Diatribe: Are Governors Who Defy The White House Guilty Of Insubordination?
Holy cow, Election Day can’t get here fast enough for me. Watching the local news in the morning as I get ready to leave for the office is a part of my daily routine that often gets on my nerves because they tend to play the same commercials over and over but, this time of year, the commercials get particularly nasty. I’ve seen and heard advertisements lately from politicians who are smiling into the camera and pretty much lying to viewers about what they’ve said in the past, what a particular amendment to our state’s constitution might do or what their opponent actually represents.
It’s enough to make me wonder if today’s politicians studied from the same high school civics books that I used when I was in school … or if they understand how our government works at all.
The system of government established by the U.S. Constitution recognizes both state and federal government by giving them mutually exclusive powers as well as concurrent powers. In the first half of the nineteenth century, arguments over states’ rights arose in the context of slavery. In the 1950s racial segregation and the civil rights movements renewed the issues and today we find it front-and-center in the form of marriage equality.
Just this weekend, governors of several states, in response to criticism of the White House’s handling of the Ebola virus outbreak stepped in with their own policies, including mandatory quarantines of health care working returning from West Africa. These state policies are in complete disagreement with recommendations from the nation’s top health experts and could, ultimately, do more harm than good since they’ll keep health care workers from traveling to West Africa to fight the epidemic if they know they’ll face an automatic quarantine when they return home.
Yesterday, the White House pushed back against the quarantines imposed by New York, New Jersey and Illinois after President Obama called a meeting of public health and national security experts working on the crisis.
“We have let the governors of New York, New Jersey, and other states know that we have concerns with the unintended consequences of policies not grounded in science may have on efforts to combat Ebola at its source in West Africa.” – A senior Obama Administration Official in a statement.
When a politician takes action outside the norm during the weeks before a general election, like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have done with these quarantines, one can’t help but question their motivation.
The game of politics can be quite distasteful but, when the players begin taking matters into their own hands, the rules start to change. We all need to know the rules, not just at election time but during the months and years leading up to each election, so that we can make informed decisions about who choose to lead us. We mustn’t make our choices based on commercials we see during the morning news.
The people we choose could one day take matters into their own hands.
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