Don't Carry Me Back to Ole' Virginny

by Michael Sean Winters

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I confess that I always get a bit nervous when circumstances require that I cross the Potomac into the Commonwealth of Virginia. In part it is the horrendous traffic situation, which can only be fixed by raising taxes, something that is the kiss of political death in the conservative state. In 2008, when the Old Dominion went for Obama, I briefly toyed with the idea of reconsidering my prejudice. After all, there are many beautiful sights from Monticello to Williamsburg and many others. But, just when I was prepared to set aside my prior antipathy, the state goes and does something so stupid, I am confirmed in my Yankee bias.

Yesterday, the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia passed a law that would make it illegal to compel any of its citizens to buy health insurance. A mandate to purchase such insurance is at the heart of the current health care reform bill nearing enactment in Congress. According to the Washington Post, 24 other states are considering similar legislation.

You do not have to be particularly well informed to know that the power of any state to nullify a federal law has a history and that the question was resolved by the Civil War. This is the kind of ridiculous grandstanding that is an affront to that history. The lawmakers should be ashamed of themselves.

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