Social Question

alanwhitcomb's avatar

So I'm not sure I know what political party I'd best fit into in America.

Asked by alanwhitcomb (77points) July 21st, 2010

I do believe in the United States Constitution.

I also believe that the Federal Government should be limited to two jobs:

1) Keeping “We The People” SAFE from outside invaders.

2) keeping peace between the states.

This was from Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution.

The rest of the Constitution explains these two jobs.

Is there a political party that meets those qualifications?

(state governments not included)

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

45 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Right Libertarian.

jaytkay's avatar

I do believe in the United States Constitution.

Everybody believes in the Constitution.

alanwhitcomb's avatar

Wow, ok. I was going to take a few quizzes, and a ”.gov” page had a quiz, but I didn’t like how the questions were phrased on any of them. I don’t really like multiple choice.

janbb's avatar

The Anti-Federalists

TexasDude's avatar

Definitely right-wing Libertarian.

bobloblaw's avatar

As @jatkay says, saying that you believe in the Constitution doesn’t really mean anything. This may sound odd, but all of American political thought isn’t found solely in the Constitution. Consider what the Declaration of Independence states. Consider Supreme Court decisions. Consider all the other various writings of our Founding Fathers.

alanwhitcomb's avatar

I actually agree!

ETpro's avatar

@alanwhitcomb First, welcome to Fluther and thanks for a great question about which I can rant.

Your reading of the US Constitution is quite off base. The Constitution enumerates a long series of things the Government is to do. It lists what Congress, as one of there co-equal branches, must do. It requires a census every ten years. It specifies how interstate and even intrastate commerce is to be regulated. It specifies an Executive branch and its duties, and a Judicial branch and its duties. All the Amendments are now part of the Constitution as well.

The Constitution was never meant by the founding fathers as a line by line set of instructions for the day-to-day operation of the government. You won’t find anything in it about an Air Force. So should the US not have any military branch that uses air planes? It doesn’t mention nuclear energy in any way. So should the government ignore the fact that nuclear energy exists and not regulate it in any way? It doesn’t cover drilling for oil. So should we not drill for oil? Or should we let anyone do so anyway they wish, even after what we have just witnessed in the Gulf of Mexico.

There is a growing meme in the USA that if only we could take apart the government and have it do nothing but defense, everything else would run itself perfectly. That’s as absurd as claiming that cars can drive themselves quite safely, that they are better without drivers.

Read through the whole Constitution and its Amendments. Consider it as a living document. The USA of 1788 was a very different world than the USA of today. There is a need for the FAA, the Interstate Highway System, the Transcontinental Railway, NASA, NOAA, The Center for Disease Control. The founders didn’t write those things in, line by line, because they had no crystal ball to foresee the invention of aviation, automobiles, locomotives, space exploration, weather science or even the ability to track and defeat epidemics. But they knew the world even in their day was changing rapidly, and they crafted a dynamic document that empowered agencies of government to enact laws and react to changes as they happened.

If you really want to live in a land with a government that does nothing but raise an army, look somewhere else. There are Americans that “think” they want that, but what they really want is all the benefits of safe living that their government brings them today without having to pay for them. If any political leader ever takes all those functions away, Americans will crucify the political movement that does it when they realize what going back to the 18th century is really like.

SeventhSense's avatar

The hypocritical party. There is no Constitution without a strong central Federal government independent of the states.

alanwhitcomb's avatar

I agree that there is a long list of things that the government is required to do, I have read the entire thing more than once. I just believe that tha entire list can be placed under one of the two things that I listed above. I still the believe that the Constitution is still good for today.

The entire list of jobs in the Consitution can be placed under one of the two categories:
1) Keeping us safe from outside invasion
2) Keeping peace between the states

I just don’t believe that the Federal Government should be involved in:

family life – marriage – children
medicare – medicine – hospitals – doctors
environment unless it becomes dangerous
alcohol – drugs – etc…. (even though I oppose those)
saying who can or cannot vote
the Interstate Highway System

There is such a long list of what they aren’tallowed to do by the constitution, I believe that these are rights given to us by the 9th and 10th ammendment, and should be reserved for the people or the State governments only.

