Visitors flock to Virginia's Old Town Alexandria for summer boat trips on the Potomac, festivals and parades, Christmas shopping and historic sites. The appealing mix of art galleries, antiques stores, cafes, restaurants and people-watching makes it a destination for world travelers and Washington-area residents.
Despite the best efforts of this administration to enshrine an all-powerful federal government of virtually unlimited reach (see Obamacare), our federal system still reserves significant authority and responsibilities to the several states. As James Madison noted, our Constitution is a federal, not a national, document. States continue to be laboratories for innovative approaches to problems such as health care, education, welfare and transportation.
We tend to equate America with democracy, but we don't often truly understand its historical meaning. We also say that America is a republic, again without much thought as to what that means. So, what do these terms mean? Which are we and does it really matter?
There seems to be one thing on which everyone can agree. From archconservative pundits to archliberal White House staffers responsible for Solicitor General Elena Kagan's confirmation to the Supreme Court, all agree that the test is whether she is in the "mainstream of current legal thought."
The Democrats are assaulting the very pillars of our democracy. As the debate on Obamacare reaches the long, painful end, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is confronting a political nightmare. She may not have the 216 votes necessary to pass the Senate's health care bill in the House.
Ever wonder why "provide for the common defence" appears right in the preamble of the U.S. Constitution, signed 222 years ago Thursday?
Sen. John McCain saluted the Constitution's checks and balances and repudiated multiple Bush-Cheney usurpations on May 15 in Columbus, Ohio. But whether the salute will prove more than a restricted railroad ticket good for this day and train only remains uncertain. McCain, nevertheless, deserves applause for spotlighting the greatest threat confronting the country: executive despotism facilitated by secret government.
Maryland Science Center