuff?

For gay marriage.  If it is a right in Massachusetts, why shouldn’t it be a right in Virginia?  What if the americans with disabilities act only applied in New York, South Carolina, and Idaho?  What if women could only vote on the west coast?  It makes no sense to leave our rights up to individual states. Our nation was founded on the ideal of equality.  Leaving a question of equality “up to the States” defeats the purpose and the spirit of our constitution:

The Declaration of Independence flat-out says that all men (and in modern times we’ve accepted that means all people) are equal

To be a nation of equals that embodies the ideal of Democracy, we need to acknowledge human rights as a country.

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2 Responses

  1. States Rights mean my partner and I can marry in Massachusetts and move to Texas and would only be roommates under the eyes of the States Rights scheme.

    Politicians (Hillary, McCain et al) who say gay marriage equity is best left up to the individual states are cowards.

  2. Maybe they are just anti-family?

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