Con Games: America Null And Void

05/17/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A family fatality afforded us the chance to stumble upon the St. Patrick's Day Parade in downtown Denver--a wonderfully morbid coincidence for an Irish-American like me and the fatal party herself. I say stumble in part because everyone was sober in the a.m., which might explain why the powers that be start the festivities in the morning.

A wonderful thing happened on the way to the parade, a matter of pure happenstance. As we waited for admittance to Snooze, near Coors Field, people of all kinds started floating by wearing the green. No doubt one or two Irish-Americans or even plain Irish were in the mix, but the vast majority of those heading to the parade were variegated in the extreme, with a large percentage Hispanic.

Mexican-Americans wearing the green and celebrating St. Patty's Day? What a glorious sight up and down the avenue--Blake Street in this case--and a strong sign that the Union is still standing. We are, after all, Americans first, last, and always--or so we liberals like to think.

But there's some dark doings in the Republic these days. Texas textbooks want to eliminate the Enlightenment and Thomas Jefferson while they're at it. Tyranny and anarchy are jumbled up as if they are the very same thing. Guns and ammo have never sold better, with the vague notion that the holders of same may have to use the weapons against the federal government. The Tea Party seems to hate everybody. And there's the horrendous prospect of nullification, whereby states can just say no to the federal government if they don't happen to like a particular law of the land.

Lawmakers in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Utah say they get to make up their own laws and have the right to nullify any federal law they happen to deem unconstitutional. But Article 6 of the United States Constitution begs to differ:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

"The supreme law of the land" is a particularly righteous phrase, and one that might be expected to hold water even in the leaky boat of states rights. And note well, if you dare, that this authority emanates not just from the Constitution and from "the laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance of."

The intent of the Founding Fathers could not have been more clear, and Abraham Lincoln's fight for union first, union last, union always has a particularly prescient ring in 2010. Only a few hundred Tea Baggers showed up in Washington to protest health care Tuesday so maybe there is hope for the Enlightened. As somebody once said, a nation divided against itself cannot stand.