The numbers are in: People want federalism.
People living in California don’t have the same needs or expectations of government as people living in Alabama. People living in New York City may want higher standards for gun ownership, while a farmer in Oklahoma feels it’s an unnecessary intrusion. Citizens in Maryland may want restaurants obligated to post the calorie count on the menu, while someone in North Dakota may just want to enjoy a doughnut without feeling guilty. When the federal government overreaches and forces one-size-fits-all government on the people, this is the result:
Today, just one in three has a favorable view of the federal government — the lowest level in 15 years, according to a Pew survey. The majority of Americans remain satisfied with their local and state governments — 61 percent and 52 percent, respectively — but only 33 percent feel likewise about the federal government.
In rare moments, such as the aftermath of 9/11, we rally together and are receptive of a common way forward:
In 2002, nearly double that figure, 64 percent viewed the federal government favorably, and Americans held their local and state governments in similar esteem, at 67 percent and 62 percent, respectively.
Otherwise, this country is made up of 300 million individuals, each with their own lives and interests. Certain things can only be handled at the national level, such as national security or a uniform system of weights and measures (i.e. the enumerated powers granted to the federal government by the Constitution). All other powers should be relegated to the states. Dissatisfaction is sure to follow when a change in presidential administration means everyone in the country is forced to live like Kentuckians for four years, then New Yorkers the next four, then Alaskans after that. A meat eating, NRA badge-carrying taxidermist may like his vegetarian, yoga-teacher neighbor, but neither one wants to be obligated by force of law to live like the other. States should have the same choice to coexist while still maintaining autonomy. Americans will pull together when we have to, but otherwise we just want the freedom to live our own lives as we see fit.