Well in a few hours our nation celebrates its Independence from the Tyranny of the British Royal Crown. A few years after the decision to cede from British rule and after a war, we finally settled on a Constitution (there was a loose confederacy of states before that but we ultimately chose a federal system of government)to govern us. This Constitution tried to embody as much of the Declaration of Independence as it could, however the original document was thought lacking by the Declaration's author Thomas Jefferson, so he persuaded his friend John Madison to lobby through an embodiment of the Rights of Man our American Bill of Rights.
Jefferson wanted to preserve the fervor and feelings of his Declaration of Independence which begins with a statement about the self evident nature of the rights of man (meaning God Given rights) but he was well aware that tyrannizing politicians could do away with these rights as the King did to the Colonialists. Jefferson, wary of a big federal government wanted to limit the abuses that could become our government if Monarchists ever obtained an upper hand in our government.
In a large sense however, the Monarchists may have won if the goal was a large centralized government and a federal presence in the decisions of our daily lives such that the states have little to say about how they run themselves and we as citizens have little access to our Representatives. Our leaders appear only on news shows and before reporters who will report their views their ways and will not ask hard questions. Both major parties favor large government when it suits them and states rights when it doesn't.
For example Republicans favor states rights on Abortion and Immigration policy because they can't seem to get control of the federal government long enough to shove their view down our throats.On the other hand, they want a federal standard if a state doesn't follow their lead on an issue. In other words "States who agree with us get rights the rest of you be damned."
Democrats want state government to decide issues such as gay rights and gambling because they can't get the votes to work these out to their constituency favor on a national level. They favor state rights to decided what a marriage is, but would not allow states to determine what a "life" is.
I don't care where you stand on the issues of Abortion, gay marriage, Internet poker or the like. I care that things are actually interpreted by our Constitution with a view toward the Jeffersonian approach to our government. I'd also like to see a sense of shame when a party acts hypocritically.
Here is how some of this would shake out under my view of the world. Interstate commerce and Immigration policy are national in scope as are issues of Defense. These areas are reserved for Federal control. The Internet is also a federal issue, why? Because it is EVERYWHERE!
Health, Sex, Gambling, all criminal activity except for terrorism, treason, bank/mail/and wire fraud are state issues. There is an exception to that and that is that the Fraud must not just use the wires or mail to be committed, but must be committed against citizens or corporations on a national scope. Hence just because someone in NY calls someone else in NY to commit a fraud on a NY corporation, that use of the phone would not make for a federal case just because the phone line routed the call through a national grid of phone lines etc.
In my world, elementary education would be left up to the states, civil rights are federal. Secondary education (High school and up would be a mixture of Federal and State control depending on the issue however as somethings (like law or science) are things that need to be shared nationally we do need some national standards.
The feds could set standards that each state need to meet in the area of dealing with the imprisoned or the poor, but it would be up to the states to implement the standards. Economic Policy is a shared item as well. National Parks need to be part of a 3 way discussion Fed, State and local governments need to participate together. OTOH, the feds need to stay out of our homes, our hotel rooms our bank accounts and anything else that concern us as individuals.
Anyway, I could go on, and I will, but I want to know what you think of this whole concept of Independence. What does it mean to you, not personally, but as it relates to how we as citizens obtain a government that will uphold our right to live and conduct ourselves in the freest of fashions.
Edited to add a couple of links and clean up some spelling errors.