Monday, August 17, 2009

586 States' Rights

586 States' Rights

We're heading back to the era of the civil war. Texas is threatening to secede. No one much takes that seriously. But it's a grating noise on the blackboard of who we are as a country.

About five years ago, a little state's rights battle started in Europe, and got almost no attention here.

This is what happened: A guy in Germany, separated or divorced, wanted the right to visit his pre-teen kid. There was a dispute between the mother and father about which language was to be spoken at the visits. As many a couple in a kid battle, this ended up in a German court, which ruled against the father.

He then appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, which reversed the German court's decision. Then comes the German Constitutional Court which says "hey, wait a minute, Germany is a sovereign nation and thee Euro Human Rights Courts decisions are guidelines and not binding."

Well... that sure sounds like battles that have been going on here in the states for the last 150 years or so.

It's a battle that may soon heat up over here.... with conflicts about who sets abortion rights... marriage rights.... and educational rights.

Over there, it's different.

OUR states existed as affiliated but largely separate mini countries for about an eye blink.

The countries of Europe have a far longer tradition... one that's not going to break down anytime soon.
Yes... the map of Europe has been redrawn dozens of times in that same 150 years. And the unifications of Germany and Italy, for example, do not go back all that far.

But shared traditions among various sections in Europe go back to tribal roots.

And while the European court was formed in 1959... the overarching European union is new.

So, yeah, member countries of the EU are -- for the most part -- sharing currency and dropping a lot of border restrictions.... but the EU is NOT the United States of Europe.

Many of our states are bigger than countries.

Many of Europe's countries are smaller than American states.

But it's too soon for the Europeans to start acting like, say, Alabama or Texas.

We know what Europe is. It's a bunch of countries that share a continent.

We SHOULD be now know what the USA is -- here's a hint: it's a country, NOT a bunch of countries that share a continent.

And sure, states have rights. and sure there are restrictions on Washington.

But it may be time for some of OUR states to stop acting as if the federal government here were some kind of voluntary association.

That was settled by 1870... and many people thought it had been settled by 1776.


-Ignorant of world affairs that aren't crises or natural disasters? You are not alone. Who here knew about the Shanghai Expo-2010, which is expecting exhibits from 200 countries and figures on 70 million visitors between May first and October 31st?

--Time to give a little spanking to the GEICO gecko. He's so busy with TV appearances that he's getting late in sending out the auto insurance bills. Or he's mimicking MasterCard.

--Does any driver remember how to signal a turn by hand? Probably not. No one bothers with them, anymore. And way too many don't bother with the automatic ones, either.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2009

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