I agree, about the military using planes, I see know reason why they shouldn’t. I see absolutely nothing wrong with the military having planes.

Your right, It doesn’t mention nuclear energy in any way. No, I don’t think the government should ignore the fact that nuclear energy exists, and that they should regulate it. Because nuclear energy can go under both of the two categories that I mentioned.

Your right, It doesn’t cover drilling for oil. I don’t think the government should be involved in oil drilling, people shouldn’t be drilling over the ocean anyway. Five years ago, I even said that it was a bad idea to drill out in the ocean, I knew this was going to happen.

I see no fault with the Constitution.

SeventhSense's avatar

Yes why don’t we just separate into 50 states while we’re at it. We could have the Northern Union, the Confederate States, Texamerica, The New York Federation to name a few. Of course we could have independent militias to war with each other other such simple activities as interstate commerce and toll bridges, use of air space, religious intolerance and bigotry. Donny Osmond could be the premier of Utah. Chuck Norris could be President of Texamerica. It might work…~
Oh ya we tried that. It was called the nineteenth century.

alanwhitcomb's avatar

The Federal Government IS a federation of individual 50 states. The “government” IS not seperate from the states, the government IS the individual states. The government is supposed to consist of representatives from each state. As the fifty individual state governments consist of “We The People”

It’s supposed be this form of structure:

First in command:
“We The People” who are the ones that vote, and forms the state government, and the state constitution as long as it doesn’t violate the U.S. Constitution between the states.

Second in command:
The State Government which consists of “We The People” from each state, and provides a representative from each state for the federal government. The states control their representative in the government, as long as it doesn’t violate the U.S. Constitution.

Third in command:
Then the government which CONSISTS of representatives from each state to protect the people from outside invaders and to require peace between the states.

josie's avatar

There is no hope for you in either major party in the US. There may also be little hope for you in Fluther. Even though I am a little left of you, I am definitely not a favorite of The Golden on Fluther. But I am always looking for buddies. I will watch your back. Welcome to Fluther!

SeventhSense's avatar

Yes but we do have a strong and vital central government which it was determined was the best way to handle things like education, interstate trade, travel, and vital interests of the republic which was ceded to them by the states as an agent on their behalf. The ones who really seem to want a smaller central government, ironically always seem to be the same ones that want to use it as a throne without any oversight. For example the huge abuses of power that George .Bush wielded as if some sort of King on a mission. I’m all for accountability but those who espouse a smaller government actually have very limited interests at heart for the most part and at base it’s always a monied one.

jerv's avatar

@jaytkay Everybody claims to believe in the Constitution, but most wind up wiping their ass with at least part of it, whether it is the First Amendment, state’s rights, or whatever else. Like religion, people cherry-pick what they want from the text and throw the rest away.

@alanwhitcomb Why confine yourself to a particular party? Many candidates cross party lines on at least some issues, so ignore affiliations and vote for whoever is closest to your views. Better yet, start your own party!

SeventhSense's avatar

And look what happens when the restrictions are removed from business accountability. These assholes are saying that there should be no oversight on drilling for oil. And what happens but environmental catastrophe. There should be more restrictions and oversight by the government not less. Big business has shown time and again that it has zero self censoring capacity. If an oil spill from the Gulf washes it’s way up the Eastern Seaboard, you bet your ass I want the government to step it and shackle these polluters. That’s a vital job of the central government. It all seems so simple but the Constitution was an interpretive document. It is not dogma or a set of simple rules but parameters that have ben expanded as need be. .

SeventhSense's avatar

WTF is the Golden?

SeventhSense's avatar

I said, “Why don’t we just separate into fifty separate states.”
I meant of course countries

Michael's avatar

@alanwhitcomb You cite Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution as your entire basis for understanding the role of government in our society. You have conveniently ignored the other 6 articles, the 26 operative amendments and the preamble.

The Constitution gives the federal government many powers and duties beyond those which you have noted. For example, the Constitution specifically gives the U.S. Congress the power to borrow money, to regulate interstate commerce, to coin money, to run a post office, and to establish and enforce copyrights and patents.

