News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
When in doubt, just keep stalling
Mar 3, 2014 - By Randy Tucker
That's clearly the plan in Cheyenne over the Wyoming Supreme Court's ruling striking down SF104.
Horace Greeley is best known for his quote, "Go west young man" (although he borrowed it from someone else). The 19th century editor and publisher is an enigma to modern politics. Greeley was a founder of the "Liberal Republican Party." That's right, liberal republican party, as in the party of Bush, Reagan, Nixon and, originally, Abraham Lincoln.
But times change, and so does politics. Among the original platforms of the GOP were a call for vegetarianism, a socialist agenda and, most famously, the abolition of slavery.
One of Greeley's lesser-known quotes fits succinctly into a similar statement made by a man considered by many as another enigma.
Benjamin Franklin was hard to pin down politically, and his sarcastic view of the body politic made him a hero in his day and an enduring one even into our own times.
"No man's life, liberty or fortune is safe while our legislature is in session," Franklin once commented about his 18th century Pennsylvania government.
Franklin's distaste for the greed and disreputable nature of early American legislatures is one that is shared by most of us, but Greeley's quote was much more direct.
"The darkest hour in any man's life is when he sits down to plan how to get money without earning it," Greeley said.
Is it possible that both of these men have transcended time and traveled to Cheyenne recently to observe several key players in the Wyoming legislature?
Their sentiments are separated by 150 years in Greeley's case and nearly 250 with Franklin, but they are eerily accurate when thinking of what now often appears to drive the Wyoming House and Senate.
It's now been more than a month since the Wyoming Supreme Court reversed the illegal Senate File 104 that usurped the voting rights of Wyoming citizens.
While it took these masters of the universe just 36 hours to remove the standing, elected state superintendent, we're still waiting for her return following the court ruling.
They claim just don't know what to do with the court's decision. That's an easy one. They don't have to do anything. Just go back to what the constitution said before the good ol' boys and their minions attempted to overthrow the government, and move on.
But that solution is too easy and much too obvious. They could let the system work, follow the rule of law as interpreted by the court, lick their wounds, and hope the voters don't remember in a few months. Don't count on it.
Instead they'll form a "supercommittee" to study the feasibility of a possible move in the near future that could or could not result in yet another study on the feasibility of a possible future... you get the message. It is Orwellian double-speak at its best. At worst it's a total disregard for the rule of law they all swore to uphold.
One thing is abundantly clear. Gov. Mead, Speaker Lubnau, Sen. Coe, Rep. Teeters and all the others who had their hands slapped by the court just won't accept the decision. Instead, they will go into a full-court stall until the primary elections are over in August. (Superintendent Cindy Hill is running for governor in that primary, remember.)
Imagine if we followed the lead of our elected leaders, (or ringleaders, depending on your viewpoint) and responded to legal decisions in our own lives the same way.
Want more land? Just move your fence a few feet, a few yards, or maybe a few miles, and claim your neighbor's property as your own. If he files suit and wins, just ignore the decision. Tell everyone you don't know what it really means and build your subdivision or plant your crops on your newfound wealth while you demand a "rehearing" of the case and form a supercommittee to study the issue.
Don't like to pay property taxes? Then don't. Claim you just don't understand what the county is trying to tell you. It needs more research, and you need more personal guidance on how to handle the situation. You're not stalling. You just don't understand.
How ridiculous do these situations sound, and how quickly would someone call the county sheriff to force you to comply with the court decision?
Most of these guys in Cheyenne are practicing attorneys, so it makes you wonder how successful their private practices are if they can't understand the simple language in the court's reversal of SF 104.
The governor was a federal prosecutor, and yet he can't comprehend the court's basic language? It baffles the mind. Coe and Teeters face other challenges with organized citizen groups calling publicly for their recall in Park and Goshen counties.
It is fascinating that from one side of their mouths the good ol' boys decry "activist courts" that have no elected power to institute change while calling for the Supreme Court to make a clear mandate for them to follow.
Which is it, boys? You can try to have it both ways, but it doesn't work. We're all watching, and the voters are waiting patiently to show you how much they appreciate the interest you've clearly shown in protecting their right to vote.
Editor's note: Staff writer Randy Tucker is a retired educator.