Sunday, May 2, 2010

Another lesson, states' rights

So there is another lesson and mini-rant about the whole states' rights issues involving the health care debate.  In Tennessee State Legislature there is another issue where states' right is being discussed about how the federal statute mandating health insurance for all citizens by 2014 involving the current bill titled "Tennessee Health Freedom Act".  Tennessee like 14 other states believe the law is "unconstitutional" and should weasel their way out of providing some form of social welfare services to those who are unable to afford health insurance at current market-rate levels for themselves and/or their families.  (Very typical of most Southern states where social welfare of the low-income and impoverish citizenry is seen as contributing to their destitution with a broad brush as if all are "lazy" rather than aiding them until get out of their present conditions).

The whole topic of states' rights within itself is very subjective.  The origin of states' rights lies with the abolition of slavery during the antebellum era where most Southern states argued that it was their choice to allow it.  However, it carried over into the creation and enforcement of Jim Crow law prior to the American Civil Rights Movement.  Of course their are suburban, exurban, and rural predominately white legislatures attempt to forge some type of argument that the federal statute is about the federal government overstepping their legal authority while over giving states back so little.  Case and point from The Tennessean:

State Senate Mae Beavers, a Mt. Juliet Republican, proposed the Tennessee Health Freedom Act, which essentially says Tennesseans don't have to abide by certain components of the federal health-care law and would require the state attorney general to block parts of the reform effort.Beavers said the issue is the federal government's interference in state business.
She said the notion of states' rights should not be misconstrued to mean anything else.
"I'm sure people have different connotations of all of that, but to me what I've been pushing is, I'm tired of the federal government interfering with our lives, taking part of our money and only sending part of it back," Beavers said. "I'm tired of the federal government mandating that we pass laws and in general trying to run our state government."
O'rly Mae Beavers?  Last time I remember (and anybody can google this), most Southern states receive nearly twice as much back in federal funding than its citizens pays in taxes.  BLAH, BLAH, BLAH...

Now on to the foolishness of those like Vanderbilt School of Law professor and author Carol Swain giving life to the foolishness of states' rights.

Swain said she understood why "older blacks" would have a specific point of view about the 10th Amendment. But Swain refuted the notion that renewed arguments in favor of states' rights had a racial subtext. 

"I think it is sad that so many older blacks are so rooted in the past that they seem incapable of moving ahead...What they need is a new way of looking at issues.
Everything is not about race and racism. They need to educate themselves about the constitution, federalism and the burden that federally imposed unfunded mandates impose on state and local government."
Apparently, she doesn't realize that you can't equate such silliness with an age bracket.  There are younger blacks that feel the same way about due their knowledge of history of how the concept is enforced.  Swain apparently wants to believe it is an egalitarian issue when it more about equity and access.  Her over simplistic view on this in addition to showing up to a tea party really last month in Nashville during the "TEA Party Express" stop, then fine.  However, your own ignorance and selective memory of how subjective the law and concept has been applied will be her own undoing when subjected to arguing and debating its usage.  But I digress, as I've been saying it boils to down to equity and access along with class and race.



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