Saturday, September 26, 2009

FEMA Has No Business in Georgia

The State of Georgia and, more specifically, the area around Atlanta have recently suffered from massive flooding. Sadly, the devastation is not limited to the flooded areas. The US Constitution is once again facing its own devastation as a matter of state government is willingly being subverted by the Feds.

Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports:

[FEMA] gets a nice boost from a conservative Republican senator:

[Saxby] Chambliss praised the Obama Administration for a response that was both “magnificent” and “quick.”

The one voice that was conspicuously absent: Gov. Sonny Perdue, who is in Panama, leading a state delegation to discuss the canal’s expansion, and its relationship with the port of Savannah. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle filled in for Perdue during Biden’s visit, and received a shout-out from the vice president.

It’s hard to criticize the federal government for untimely response in the face of a crisis, when the governor thinks things are well enough under control to leave the country.

Well please, if I may, let me find a way to criticize the federal government. I assure you the timeliness of its response will not be of my concern. Rather, I am concerned with the constitutional nature of the response.

Nowhere in the Constitution do we see the federal government given authority to respond as does FEMA to natural disasters (and yes they still had natural disasters and the problems associated with them when the Constitution was ratified).

The Tenth Amendment leaves this as a matter of the states, not the federal government. If government action is to be taken in the matter, it is by the states and the states alone.

No one in Tennessee should be forced to pay for disasters in Georgia. Likewise, we in TN should be responsible for our disasters, and so on and so forth. Local matters are best handled by local entities, and moreover, a “helping hand” should never come by way of force.

If FEMA had not stepped in to “help” the people of Georgia, surely there would be no help at all, right? Wrong. Private citizens, by their own conscience and by their own feeling of obligation to their fellow man, would have been there to better the situation.

I remember after Hurricane Katrina one of the very first things I did was seek out a way that I could help even as a college freshman. I soon found work separating donations of food, clothing, water, etc. and loading them to be taken down to LA. No one made us help and we didn’t need the government’s compulsion to take care of our fellow man. Likewise, living in Southern Middle Tennessee, I cannot tell you how many times my father and I have driven around with chainsaws in the back of the truck after tornadoes and storms the night before, helping complete strangers get back on their feet.

So I give no credence to any argument that the government is needed in these cases. I have only seen government get in the way, make things worse, merely expand its control over states, and force “charity” at the expense of the taxpayer in each of these cases.

But necessity is beside the point. If federal aid to disaster victims is needed, let us amend our Constitution. Until then, let us follow "the supreme law of the land" and know that our strength lies in our people not the state.

One a side note: If Jonathan Martin finds it hard to see how FEMA could be criticized, it is no surprise to me. It was with those same eyes he sees Saxby Chambliss as “a conservative Republican senator.”

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