by Mike Pyatt
Haven’t we learned the bitter lesson of being too distracted by national politics, at the expense of taking our eye off local politicos? It may sound contrarian, and politically unglamorous, but the notion of “limited government” appeals more with each passing piece of legislation, whether it originates at the local, state or federal level. Staunch conservatives aren’t advocating for a cloistered life. Contrastingly, we’re inclined to speak out, stand up, and rarely avoid a worthy scrum. However, the State of Wyoming continues to look less like that which many generations recall-morally, fiscally, and politically. It’s evident that an “R” behind the politician’s name means very little. Unfortunately, unchecked, mischief, duplicity and rule violations occur in the GOP, at the state and county level, when leadership arrogantly pursues self-interest, over the citizens they pledge to represent.
Uinta County GOP Chairman, Karl Allred wrote a poignant, January 15, 2016, column, raising the question, “Is Wyoming A Conservative State?” He ably answered his question pointing out that Governor Mead, and Senate and House Leaders, Nicholas and Brown resemble Obama, Reed and Pelosi. He was kind not to label them the “Three Stooges of Wyoming GOP politics.” He noted their profligate spending habits, and their departure from conservative fiscal policies, and how, in the midst of state‘s eroding income, Mead’s staff has increased 155% since 2002, with his chief-of-staff remunerated at an exorbitant $175,000 annually-when the state employee median income is $57,000. Is that the “price” for loyalty? To cover their trail of wasteful spending, legislators talked about imposing an income tax for Wyoming, while winking at a burgeoning budget for the “Legislative Taj Mahal.”
Whenever states or the feds ignore the constitution, we watch the unraveling of sensible governing, and the removal of moral and sound fiscal edifices that stood for more than two centuries. Most are aware that the Constitution is a document of enumerated powers, and those powers it possessed were delegated to it by the states. The uniformed or willingly ignorant rebuff our continued reference to the Federalist Papers– brilliantly written essays by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. Madison‘s Federalist Papers No.45, written to the “People of the State of New York,” who documented this classic, out-in-the open formula for all to read, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.” Conversely, he continued, “Those which remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite.”
As did the framers, and those who sent representatives to the Second Continental Congress, resistant to the strong, abusive centralized government of Great Britain, many long for such salutary neglect from the death grip of over-reaching government. A recent maneuver by the DOJ and DOE, over “transgender rights” remind us of government gone awry. The appeal to concurrent powers, those that are held and independently exercised by both the federal and state government, such as taxation, and road building, have been obfuscated by the rapidly increasing encroachment of government.
The major role of state government was the preservation of life, liberty, and prosperity. A serious, honest and contemplative study of the Federalist Papers compels one to conclude minimally that the framers never contemplated that the federal courts, or any bureaucracy, would be deciding the liberty of citizens, yet alone create special status to select groups of people. There’s absolute clarity of this principle, limiting federal authority to only those matters given it in the Constitution. A disproportionate number of Americans are ignorant of enumerated powers, that has, and is constantly being contravened by a government that ignores the work and words of our framers.
To guard against federal abuse of power, the new federal government was carved into three co-equal branches-judicial, legislative, and executive. This was the residue of the prevailing Judeo-Christian world view, because of the biblical view of man’s fallen nature, which bends toward abusive power, James Madison penned in the Federalist Papers No.51, to prevent the concentration of power, “It may be a reflection of human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If all men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Metaphorically, he warned us the federal government was a “beast to be tamed.” In an era when rights are determined by political ardor or polls, the framers’ design of a representative government is nearly unrecognizable.
This downward spiral is fueled largely by judicial activism, rogue leaders, feckless legislators, and a sleeping electorate. A palate for raw power, at any government level, willfully ignoring constitutions, platforms, or rules, driven by personal ambition, deluded by impuissant impulses, still plague us. It isn’t misanthropy. One appreciates those who behave otherwise, abiding faithful. However ignoring recrudescent behavior only perpetuates it.
Reliable sources report a complaint has been lodged to the Wyoming State GOP Executive Committee, alleging Natrona County GOP Chair, Bonnie Foster, may have violated GOP rules by actively endorsing a candidate in a primary race. A copy of the Press Release, issued by Ball Advertising Group, announcing the candidacy of Pat Sweeney, for HD 58, was obtained. Sweeney’s opposing incumbent Tom Reeder. Does that violate a GOP rule prohibiting an official picking winners or losers in a primary? Foster was listed on the release, as the sole contact, under her official title, “Foster, Bonnie Chair, NC, GOP.” Will the complaint survive?” Or be ignored?
Madison was right-government is a “beast.” “Taming a beast” is dangerous work. Factually, it’s impossible to tame one. That’s why there’s no surcease to waging battle against over-reaching government, and self-serving politicos. It’s not for the faint-hearted. No shirking or cowering. Until heaven‘s our home-this world’s in a fallen state. Tribulation’s our companion. Our lot can be improved by remaining vigilant and undaunted, like Karl Allred and Gerald Gay, who intransigently sued the state for violating our constitution. Panegyric conservative activism. What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County, WY resident. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: Read Part Two, Still Unresolved In Natrona County