EDITOR’S NOTE: Dallas Hyland is a developing columnist for St. George News and blogs as The Amateur Broad Thinker. The opinions stated in this article are solely his own and not those of St. George News.
I see a bumper sticker now and again that reads: “If you are not concerned, you are not paying attention.”
Those of us who are concerned are either embedded in an ideological battle that pits us against one another thwarting any effort of the solidarity of purpose needed to really effect any meaningful change, or we are distracted to the point of absurdity with things that seem to matter now but in the long term mean so much less than they do in the moment.
Like what you ask?
Like the systematic dismantling of our civil liberties right before our very eyes. Take a good look around folks and tell me if this is honestly the America rich with freedom and liberty you learned about in school. And more to the point, lower the rose-colored glasses for a second and peer into the future. Is it getting better or worse?
Last week Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, held a town hall meeting in St. George. He spoke frankly and fielded questions from a packed house. Someone asked me what I thought of Lee and I gave a vague answer saying he is definitely a good Republican.
I give credit where it is due and Senator Lee made a statement that bordered on cliché in its simple truth, yet it was acutely profound in that it seems to be something we the people have forgotten.
He said, “The only thing that will bind one congress to the next is a constitutional amendment.”
Taking the context of the conversation to infer the amendments that insure our liberties, (this is to say that, by virtue of the fact that our government is a body of elected representatives, and is in an ever-constant state of change), are the only thing that keep it all in check, i.e. laws.
But we are reaching a tipping point. A point where the very Constitution our nation was founded upon is being altered to a scarce image of what it once was.
Want an example? Look up pre-trial probation in Utah. Right here, right now, the Federal Probationary Court under judicial direction can place someone charged with an offense on probation before trial and conviction. You can thank that stinking piece of wipe called the Patriot Act for that. This negates at the outset any notion of the presumption of innocence – period.
Ben Franklin said: “We have given you a republic. What remains to be seen is if you can keep it.”
He was not talking to the government. He was talking to us, the people.
The laws the founding fathers of this grand experiment in liberty created placed the responsibility of maintaining the republic in the hands of you and me, the people.
And I say we are failing miserably in our duties.
You see, for all our bemoaning and decrying the magnitude of our woes and how it is the fault of one side or the other, we have become almost irrelevant in the political process. We hardly participate on any meaningful level.
Last week, I published an article about our city council engaging in what could be questionable behavior with the use of our money. I read the replies both for and against the questions I posed, and then I attended the city’s quarterly meeting where the mayor and the City Council allow citizens to voice their concerns about anything in an open forum.
Three people showed up. Three! And not one asked about the carousel. If you can’t say “amen” you better say “ouch,” people, because I guarantee you that after that article last week, the City Council was prepared to answer questions.
One of the issues brought before them was of grave consequence. Apparently an ice cream truck is too loud for the liking of a citizen in town and that citizen made a case about it that bordered on a circus act. I thought for sure they would toss him out for what I perceived to be rather antagonistic behavior, but the mayor and his staff handled it with an air of dignity and class that leads me to think they will listen if we show up.
Our government does what it is told. It is just that; at present, it is corporations telling them what to do more so than people. And sadly, even our First Amendment-protected press allows advertisers to dictate what they say. If this does not change, nothing will improve – period.
Get in the fight.
See you out there.
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