Rep. Chris Stewart says federalism will cure what ails America

Aug 3, 2022, 12:13 PM
Rep. Chris stewart is pictured...
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah speaks at an election night event for Republican candidates in at the Utah Association of Realtors building in Sandy on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (Spenser Heaps/Deseret News)
(Spenser Heaps/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Chris Stewart began his remarks to the Sutherland Institute as part of its Congressional Series on Tuesday by quoting Abraham Lincoln.

“If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

Stewart went on to say that, in his opinion, our nation will not be destroyed by Chinese planes or Russian bombs — but by national suicide. It’s a process he believes has already begun.

“There are two things that are essential to the survival of a nation or government,” Stewart said.

He told a story about going to Moscow and being under stifling surveillance while he was there. On the way back, he said a reporter asked him to pinpoint the greatest threat to America and he replied, “No one knows what is true anymore. ”

So, Stewart believes that the first essential aspect leading to the survival of our nation is that the public needs to know what’s real.

The second thing, he said, is that “people have to believe that elections are free and fair, or you have lost the other pillar for society to survive.”

Stewart: “January 6 was distressing but not an insurrection”

Stewart used the speech to The Sutherland Institute to talk about Jan. 6, 2021. “It’s very distressing,” he said.

And he is concerned about the language used to describe the day that protestors pushed their way past guards into the nation’s Capitol Building. The word “insurrection” to describe what took place at the Capitol that day is “nonsense” and “overly dramatic”.

The Select Committee to Investigate Jan. 6, 2021, has detailed their findings regarding fake electors, weapons in the crowd and a genuine fear for their lives on the part of Secret Service agents assigned to protect then-Vice President Mike Pence.

The congressman went on to address a number of issues that he is concerned with right now. He says he originally ran for Congress because of excessive federal spending, and this is still very much a problem. He talked about inflation, that if we measured it the way we did in the 1970s and ’80s, it’s between 15 and 18%.

Stewart discussed the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, and how it makes him worry about where we are as a nation.

The U.S. finished its withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021. In a 2021 speech made in April before the withdrawal was complete, President Joe Biden said the U.S.’s original mission to “ensure Afghanistan would not be used as a base from which to attack our homeland again” had been achieved, and remaining in Afghanistan did not make sense. 

“Shame on General Milley for not resigning rather than be a party to that,” Stewart said about the withdrawal.

He did not mention the drone strike that took out the leader of Al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, that took place in Kabul, Afghanistan early Sunday morning and was announced yesterday.

The congressman discussed the breakdown in faith in our institutions, not just in Congress and the president, but in religion, the Supreme Court, and the media.  A friend told him that “the Bill of Rights would never get passed in a modern-day Congress.”

“We’re not headed for a civil war”

“So, where does it end? People talk about a civil war. I don’t worry about a civil war,” Stewart reminded us of the uprising in Hong Kong four years ago. “One weekend there were protests with more three million people in the streets, three million people out of a nation of six million.”

Then the pandemic came, and China took Hong Kong on a weekend. Nobody paid attention. Why? We were so absorbed in our own problem.

The congressman commented on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan today. “There is not going to be a war tomorrow because Nancy Pelosi is in Taiwan today, but China will invade someday. They won’t be provoked into it.”

The answer is federalism

What is the answer to these ills? To the breakdown in our trust, overspending, loss of faith in institutions and elections? How do we protect ourselves from our adversaries taking advantage of our weakness?

“We have to go back to the principles that our founding fathers intended and the idea of federalism. We have to go back to the idea of letting the states decide,” Stewart said.

This is the “pressure relief valve.” The Supreme Court didn’t outlaw abortion or say it was protected by law, they said “Let the states decide.” Federalism is not a red or blue state issue. Abortion is an example of red state federalism. Sanctuary cities and marijuana laws are examples of blue state federalism.

“If people don’t like the way their state is doing it, they can move to another state,” Stewart said. “That is one of the great things about this nation. We can move to a place where our morals and values align.”

Related: Owens, Stewart among several lawmakers who support Securing Our Students Act

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Rep. Chris Stewart says federalism will cure what ails America