Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Word for the Day: Tentherism

First, dear readers, I should mention that I’ll be traveling and busy with other projects for the next four weeks, so posts may be infrequent. As always, however, I appreciate your comments and read them with interest.

We shall have much to discuss as the summer progresses, however, as political opponents prepare themselves for battle during the late primaries and fall elections. Many of this year’s contests may be, shall we say, amusing.

It’s always interesting how the cultural shifts brought about by new technologies or new movements seem to spawn new vocabulary over night. In the past decade or so, the political “right” in this country has lost its center and shifted toward what used to be regarded, even by traditional conservatives, as the extreme. This has resulted in the creation of some new terms and the popularization of others, such as “birthers,” “anchor babies,” and “Blue Dog” Democrats—not to mention tea parties, tea bags, and the like.

A word that seems to be used more and more often is “tentherism,” the belief that the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution can be construed to greatly limit the powers of the federal government. The amendment reads as follows:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

As anti-government sentiment and right-wing extremism continue to grow, more and more people are beginning to ascribe extreme interpretations to some parts of the Constitution, including this one. Extreme “tenthers” interpret the Tenth Amendment in such a way as to essentially invalidate most, if not all, powers of the government that the document as a whole created.

This is one of issues at the root of all political discourse in this country: Are we Americans first? Or are we New Yorkers, Arizonans, Californians, or Floridians first? To what collective body do we most owe our allegiance?

1 comment:

Six said...

I know I have shared this before about the 10th... the big issue I have with it is that the people who tend to scream and try to hide behind the 10th are ones who want to use it to implement racist and bigoted laws with thier local government without the federal government giving them grief.

Those you refer to as being 'anti-government' that are holding up the 10th ammendment are in fact VERY PRO-government... they just want a government they control. They just want to trade one tyranical government they disapprove of and instead implement thier own tyranical government. Ask someone screaming about the 10th ammendment what they think about the government's role in marriage, a womans rights over her own body or hell - any persons right over thier own body, and you will usually find someone who is very much pro-government... pro a very intrusive, powerful and controlling government.