Also, of course, the preamble states that the whole reason for the Constitution is to “promote the general welfare.”

You are also ignoring 200 plus years of legal scholarship and judicial decisions that have conclusively deemed all of those things you listed as completely Constitutional.

I always find it so interesting that those who claim to “believe in the Constitution” have so little understanding of it.

YARNLADY's avatar

@SeventhSense My opinion – there is no such thing, it is just a name that some other users have come up with to play the us versus them game. It could be called favorites, cliques, or any other word that denotes favored over “us”.

SeventhSense's avatar

I figured as much. If it’s not that it’s red v blue, dem v rep, left v right and on and on and on..
I can’t get worked up with this right now. It’s 12:00 here in E.S.T. and I need to get up in the A.M.
Ciao People.

ETpro's avatar

@alanwhitcomb Your first responsibility of the Federal Government, providing for the general defense, I completely agree with you on. But while it’s clear the Founders wanted a Federal system to assure peace between the states, that is not the single thrust outside defending the country from enemies, foreign and domestic.

Article ! alone has 10 sub clauses. In all there are 7 Articles, 22 sub-clauses each of some length and 27 Amendments of varying length. By what possible logic do you conclude that all that says is “1—Provide for the common defense. 2—Keep peace between the states.”? That could have been written in a no more than 2 sentence. End of Constitution. You can claim to love the Constitution all you want, but you are ignoring almost everything in it.

The Legislative Branch is most clearly empowered to enact such laws as it deems necessary so long as they don’t conflict with the Constitution. There is a process to review and overrule laws that do conflict. If you are looking for a political movement that matches your ideas, it is called the Tenthers. They have taken law after law to the Supreme Court with a success rate very close to that of the Birthers, who now have lost 66 and won 0 cases..

If we subscribed to your truncated Constitution of 2 sentences, there would be no Interstate Highway System, no Transcontinental Railroad, no national Air Traffic Control system so virtually no air travel, No Hoover Dam, no Space Exploration, no Food and Drug Administration. You may not know it, but Americans were dying in droves of food poisoning around the 1900s. A book called The Jungle written by Upton Sinclair spurred Congress to act to protect and inspect the nation’s food supply.

In the 70s, our forests started dying of acid rain. Rivers actually caught on fire. People with breathing problems routinely died on smoggy days in Los Angeles. We realized we needed nationwide standards for clean air and water, and have done amazing things to turn that bad situation around.

I recommend this for reading. It’s brief.

And by the way, the DMV is a state agency, not Federal. But without Federal auto standards, imagine auto manufacturers trying to keep up with 50 sets of constantly changing state standards. Get real.

JLeslie's avatar

@alanwhitcomb So you don’t have any opinions on abortion, healthcare, gay marriage, regulating business, regulating lending? I agree with the people above that you are probably a Libertarian, but if you have some opinions on some of the hot topics of the day it might help you fit into one of the two major parties in our country. If you think the government should not interfere in any of those things, then again, I am back to Libertarian.

SeventhSense's avatar

Thank you.

It’s amazing the selective memory of some groups. We’ve been around this tree and it’s been watered with blood for the last two centuries. We don’t need to go backward.

Nullo's avatar

You might check out the Constitution Party. I know nothing about them besides the fact that they’re pretty keen on the Constitution.

Or you could be a true independent and just vote however you like. There are no perks – beyond bragging rights – to being in a party.

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo That depends on your state. @alanwhitcomb didn’t indicate which state, but some hold closed primaries. If you aren’t registered with a particular party, you are unable to vote in the primary elections, just the general elections.

woodcutter's avatar

go Independent. you get to be loved when you side with the other two of some issues and hated by these same people when you disagree. ain’t it cool?

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @ETpro you need to find out about the primaries. That is why when my dad left the Republican party he went Democrat instead of Independent. He wanted to still have some influence in the primaries.

