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Saturday
July 02nd, 2022
L&T Opinions Page

earl wattL&T Publisher Earl Watt

 

Is America in the last decade of being the last great hope for freedom on earth? History indicates that answer could be yes.

Abraham Lincoln said, “A nation divided against itself cannot stand,” but that wasn’t the first time America faced the deep divisions seen today.

For that, you have to go back to 1765 when England tried to recoup its cost of defending the colonies by instituting the Stamp Act — a tax on all paper goods sold in the colonies.

The people detested the tax since they had no say in its creation. They rejected a centralized authority dictating their policies at home.

They protested, boycotted and resisted, and in 1766, the Stamp Act was rescinded.

That was the moment that began the decade’s journey to ending centralized authority over the colonies. That’s when discussions started as whispers about whether the colonies should be tied to England at all. Those whispers grew into discussions at the pub, and then into debates in local legislatures, and then into outright rejection of British authority.

A Boston riot ended with five dead in the streets in 1770. Taxed tea was cast overboard in Boston Harbor in 1773. And on April 19, 1775, colonists challenged the British Army at Lexington and Concord, and a shot was fired that set the indelible course to revolution. Finally, on July 4, 1776, independence was declared, a full decade after the Stamp Act.

Today, America is once again facing a threat from a centralized authority trying to remove state control, this time over elections.

Just like 1766, many states are opposing the centralized threat to their freedom.

For almost 250 years America has experienced elections controlled at the state level with only federal guarantees that prevent racism and discrimination at the ballot box.

Now the proposal is to take procedural requirements away from states, like mandating mail-out ballots to every registered voter whether they request it or not, outlawing voter identification requirements, mandating where ballot boxes are to be placed and what hours they will be available, and a host of other policy issues that have been operated by the states.

This centralized control would usurp authority from 7,383 state legislators in all 50 states, from both parties, and concentrate it into the hands of 535 people in Washington, D.C., and since only one party is pushing this national takeover, only 275 lawmakers.

This partisan division has started the whispers of states who don’t support federal takeovers and those who do.

The whispers have grown into discussions over dinner, and now will grow into debates in elected assemblies.

These types of issues have started the 10-year countdown, much like the Stamp Act did 257 years ago.

When states no longer feel like they have control within their borders, they tend to seek independence, just as the 13 colonies did.

Much like then, families are splitting along partisan lines. Patriots and loyalists represented those who opposed central authority and those who supported it.

Today, the same division has festered across the nation. Benjamin Franklin and his son William divided over the issue of independence from central control. And today, friends have become enemies, partisanship has replaced compromise, and the die has been cast that either freedom from centralized control will triumph, or the return of centralized domination will squash the belief in localized government.

It is one thing to understand history and to see the signs of what led to separation, but it is a much more difficult task to put the greater good above the partisanship seen today. Reconciliation will be 10 times harder and require once-in-a-century leadership, none of which we have now. Separation will be the easier path.

The tea has yet to be tossed overboard, but the centralized zeal for authority is very much alive.

We may no longer be colonists or pioneers, but we are seeing individual state authority being stripped away.

Where do we go from here? When Californians believe Washington, D.C., is more of a hindrance than a help, and Texas agrees, the power hungry in the nation’s capital may realize too late that in the hearts of Americans the decision to divorce may have already set root.

Who actually files the paperwork may be moot when both agree to separate. 

The role of Congress was to keep us together. Their actions are leading to the exact opposite.

The question may no longer be “if” separation comes but “when.” All because of centralized takeovers.

 

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