Federalism should be the cure for what ails us. I really believe we are where we are at as a nation because the federal government has become so strong. So many people are now dependent on the federal government instead of their families, churches, and local communities. As birth rates decline, that will become a bigger issue as societal priorities shift from focusing on families to focusing on single people without a familial safety net. Every hill becomes a hill to die on when there is one government to rule them all.
Unfortunately, our constitutional framework was not designed for a nation dependent on the federal government for their health care, domestic safety, access to education, etc. The founders intended us to adhere to a federalism model that, through court decree hiding behind the 14th amendment, no longer really exists.
In practice, people of like mind should be able to build communities of interest and you should be able to move to or away from those communities. There should be communities where it is not an issue for transgender people to go to the bathroom of their choice and there should also be communities where people can say no to that. There should be communities where people can have state subsidized gay weddings if they want and states where the baker and florist will not lose their home and business for opting out. In short, people should be able to build communities and states of shared interests and if you don’t like it you should be able to move.
Instead, what we have is a nation where a small but vocal minority can impose its will on the majority across all fifty states and more and more people are beholden to Washington for their livelihood. None of us are allowed to have communities of interest or states of individual character.
We should be able to have diverse communities and states again. It would solve a lot of our cultural and political problems. Rehabilitating the states as agents of experimentation and letting them rebuild local communities as the primary sources of safety net instead of Washington dependence would be an improvement for everyone. If California wants government funded healthcare and Texas does not, they should be able to do that instead of one side demanding Washington do it all and the other fighting against it.
The problem with the federalism argument in this day and age is that it will not work as well as I and others would like. What will happen is economic boycott. Instead of respecting the different values among regions of the country, an activist left will demand everyone embrace their values or be punished. That will continue to build resentment. Big business is not the friend of conservatives or Christians and will gladly pull out of a state that fails to go full social liberal under the threat of boycott.
The bottom line is simple — unless both sides are willing to respect regional and cultural differences and let each do as they will without fear of retribution or boycott, the situation is only going to get worse. So, naturally, this situation will get worse as long as tolerance continues to be a one way street.