Remembering that words are important, especially when politicians use them, has anyone ever given thought to why they named the new most powerful domestic department, “The Department of Homeland Security”?
Did you ever, in your entire life prior to 2002 hear the United States referred to as the “Homeland?” Probably not. I’m pretty old and I never once heard the term used in reference to the U.S.A. I’d heard Russia exhort its masses to defend the Motherland and Germans refer to their country as the Fatherland but not once had I heard this country referred to as a homeland.
Since 1787 there has been the tension between Federalists and Nationalists. Strangely Alexander Hamilton and his supporters wrote the “Federalist Papers” when Hamilton was dead set against Federalism. He was a Nationalist who favored an overarching central government with little power left to the states. Thus, the collection of essays should have been titled the “Nationalist Papers.”
We fought a war over whether states could override federal law within their boundaries. The Nationalists won but the war continued in the courts and continues to be prosecuted even as we speak. The Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade for two reasons. The first was that the Constitution does not provide for a “right” of abortion and the second because the Supreme court overstepped its authority in creating a national right that didn’t exist. If there is no national right, then each state becomes responsible for enacting or not enacting laws pertaining to abortion. Make no mistake, Roe V. Wade was a case of Federalism v. Nationalism.
Thus, when creating the new department the National government chose to use a word that conjures up the idea of a homogenous, undivided entity which must be secured. Its powers override those of the constituent states and were codified in the Patriot Act that put in place abilities for the National government to act within the boundaries of the states without coordination. Thus, the National government made yet another move to drive a stake through the heart of Federalism.
Coupled with the move on the political left to supplant the Electoral College in favor of a simple numerical superiority of the popular vote and you have Federalism being squeezed from both sides. Both the politicians and the masses on the left want to create a situation not unlike the aftermath of the French Revolution. Since 1787 Federalism has been under attack from populists and politicians. As the building bricks of Federalism are chipped away the worth of the individual is being devalued. With the interjection of national resources into local elections the old adage of “all politics is local” has been overtaken by the nationalists. No longer do we select our own candidates, they are selected by a national party, and then supported and funded by that party.
Federalism, as envisioned by the framers of the Constitution, at least those from the smaller states, is being choked to death in front of us and we seem to be prepared to allow it to die. When it does, life will be very different in the People’s Democratic Republic of America. Words are important. Pay attention.