When a close friend brought this to my attention, I believed it to be nothing more than a lame joke. You know, the kind that seems so absurd that it just can’t be true; it’s the joke you make when mocking Arizona, Georgia and Texas. So when I was told my state senator, Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-SD11), introduced a constitutional amendment along with David Hann (R-SD42) last April that would require a 2/3 vote by the state legislature to ratify a federal bill that affects the state, I laughed and continued on with my day. Surely no one would seriously be pushing a political philosophy that was historically used to oppress the African-American community and was all together resolved by both the Civil War (1861-1865) and the Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968).
But could I be so sure in my dismissal? After all, this is the Age of the Tea Party.
Later, taking the time to look it up, I was blown away to find out that it was true. Yes,the gentleman who represents me in St. Paul wants to give the legislature the power to nullify federal law, which in effect would grant full independence to Minnesota. This kind of talk has got me thinking.
Are we really so entrenched in our partisan ways that we are willing to dissolve the United States over one piece of legislation that will end the pariah-hood of the pre-existing condition and that will end lifetime coverage limits in its first year of enactment? The (I’ll say it) noble pursuit of liberty for the individual has taken a turn so dramatic that I feel as though I must now adopt a label I once thought – until now – forever implied for every American: Unionist.
Yes, I support the Union; there, I said it. I have surrendered myself to the republican ideals of President Lincoln and find myself rejecting the nullification first proposed by President Jefferson. Though the proposed (and since then failed) constitutional amendment tried to justify itself by (redundantly) pointing out that “Minnesotans enjoy inherent, natural, God-given rights”, I cannot bring myself to accept its conclusion. Though it claims that we “are sovereign individuals, subject to Minnesota law and immune from any federal laws that exceed the federal government’s enumerated constitutional powers”, I truly do not believe Minnesota to be an independent nation. We’re just not. Minnesota is another Union star in a constellation that is democracy’s last best hope of earth.
Lending an open ear to those who seriously espouse such radical ideas gives a credence undeserving of the 21st century. Would you be willing to listen to an argument in favor of feudalism? What about an argument encouraging the deregulation of child labor laws? No, you wouldn’t because these are ideas proven wrong and long resolved in the canon of history.
Or so we hope.