Jabe73's avatar

Libertarian Party or Constitution Party.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo If I wanted a party, I’d buy a keg and start my own :P

ETpro's avatar

@Jabe73 I don’t know if @alanwhitcomb would feel at home with the Constitution Party or not. From their preamble to their Party Platform, I read:

“The Constitution Party gratefully acknowledges the blessing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as Creator, Preserver and Ruler of the Universe and of these United States. We hereby appeal to Him for mercy, aid, comfort, guidance and the protection of His Providence as we work to restore and preserve these United States.”

This great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been and are afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

The goal of the Constitution Party is to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries.”

So it would certainly seem that they think the Establishment clause doesn’t exist. That leaves me wondering how many other parts they think don’t exist either. Of course,

Of course, @alanwhitcomb seems to think that almost the entire document is irrelevant. He’s got many pages of elegant, insightful prose boiled down to only two brief sentences and wants to toss all the rest out the window; and that he sees as being a defender of the Constitution. But I’m guessing the parts he wants to toss and the part these so called “Constitutionalists” want to toss will be at odds in several places. He’s really a Tenther, pure and simple.

Jabe73's avatar

@ETpro The Constitution Party is too far right for me. I’m not an expert on this political party but I have watched Constitution Party candidates in debates already and felt they maybe somewhat of a viable alternative. To me there is little difference between far-right Republicans and the Constitution Party. However you are right on this.

alanwhitcomb's avatar

I know I cited Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution as my entire basis for understanding the role of government in our society. And I didn’t ignore the other 6 articles, or the ammendments, or the preamble. ALL of the constitution is VALID, and can be placed under one of the two categories. I said that ALL of the other articles, were included within those two categories that I listed.

The Constitution gives the federal government specific powers and duties beyond dealing with keeping peace between the states. For example, the Constitution specifically gives the U.S. Congress the power to borrow money, to regulate interstate commerce, to coin money, to run a post office, and to establish and enforce copyrights and patents. All of these powers are given to the “government” of the fifty states to keep peace between the states.

I do have many opinions on voting rights, abortion, healthcare, gay marriage, regulating business, regulating lending. My views are that those issues are reserved for “We The People” or the individual states under the 9th and 10th amendments. These issues should ONLY be discussions for the individual states.

Also, of course, the preamble, I do agree that the whole reason for the Constitution is to “promote the general welfare.” The “general welfare” being there job of keeping the states safe from outside invaders as well as keep peace between the states, which refers to giving U.S. Congress the power to borrow money, to regulate interstate commerce, to coin money, to run a post office, and to establish and enforce copyrights and patents.

As I said, these rights below are given specifically to “We The People” or the states individually:

family life – marriage – children
medicare – medicine – hospitals – doctors
environment unless it becomes dangerous
alcohol – drugs – etc…. (even though I oppose those)
saying who can or cannot vote
the Interstate Highway System

I believe that these are very important topics but should be ONLY on state level, not federal.

Voting rights, abortion, marriage, gay marriage, etc… should all be up to the individual states, not the federal government.

I think have missed a few of the things that people asked me, and I have an answer for all of them.

Here are federal Issues:

the power to borrow money
to regulate interstate commerce
to coin money
to run a post office
to establish and enforce copyrights and patents
space exploration
Yes, I agree that when a motorist travels to another state, then the Government can get involved.
I have no problem with the government getting involved in the highway system, just in case there are disagreements between the states.
When something threatens the fifty states as a whole, then I have no problems with the government getting involved.

But some issues should be reserved for the people/states only.

As for any of the amendents after the 10th amendment, should be reserved for the people or the states ONLY, not for federal government.

JLeslie's avatar

@alanwhitcomb Just to argue one point, I am avid about education not be exclusively done at the state and local level. Too many people around me don’t give a damn about public education. More than one person has said to me that they favor getting rid of public education all together. An extremes of course, and probably a minority of people, but I hear these things too often to ignore. Assuming public education will never go away in our 50 states, there is a still an overwhelming amount of people not giving a damn in my community about it, and so I think they vote without concern for education. I say all of this because I want the kid in TN to have just as good an education as the kid in Colorado, so they both have a shot at any college they choose to go to. I hate to think that by accident of birth a kid has less chance, just because of what state, or local district they go to school. Minimum federal standards are a must in my estimate.

