The concept of federalism is important to the functioning of our government. The autonomy of states is necessary in many situations and especially to prevent federal overreach. I will argue below, however, that the federal government must sometimes intervene. Although Hurricane Katrina and same-sex marriage are two totally different topics, they can be easily compared considering the term ‘federal protection.’
While there where multiple federal policy failures amplified in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, there were also many successes. Any time a natural disaster occurs, there must be a collective effort in recovery. This includes local, state, and federal governments as well as non-profit organizations and grassroots volunteers. After Hurricane Katrina, many individuals blamed FEMA for the chaotic evacuation scenes when in fact “FEMA and the federal government have no formal responsibility for for planning and conducting evaluations,” (Birkland & Waterman, 2008). Further, George Bush signed a nearly $52 billion aid bill incredibly soon after disaster struck, money that the state government simply would not have had without federal aid (“Bush signs,” 2005).
Many people agree that if there is one thing the federal government is responsible for, that is the protection of its citizens. There are many rights protected by the federal document we call the Constitution. When considering the LGBTQ+ community, one must understand that the right to marry should be a protection extended by the federal government. The ability of a couple to marry in one state only to have that marriage not recognized in another is preposterous. Some might argue that the majority of citizens in some states, especially those in the Bible Belt, do not agree with same-sex marriage so their state government should not have to permit it. What these people are failing to realize is another important concept: separation of church and state.
Birkland, T. & Waterman, Sarah. (2008, July 29). Is federalism the reason for policy failure in Hurricane Katrina? Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 38(4), 692-714. https://doi:10.1093/publius/pjn020
Bush signs $51.8 billion bill for hurricane relief. (2005, September 09). Retrieved April 05, 2021, from https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna9250306
REply with 150 words
In most situations, I do not agree with state governments being in control of many controversial topics that affect individuals. State governments, according to them, are more responsive to popular control, more sensitive to state issues and problems, and more understanding of the culture and values of the states population than are national governments. For these reasons, they argue, state governments are better able to address important problems and protect individual rights. When a topic widely affects many individuals over varying states is when I believe the federal government should have the overall say in resolving the matter. One state is not going to prioritize another state over themselves. Imagine if there was no federal government and states were in control of funding. Would the other states have been willing to give up some of their funding to help Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina? I do not believe they would, and this is why the federal government is essential. I believe in same-sex marriage even though I do not personally have that kind of relationship. I pride myself on having empathy and putting myself in someone elses shoes. I do not believe that 50 states can come together and make this decision alone without the federal governments interference. I understand that Congress is essentially a mini version of this, but it is with a smaller number of representatives/senators per state. I think we all agree and disapprove of Congresss lack of timeliness when passing bills.
reply with 125 words.