Southern politicians are right. Historically, they have been proponents of states’ rights against the encroachments of national power. Today, we need a Jefferson rather than a Lincoln.
Virginia-born Thomas Jefferson believed in states’ rights fearing an overly centralized federal government. In fact, he believed that a revolution against government was a good thing from time to time, something that was natural in the writer of the Declaration of Independence.
Illinois politician Abraham Lincoln, on the other hand, was the Civil War president that upheld national authority in the north’s mission of preserving the Union. At that time in our history, federal authority was a necessary evil – Congress abolished slavery, promoted and built our transportation network of rails and roads, and sold cheap Western land to farmers in order to populate the frontier.
Today, we must insist upon going backwards in order to move forward, allowing the individual states to develop internally what we depended upon the nation to resolve. Northern states are beginning to realize the necessity of this Southern strategy.
New York State under the leadership of Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seeking ways to do just that, restructuring state government to make it more responsive to the needs of its own citizens. It is not looking to Washington to solve its problems, but to New Yorkers themselves. Gov. Cuomo’s initiatives are looking for new ways to solve age-old problems.
It is crucial to count on ourselves more than ever especially considering the state of our global and national economies. I am not promoting the fragmentation of the nation, but rather the strengthening of it from the grassroots, to the states, all the way to the White House.
It is time to stop asking the nation to bail out the states; the states must bail out the nation.