The Fourth of July is supposed to be a day set aside to celebrate, and remember, the signing of the Declaration of Independence. What we seem to have instead is a holiday set aside for entertainment, with nary a mention nor a reading of the document it's all about.
Just 10 days ago, my Congressman, Chris Cannon, was defeated in the Republican primary by a challenger, Jason Chaffetz, who doesn't even live in the district, but who, like Barack Obama, is young, good looking, articulate, entertaining and .promises "change. " Fewer than 10% of the registered voters bothered to even vote.
I thought of the Iraqis. In 2005 sixty-three percent of the Iraqi eligible voters voted on their new constitution, even though they were threatened with being beheaded if they went to the polls by the Sunni opponents of the Constitution. Chris Cannon, one of the most conservative members of Congress, according to his opposition is not sufficiently "conservative." They want "change." Yet Cannon recently introduced a bill, HR 6211, that I believe is one of the most significant "changes" that could take place in the USA right now. It would restore the Constitutional authority of the President to do what presidents have done from George Washington to Jimmy Carter - make executive decisions about America 's national resources.
Specifically, Cannon's bill would allow the president, rather than an army of bureaucrats, to make the decision required to immediately begin extracting oil from shale in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. Oil in that shale represents a larger oil supply than exists in Saudi Arabia . The technology is already in use to extract the oil and Utah has existing refineries that could be used to get $30 a barrel oil on the market in less than one year. Cannon's goal is to quickly bring back $1.00 per gallon gasoline.
Why on earth would voters dump a Congressman with that kind of leadership ability and vision? Are voters in the 3rd Congressional District in Utah opposed to saving the Constitution? Or. do they just not know or care what their Congressman has been doing? Until Jimmy Carter asked Congress to put bureaucrats in control of our natural resources, it was the president that had the authority to manage our National resources. Between 1904 and 1908, President Teddy Roosevelt created a number of national parks and forests. He also, with the help of Congress, began the federal construction of dams for water supplies and for electric power. In the 1930s his cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked Congress for, and got, the National Recovery Act (NRA) which created the Tennessee Valley Authority, and more dams. Those dams made it possible for desert areas like Utah to have the water needed to grow and flourish. Today the law that began as the NRA provides scholarships which develop our human resources.
Cannon has served twelve years in the House of Representatives, became a leader during the Clinton administration and is the Chairman of the Western Caucus, leading the effort to end the drain of US dollars to terrorist nations for purchase of their oil. Yet, he has faced primary challenges repeatedly by Republican opponents who have consistently and inaccurately characterized his efforts to reform our broken immigration laws as allowing "amnesty" for aliens. Specifically they have claimed that it is "amnesty" to allow the children of illegal aliens that entered the US as children to attend State colleges and be allowed a means of becoming citizens. His opponents want to punish the children for their parents' misdemeanors and crimes.
When the majority no longer care enough to come out and vote for their leaders, it is very easy for a well organized minority to gain control. Many precincts, which contain hundreds of voters in Utah, have such a poor turn-out for the caucus meetings that often fewer than 10 people show up out of hundreds of voters. Five or six voters quietly organizing to go to the caucus meeting can become the delegate at the county and state convention that chooses the next Congressman, or governor.
So, what does any of that have to do with the day we celebrate Independence? We no longer read or recite the Declaration of Independence as part of our celebration for the 4th of July. Instead, the 4th has become just another day for entertainment. It is frankly appalling to me that the people in my Congressional district in Utah care so little about the liberty they inherited because others were willing to die for right to vote.
In case you have never read the Declaration, one of the accusations against King George III that Jefferson listed was that the king refused to pass laws "for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only." Obviously, 90% of District III Utah voters no longer consider their right to vote to be an "inestimable right" feared by tyrants.