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Veteran Advisor

Missouri Shows 'Em

Power: Show Me State voters overwhelmingly rejected the federal mandate to buy health insurance. Those who ignored the consent of the governed to pass ObamaCare take heed: The governed no longer consent.

It is fitting that Missouri was the first state to hold a public referendum on ObamaCare, sending the notion that government can shred the Constitution to impose its will to a crushing defeat with three-quarters of the voters approving Proposition C. The measure would forbid the federal government from penalizing people who do not buy health insurance.

A year ago, on Aug. 6, 2009, Kenneth Gladney, an African-American vendor, was beaten by thugs wearing the purple shirts of the Service Employees International Union outside a town hall forum called by Rep. Mel Carnahan, D-Mo., at a school in Mehlville, Mo.

It was a summer of tea parties and growing town hall protests of administration plans to nationalize health care. Gladney thought he could make a few bucks selling flags saying "Don't Tread On Me" — a flag from America's war of independence that has become the flag of the Tea Party movement.

Back then, they were called an "angry mob." Well, it turns out the angry mob can vote, and they don't like to be trod upon by leaders who dismiss their wishes, vote on bills they don't read and then expect gratitude for adding unconscionable debt and regulation on us and our heirs.

Some will dismiss the referendum as irrelevant and something the courts will sweep aside. But on Monday a federal judge allowed Virginia's suit against ObamaCare on constitutional grounds to proceed. Some 20 other states have made a similar legal challenge. And politicians should note that voter anger is not dissipating but forming into a perfect political storm set to come ashore in November.

Missouri was the first of four states to seek to opt out of the insurance purchase mandate portion of the health care law that had been pushed by Obama. Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma hold similar votes during midterm elections in November.

Jane Cunningham, a state senator from St. Louis County, the driving force behind Missouri's Health Care Freedom Act, notes that initiatives both political and legal against ObamaCare are under way in 42 states. "We feel in Missouri like we are fighting for citizens all around the country that feel like we must draw a line in the sand between what are state and individual rights, and what are federal rights and responsibilities," she said.

"To us, it (Proposition C) symbolized everything," added Annette Read, a Tea Party participant from suburban St. Louis who quit her online retail job to lead a yearlong campaign for the Missouri ballot measure. "The entire frustration in the country ... how our government has misspent, how they haven't listened to the people; this measure in general encompassed all of that."

Theirs is a Constitution of limited powers and limited government, the one envisioned by Thomas Jefferson when he said the best government is that which governs least. The states, as sovereign entities, granted express and limited powers to the federal government by way of the United States Constitution, not the other way around. From Virginia to Missouri, the battle has been joined.

This is not about health care. It's about government power vs. individual liberty. It is about defending the Constitution and the 10th Amendment. The people know that a government that can force them to buy health insurance can force them to do anything. As Missouri shows, the people trying to force them are in trouble in November.