I understand wanting a balance between states rights and federal, seems prudent to not let one entity have too much power, but if you (not you personally) feel a part of the whole USA, you don’t want things to be drastically different from one state to the next I think. Almost every time I talk to someone who takes states rights to an extreme, it is someone who has only lived in one state all of their life, but of course that is not always true.

alanwhitcomb's avatar

Education is very important, especially to me, I don’t mind public education at all, I enjoyed high school, and I graduated High School a year early. I have actually lived in three states throughout my life, and I had a great education in all of them.

I believe that the people within a state, should have their local government make taxes to make sure that education is provided for all of their citizens. Not just their citizens, but I agree that all Americans should be able to get the best education possible, even if it means that some states help other states increase their education.

And I guess I don’t mind the federal government getting involved just enough to make sure that every state is contributing to education, because a lack of education is considered a threat to each individual state, and the federation of the states.

alanwhitcomb's avatar

I see our government as a federation of the states:

A federation (Latin: foedus, foederis, ‘covenant’), also known as a federal state, “is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central (federal) government. In a federation, the self-governing status of the component states is typically constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision of the central government.”

Yes, I agree with this.

Article 4 – Section 4 – Republican government: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”

I also believe our government should be a republic

republic n 1 : a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and is usually a president; also : a nation or other political unit having such a government 2 : a government in which supreme power is held by the citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives governing according to law; also : a nation or other political unit having such a form of government.

JLeslie's avatar

@alanwhitcomb Well, I would like for the state itself to pay for the education actually within each state, I was thinking more in terms of standards. I can see the argument for federal money though, but it is not where my head is at.

Michael's avatar

@alanwhitcomb The vision you are describing sounds much more like the Articles of Confederation than the US Constitution. Don’t forget that the reason the US adopted the Constitution was because your vision – and that of the Articles – was unworkable.

alanwhitcomb's avatar

I didn’t intend it to sound that way, I was reading from the U.S. Constitution. I also have a list of the articles of the Confederation, but I haven’t even really read that in such a long time. I didn’t even bother studying it.

ETpro's avatar

@alanwhitcomb I certainly respect your right to the opinion that your list of issues reserved for “we the people” should be just that. But I strongly disagree that the Constitution sets out such a reservation. Each of your listed items have been the subject of court fights by states righters and while in some cases the Supreme Court found the Federal Government had no compelling interest in regulating a particular thing, the SCOTUS has found that Congress and the Executive do have the Constitutional authority to act in every one of the areas on your list. As I previously mentioned, the Division of Motor Vehicles (RMV for Registry of Motor Vehicles here in my state) is a state agency, but the Federal government has a very legitimate interests in setting auto standards, and leaving that up to the 50 states to do individually would make an auto engineer’s life bedlam.

Keeping the federal government out of education is one of the prime targets of new conservatives, and I am vehemently opposed to letting them have their way on that. Thomas Jefferson was the father of public education. He wanted it to extend through the undergraduate college level, but knew those of his day interested in preserving the “rights” of the wealthy would never stand for it. Conservatism thrives in an environment where people are taught from K-12 to believe its tenets. I fear that the Cons goal is to eliminate all nationwide standards for education, then state by state deconstruct public education altogether. They, like Jefferson’s opponents to public education, yearn for a day when only the oligarchs children can go beyond a rudimentary education.

You might fire back that liberals have made their own mistakes in dumbing down education and have let teachers unions dictate far too many of its terms. I would agree on that. But I do not for a moment want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Our government is a republic. One only has to look at the dictionary definition to know that. But it is a Democratic republic. You would be amazed at how many Republicans I have had argue with me that we are not a Democratic Republic. They use the silly claim that only Athens practiced democracy. We aren’t a direct democracy, but we do practice representative democracy, and out Constitution spells that out. I plan to see it stays that way. I fear there is a growing movement on the far right to take Democracy out of the equation. They talk now of Nullification and 2nd Amendment remedies if they can’t win at the ballot box. Well, I certainly hope it doesn’t come to that. But if it does, they should give this fact some thought. If they lose at the ballot box, that means there are more of us who want the USA to remain a democracy than there are those who yearn for big brother and single-party rule.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie Once you introduce federal funding for the schools, then the federal government has a say in what can be taught in them. That’s pretty risky, if you ask me.
@ETpro What possible benefit could a conservative possibly hope to find in the destruction of the public education system?

