They were disappointed to learn that the Rowan County Clerk is elected and can’t be recalled by people who live ten states away, not matter how vociferously they express their outrage on the Internet.
This is the problem with the United States today. The Founders created a federal system that delegated most governmental powers to the states. But 140 years ago, some Americans decided to make their stand on states’ rights with the assertion that they had the right to own other humans as property, thereby ruining federalism for the rest of us forever after.
Unfortunately, politics in the contemporary United States mostly revolves around wedge issues in which roughly half of the country demands that the other half change its value system.
So national politics has become a zero-sum game in which the Red Tribe and Blue Tribe fight for control of the federal government so they can use its power to ensure that people who live ten states away can’t smoke weed1, can’t own guns2, can’t get abortions3, and must bake wedding cakes for LGBT couples4.
The U.S. constitution has a mechanism for creating laws that all of the states must follow. But passing amendments is hard. The last amendment this country ratified came about in an Hands-Across-America-style burst of aimless Gen-X do-something-for-the-sake-of-seeing-if-it-can-be-done hijinks. But the Laid-Back ’90s Man is not here anymore and probably wouldn’t be of much help in our age of identity politics anyway.
What Americans actually seem to want is a set of federal commissars who are empowered to override state officials when they act in opposition to federal policies.
True, federal judges often serve a similar role by reversing state laws and countermanding state officials. But the president only gets to pick them he’s lucky enough to have some retiring during his term. That doesn’t seem fair for the political tribe who’s candidate wins the presidency only have those black-robed geriatrics stubbornly fighting senility and death. Sometimes appointed judges even get uppity and start ruling with some semblance of independence!
Commissars appointed and dismissed at the behest of the Executive Branch, on the other hand, would be far more efficient, fair, and, most importantly, devoted to carrying out the president’s mandate.
Americans believe that power in U.S. system of government resides with the president anyway. Don’t you want the Federal Commissar of California immediately slapping down state officials who declare their jurisdictions to be sanctuary cities? Granted, if the Blue Tribe wins the presidency, you’ll have to put up with the Federal Commissar of Missouri mandating that abortion information be posted at crisis pregnancy centers.
Don’t dismiss this idea too quickly. Not opting for the Federal Commissariat would necessitate wielding federal power over the states far more sparingly, employed only in specific, extreme situations with no other remedy. It would mean accepting that some of your fellow citizens wish to live under a different set of values than you. We can’t have that.