"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited
by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
~10th Amendment, United States Constitution~
Those who often like to champion the idea that the United States government has overstepped its constitutional bounds and usurped powers from the States and/or the people will typically include the ideals expressed by the 10th Amendment as a significant component within their argument. I, personally, often agree that there a many roles that the centralized government has taken on which are not clearly articulated, nor even legitimately hinted at, within the main body of the Constitution which, according to the 10th Amendment, should rightly be exercised by the States (or local) governments or by the people themselves external of government structures.
The 10th Amendment, however, should not be solely used to defend a State's perspective that the central government has taken away its power. The 10th Amendment should also be a primary place for a State to look as a guide to its responsibilities. When you look through the Constitution's seven articles you will see many powers that are explicitly delegated to the central government, as well as some clearly denied to it. But you should also notice that there are a whole host of topics/powers which are not addressed, either because the framers couldn't agree what to say about the topic, the topic was so overwhelmingly clear that the central government should not have that specific power, or the power revolves around a topic that was not yet an issue (i.e. telegraphs, telephones, radio, televisions, internet, mobile phones, wifi, etc., hadn't yet been invited). The important thing to note is that, due to the 10th Amendment, if a power, function, or role of government isn't given to the central government then that power, function, or role becomes the responsibility of the States.
Let that sink in...it's not simply that it's a right to be demanded by the State, but it is a responsibility, an obligation, a duty that the State actually use and fulfill that power, function, or role.
To me, the two most imperative aspects of these 10th Amendment powers, functions, roles that are reserved for the States...and thus, obligatory for the States to fulfill...are public safety and education. Only once those two functions are satisfied can we then worry about other roles.
Public safety includes police, fire, and other emergency health related services. It also includes safe and high-quality roads, bridges, and other forms of imperative infrastructure. The people have a reasonable expectation that such services are provided by their State and/or local government.
Further, the people have a reasonable expectation that the State and/or local government should work to provide an educated population. This isn't simply for my personal benefit or for the personal benefit of my children (of which I personally have none). This is for the collective benefit of the whole of society. Think of all of the goods and services that are provided within our State's economy. Think of the public safety measures noted above (emergency and infrastructure). Think about the cashier at your local convenience store, the pilot of your airplane, the doctor providing your open heart surgery, or the plumber repairing your busted pipes. Think of these and so many more. Can you honestly imagine ANY of these individuals being able to serve the needs of society without having obtained ANY form of basic education? If you said yes, then I'll call you a liar.
An educated population is the cornerstone for our democratic-republic and economic institutions. Without an educated population the whole of society fails. This is why we pay tax dollars to fund an extensive public education service. We don't pay the taxes to simply benefit our personal children or grandchildren. We pay them to help guarantee a basic education is provided for the society as a whole.
Because education is NOT delegated as a power to the central government, the 10th Amendment makes the providing of such educational services obligatory on the States. It is one of the chief responsibilities of the States to make sure that such is provided and properly funded.
Any politician who claims to be a champion of the 10th Amendment when he or she is trying to prevent the central government from taking some action loses all credibility if, in the same breath, he or she seeks to take action to limit, restrict, or destroy the State's obligation to provide a basic quality education to its people. It is imperative that elected leaders are held accountable regarding whether or not they fulfill the State's end of the 10th Amendment obligations.
It is my hope that all Oklahomans reflect upon the necessity of making sure that our educational system is able to provide an educated citizenry for the future of our state. It is imperative that our leaders' love of the 10th Amendment is expressed through their zealous defense of the future of #oklaed.