The United Conservatives Fund (UCF) is able to provide a unified leadership role across the conservative movement in Mississippi. The reason we are able to do this is because we restrict our core tenets to those that are held to be true by all conservatives regardless of where each lands in the spectrum of conservatism.
Those tenets are:
- Federalism, and
- A High Moral Tone
The first of these tenets, decentralization, was explained very well a few weeks ago in an article by my fellow executive committee member Brad Patano.
The second of these tenets, Federalism, refers to the relationship of vertical levels of a government. It is the foundation of our system of government that codifies the concept of decentralized power into a workable system of governance that protects the individual through the relationship of our States with the Federal government. This relationship is defined by our Constitution of the United States.
First it is important to understand that the Federal government has 3 main types of power:
- Enumerated (spelled out in Article 1 of our Constitution)
- Implied (generally implied in Article 1, section 8 of our Constitution)
- Inherent (those required for any sovereign nation)
Our 10th Amendment reserves all powers not delegated to the federal government for the states or to the people.
Ironically, Federalism was first introduced to strengthen a very weak and ineffective Continental Congress. The movement to do so was propelled to success by the Shays’ Rebellion of 1786 in Massachusetts. The inability of the federal government to raise an army to respond to the rebellion demonstrated that our nation could not defend itself from enemies both domestic and abroad.
The Constitutional Convention of 1787 introduced our Constitution of the United States to the American people for adoption. Supporters and detractors became know as Federalists and Anti-Federalists. From this national debate comes two more very important documents. Alexander Hamilton and James Madison published the Federalist Papers in support of adopting the Constitution and the Anti-Federalists demanded and were granted what we know today as our Bill of Rights.
Supporters for a strong centralized government formed the Federalist Party which in turn led to the formation of the Democratic-Republican party. This new Republican party was founded on the writings of Thomas Jefferson who was serving as President Washington’s Secretary of State. Jefferson feared that autocracy and national debt would be the result of Federalist Party policies.
Over the years, the power of the federal government has been widely broadened by the National Bank Act, the administrations of Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover, and the court of Chief Justice John Marshall, just to name a few. The often lamented “Commerce Clause” of Article 1, Sect. 8 of our Constitution has been used to add thousands of implied powers to the federal government over the last century. The expansion of federal power has proven to be the “snowball”, perfectly proving Thomas Jefferson’s fear of a stronger central government.
Today, we live in a nation in which the proliferation of implied powers bestowed on our federal government have gone largely unchecked. Our government, national debt, corruption, and intrusion into the lives of citizens is growing at an exponential rate. The relationship between the federal government and the states no longer reflects that described by Madison and Hamilton in the Federalist Papers.
In a day and age of international trade, weapons of mass destruction, instantaneous communication, personal mobility, and wide access to information and technology, this in itself is not as alarming as the fact that the powers reserved for the states and people have not been similarly expounded upon, defined, and adopted to reserve equity within the relationship. We witness on a daily basis the branches of our government actively working to operate on the fringes or outside of our constitution to obtain idealogical, political, and private interest goals.
The use of the term Federalism by conservatives should serve as a reminder that the federal government has infringed upon rights reserved for the states and the people and serve as a call for the federal government to adhere to the restraints set forth within our Constitution, and our states to actively fight to return self-government to its citizens and the states. The United Conservatives Fund exists to promote the message that people can govern themselves best when these tenets are adhered to, that problems affecting our society are best corrected by this form of decentralized authority, and that when people take responsibility at the local level they make our country a better place.
We hope to educate the public and provide candidates to public office with all the resources they need to recognize and point out how these tenets are threatened by our current political system, a system that has removed that power from the people and handed it over to an elite few.
If we will ever correct the problems that ail us today, then we have to step forward now to understand the tried and true ways history shows us how best to accomplish that goal.
A dedication to the historic application of Federalism made this country great. It can do so once again.
Todd Macko is owner of Macko Quality Solutions providing support services to the automotive industry in Mississippi. He serves on the UCF Executive Committee as a representative of the Mississippi Conservative Coalition. He is Vice-Chair of the Rankin County Conservative Coalition and also serves on the State Advisory Council of the Conservative Coalition of Mississippi. He and his wife Barbara live in the Reservoir East Community.