Marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Approximately sixty percent of these unions end in divorce often due to irreconcilable differences. Irreconcilable differences is defined as “differences between spouses that are considered sufficiently severe to make married life together more or less impossible.” Some irreconcilable differences include, but are not limited to, antagonistic feelings, financial difficulties, difference of interests, resentment, and constant bickering.
The United States is a union. The Declaration of Independence, Jefferson said, “[s]olemnly published and declared that these thirteen united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states… and that as free and independent states they have the full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, at to do all the other acts and things which independent states may of right do.”
The free and independent states established the first federal government under The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union until it was replaced by the Constitution. The Constitution clearly establishes the states intent to “form a more perfect union”. In ratifying the Constitution States agreed to delegate certain powers to a federal government and retain the majority of powers for themselves. The Constitution established the rules and powers which obligated both the States and the federal government to adhere to.
Collectively, the states are one party to the Constitutional agreement. The federal government was formed as a result and is essentially the second party. Not unlike a union between a man and a woman that procreate and create offspring, the States ratification of the Constitution created a new federal government. The federal government is the offspring of the States.
The marriage union and the union formed by the States are based upon the understanding at the time of inception. In other words, the Constitution means what the States understood it to mean at the time of ratification. This is known as original understanding. Likewise, in a marriage certain vows (representations) are made when the man and woman are married. In both cases, the parties agreed to certain conditions which neither is to violate. To violate original understanding is to violate the compact; whether that is between a man and a woman, or between the states and the federal government.
It probably goes with saying, but the agreement between the states and the federal government has been violated repeatedly. The federal government is the primarily responsible for those violations. Power has been usurped and assumed. Powers have been expanded. Powers have been delegated from one branch of government to another. Today, States are like a spouse that remains in a marriage after being abused repeatedly. It’s not dissimilar to the phrase “when a long train of abuses and usurpations” Jefferson used in the Declaration of Independence to describe a tyrannical and despotic ruler; whether that ruler is the British Crown or the current national government.
Over time the union expanded and the population grew and diversified. When the Constitution was ratified there was one representative for every 30,000 people. Today, that number is one representative for every 712,000 people. If we revert to the original ratio of representatives to people we’d have nearly 10,300 members of the House of Representatives. To represent such diverse interests and people the current system of representation has failed miserably. Under the Constitution and the original system of federalism states retained nearly all powers. Each state was diverse and offered certain advantages or disadvantages. Citizens could freely move to a state better suited to their desires. People could vote with their feet. Diverse people were best represented by diverse states, not one central, consolidated national government. The founders and the framers understood this all too well.
The union has reached a crossroads. Do the States continue to remain in an abusive relationship with the very federal government the States created? Do States seek to remedy the long train of abuses and usurpations and return to constitutionally limited government? Or, do States recognize that the differences amongst the people have resulted in antagonistic feelings, financial difficulties, and differences of interests, resentment, and constant bickering?
States entered freely into the union just as a man and a woman enter freely into a marriage union. Likewise, marriages fail due to irreconcilable differences. Indeed government is instituted amongst men and the sole purpose of government is to protect life, liberty, and property rights. Government is meant to keep us free. Libertyand property rights are no longer protected by the government created to protect those very things. States have been diminished into satellites often working hand in glove with the federal government to further abridge and deny our rights.
Perhaps we need to have an adult conversation and recognize we have irreconcilable differences. Perhaps the best thing for the people is an amicable divorce. To peacefully dissolve the union or significantly alter it in a way that better serves the people. The entire role and purpose of government has been perverted. AsJeffersonsaid, “[i]t is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”
While I don’t have all the answers, perhaps the union should be split into four or five regions each operating with complete autonomy, and under forms of government that best meets the needs of the people and the states. Perhaps a small federal government remains just for the purpose of the common defense. There are many variations to this idea as well as other ideas by people smarter than me. By no means am I advocating a civil war or any form of violence. We simply need to have an adult conversation about the proper role and purpose of government and implement a solution(s) that best meets those needs.
In my estimation the status quo simply ensures the downfall of our union. The downfall may be uncontrolled and consist of tyranny, anarchy, or both. Maybe an amicable divorce is the most reasonable and practical solution for our irreconcilable differences.