It’s ok to ignore federal law, more evidence of our division

For a country that claims to be established on, and believes in the ‘rule of law, not of men,‘ it sure seems like more and more laws are simply being ignored by our citizens and law enforcement.

The latest federal law that seems to be immediately placed on the do not enforce list is raising the age to purchase cigarettes and tobacco products to 21 years. Many states, including Wyoming, allow 18 year olds to buy those products and law enforcement officials here have already said they will not be enforcing the new federal law until, if and when, the state passes a matching statute. 

It’s not just federal laws either. Currently in Virginia, some Sheriffs are already saying they will not enforce proposed state gun control measures if they become law. Indeed, thousands turned out for a pro-second amendment rally at the state capital last Monday urging the defeat of the proposal. 

For years some immigration laws have been ignored, and when the current administration started enforcing them, some Americans loudly cried foul. There are many outdated and antiquated statutes on the books at all levels of government. Enforcement of laws prohibiting things like spitting on the sidewalk  have long been ignored. But more and more laws related to big, controversial social issues are being tested.

Legalization of marijuana in many states has led to law enforcement in those areas turning a blind eye to federal marijuana regulations. Even federal abortion laws are being made moot by proposed and enacted state laws that are either more restrictive, or less restrictive, depending on the state.

The most visible example of how divided we are in this country is the election, impeachment and senate trial of our president. But the more stealthy instances reflecting our division are these individual state laws and proposals that are poles apart. The level of enforcement, or lack thereof, also shows how unalike Americans think and act in dissimilar parts of the country. 

Yes, we are all, for the most part, good Americans. But we seem to be drifting farther and farther apart on social issues, to the point that these issues may be overtaking the more bread and butter issues in determining elections.

All of this will lead to more lengthy court challenges churning as a barometer of our social mores. This November’s presidential election will determine the overall direction of our country, but the incubation of new and different ideas will continue as laws are proposed and passed, or defeated in individual states. Let’s hope our national elected leaders will make the best decisions in either bringing the good  concepts to the country as a whole, or defeating the bad ones. Of course the good and bad will continue to be a subjective evaluation for all of us. That’s why elections have consequences.