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by Andrew Nappi, Florida Tenth Amendment Center 

The following is based off a speech given at Nullify Now! Orlando on 10-10-10

Isn’t it incredible that, despite all the historical evidence to the contrary, that anyone can still believe that the founders would’ve fought a long, cruel, bloody war just to exchange one central, overpowering government for another? And yet, these guys sitting on the courts want to define the limits of our freedom for the extension of greater government control. That is not the founders’ legacy. That’s not why we’re here today.

For these out of touch elitists, the Bill of Rights is just a historical curiosity – it’s quaint and doesn’t mean anything. But we know that the Bill of Rights is the very essence of state sovereignty. That’s why it was created, and that wasn’t lost on the founders.

In fact, at the North Carolina ratifying convention Samuel Spencer said, “It appears to me that the state governments are not sufficiently secured and that they may be swallowed up by the great mass of powers given to congress.” Was that prophetic? Just look what we have today…

Oliver Ellsworth from Connecticut said, “The United States are sovereign on their side of the line of divided jurisdictions, the states on the other. Each ought to have the power to defend their respective jurisdictions.”

Another of our Yankee brethren, Mr Williams says “Are not the terms common defense and general welfare indefinite and undefinable terms? What checks have the state governments against such encroachments?” And that’s the questions we’re facing again today – what checks do the states have against such encroachments? The encroachments are out there, and they’re in our face every day. From Real ID to national health care and everything in between.

Clearly, the 10th Amendment was never intended to be a throwaway or a quaint relic. Its necessity in creation was brought about by clear and deliberate decision – by people who stingily delegated their sovereign authority to this limited powers agent they were creating. In our work here today, we’re dedicated to the repeal or nullification of all unconstitutional legislation that has been illegally imposed upon us by the general government.

All of us need to work together so we can implement simple steps of diligence. These should include, but not be limited to the promotion of state sovereignty legislation, including the nullification of unlawful general government acts. And when we talk about legislation to push back, we need to go further than just saying that we won’t participate. We need to say, “when you send your federal agents here to try and overturn sovereign state law, our constitutional sheriffs are going to put them in jail – and you can come pay their fine to get ‘em out!”

At the end of the revolution, the states were 13 free and independent countries. They created a limited powers government to handle things they felt could be better done at a central location. But never in anything I can read was there a desire to be anything but free and independent states. We’re members of a voluntary compact – not slaves to a federal leviathan.

In our states today, both sovereignty and solvency are in peril. Sovereignty’s betrayal for solvency’s temporary relief is always on the table between D.C. and our state capitols. It’s you and me, and the rest of us that have to be the obstacle to that short sale of freedom. If we don’t do it, who will? If not today, when?

Using fair but firm insistence and pressure, we must remind our states of the 10th Amendment decision we require of them. For every unlawful general government imposition, a home country interposition – we are not going to be slaves to illegal legislation. It is up to us to remind our states of Madison’s warning that encroachments by the central government must “excite the legislatures to watchfulness and impose upon them the strongest obligation and that is to preserve unimpaired the line of partition.” That line is blurred, and hardly exists anymore.

So today, let’s make up our minds – no longer are we going to accept grassroots buzzwords from politicians in place of results. Starting today, let us be real clear to those politicians – we will no longer accept general government theft of our liberties. No longer will we stand by idly while our pockets are picked by political parties to fund the perpetual welfare-warfare state. No longer will we tolerate a vast nationalist state that has become aggressive abroad and despotic at home, and has decided that the limits of its own power is no limit at all.

Here today, we’re contemporary tenthers – we stand in the shadow of those original tenthers like Richard Henry Lee, George Mason, Elbridge Gerry, James Monroe and Thomas Jefferson – and we stand in good company. If they were here, would they ask us, “what have you done with your inheritance?” It’s up to us today to answer that by humbly accepting that responsibility to restore sovereignty, restore the founders’ federalism, and above all, to be free once again.

Andrew Nappi [send him email] is the State Chapter Coordinator for the Florida Tenth Amendment Center.

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