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Civil War not over states’ rights, but another war may be

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
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Civil War not over states’ rights, but another war may be

Re the Jan. 16 reprint of an editorial, “States’ rights redux,” from the Post-Intelligencer of Paris, Tenn.: The essay begins with this question, “Didn’t we fight the Civil War over whether federal law prevails over states’ rights?” The author of that article presumes erroneously that we did, but that presumption is sheer nonsense based on a complete distortion of history!

The American Civil War was a fight to save the nation from breaking apart. In the mid-19th century, the country was expanding into the Western territories. New states were being created and added to the union. During this time, there was a growing recognition of the evils of slavery. Beginning in Massachusetts and spreading quickly, the movement to abolish slavery gained strength. With each passing day, more Yankees signed on. Unfortunately, the Constitution protected slavery where it already existed, so the anti-slavery advocates turned their attention to preventing the South from spreading the hateful institution into the newly forming states.

Southern politicians fought back, but they realized that they would ultimately lose the political battle to the larger, more populous North. Southern leaders decided to pull out of the union; they would create their own country. The rebels formally seceded from the United States, crying “states’ rights,” but their real goal was to perpetuate the plantation system upon which their slave hold aristocracy rested.

One only needs to examine the outcome of the Civil War to understand that it had nothing to [do] with states’ rights! The war ended when the North had accomplished its two objectives: the re-unification of the country and the abolition of slavery. To ensure the freedom and civil rights of the ex-slaves, the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments were added to the Constitution. There was no change made to the Constitution which elevated federal law over the rights of the states.

In fact, after the dreadful war, many northern congressional politicians wanted to punish the southern states. The congressmen were determined to treat the states as conquered territory. They intended to confiscate and redistribute the rebel property and deprive many souther citizens of their voting rights. Abraham Lincoln had to fight hard to prevent that. He insisted that upon resuming their place in the union, the southern states were entitled to exercise all the rights and receive all the protections guaranteed by the Constitution.

Years of tireless work of by the ultra-liberal elements of both political parties have brought our once-proud democratic republic to this state of lawlessness. Now the federal government is securely in the hands of progressive politicians (progressive is the American term for Marxists and socialists) who are constantly enlarging the scope of federal power at the expense of states’ rights and individual liberties.

The American Civil War did not decide that federal law trumps state law. In fact, the Constitution placed the preponderance of power in the hands of the states and its citizens, and that has never been legally changed. The shift in power from state to federal level has come about because of feckless American public has let it happen.

If the voters do not wake up soon to elect freedom-loving men and women of integrity who respect the Constitution, we might one day find ourselves in another civil conflict. This time the war would actually have to be fought, not only to reclaim the rights of the states, but also to take back our personal freedoms!

Pamela Terlaak-Poot

Broadalbin

Resist the easy high provided by marijuana

So much is written about mood-altering drugs and the consequences that occur during abuse and dependence on these substances, including the two most abused: alcohol and nicotine.

Currently, there is much debate over whether marijuana should be legalized, those in favor touting the benign effects of a drug that millions are already using and will always use. Although there is much to be said about the legitimate medical uses of marijuana, most who are in favor of legalization want it only for their own personal use and pleasure.

I thoroughly enjoy altering my moods on a daily basis, but will not ingest anything that affects my health, judgment and decision-making ability, and lessens my motivation. Mood-altering substances affect our brain chemistry, but then so does exercise, hiking in nature, listening to and making music (my favorite is singing for those who know me), accomplishing a task, volunteering, making a positive difference in another person’s life and being in love.

True and worthwhile mood altering takes effort, but the benefits of honestly interacting with others, learning a new skill, enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds us, is much more rewarding than merely and passively ingesting a substance to artificially change how we feel.

The last thing our society needs is more stoned and unmotivated individuals who are only interested in their own self-serving pleasure and nothing more — unwilling or unable to look beyond a hazy cloud of smoke.

Mark DiMartino

Scotia

Attack on global warming letter was unwarranted

Let me get this straight: Gerard Havasy, a man known to me for over two decades as a decent gentleman, expresses his sincerely held opinions regarding the controversy over human-caused global warming, in clear and cogent fashion [Jan. 16 letter], and he is dismissed by Mr. Louis Restifo as someone incapable of reading a thermometer [Jan. 20 letter]?

In his defense of whatever views he may hold, Mr. Restifo has decided Mr. Havasy should asphyxiate himself? What silliness!

Rob Dickson

Clifton Park

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