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo More easily duped voters. Les taxes. More home schooling. Teaching that America is a Christian Nation. Teaching that only right-wing solutions work. As William Rose Wallace noted, “William Ross Wallace”

This isn’t just idle speculation. I participate in another Social Q&A site called and have read these exact thoughts being expressed there. Sodahead is very heavily right wing. Lots of Birthers and folks swearing that the Obama Administration is coming for our guns. The FEMA detention camps are complete. They are going to declare martial law and force us into a Communist North American Union with Mexico and Canada.

jerv's avatar

@ETpro Pretty much. And you can also learn a lot from fiction (at least the well-written stuff). For instance, in the Rifts RPG, teaching a citizen outside of the ruling elite is a capital offense since an educated populace is more likely and more able to be a threat to the Coalition government (well, a threat to the Emperor at least, but same difference). And the CS are intentionally modeled after the pre-apocalyse Nazis, right down to the uniforms, but Pre-Rifts History is also forbidden knowledge. In fact, the biggest enemy the CS has is a little old lady who happens to be a historian; she is more feared and reviled by the CS government than Osama bin Laden could ever hope to be simply because she teaches history.
While I seriously doubt that we will go as far as the Coalition States in a fictitious setting, all fiction has at least a grain of truth. We may not allow our corporations to keep better armed security forces than the US military or allow them full extraterritorial rights comparable to an embassy like Shadowrun, but I think we can all agree that they have at least as much power as any government… though many Conservatives feel they should have more.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo Well, like i said I am not keen on federal funding for education, but I am all in favor of minimum federal standards. I am fine with homeschooling, and private education, but I like a law that tries to keep our children as equal as possible in their pursuit of education. I agree with @ETpro that there is a movement to get rid of public education. Many people who put their children in private school are pissed they pay taxes to support public education. They also dwell on the problems in public education as a legtimate reason to ditch public education all together. I am still waiting for someone in favor of getting rid of public education (I realize you are not saying you are in favor of getting rid of it all together) to come up with a country that is industrialized, prosperous, economically strong, and has a high level of average education that does not have public education. Conservatives are supposed to support tried and true methods, and from what I can tell public education is throughout the world, even if it is imperfect.

I’m pretty sure the federal government does currently have some say in what is taught, don’t they? I actually don’t know for sure their current influence. When I say minimum standards I am talking Reading, Writing, Math, Some science, still very basic, but standardization at some level. There is still opportunity for elective classes that suit the community you live in, and I am all in favor vocational education at the high school level, and opportunity for apprenticeships, etc. I want students when they graduate to be prepared for post graduation, whether it be going on to a job or college. what exactly do you fear if the fed does set standards? Many Republicans seem ok with testing, and linking money to the schools for testing, which is a whole other issue I won’t get into, but that would mean there needs to be standards.

I fear that communities that have a statistically high percentage of parents who are not very educated, may wind up with schools that cannot compete with communitites that have many parents who have graduate degrees. I don’t mean that uneducated parents don’t understand the value of an education, but they could be at the disadvantage of not knowing what the education is like in their community compared to others. That kind of exists now to some extent in some places, but there seems to be an effort right now to improve things; we just have to continue to ignore the voices of the people who don’t give a shit about public education. Literally, the people around me all too often see public education as giving the poor blacks another thing for free. It is a race issue where I live, and they can’t see that even if it is true that we are “giving” poor people educations, it is still better for society.

And, it is much much cheaper for parents to pay higher taxes and have good public schools, then to pay half the taxes and send your kids to private school, especially if you have two or more kids.

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