What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
This weekend, I received the following email:
My name is Matthew Skanchy and I am the Area Captain over Utah County for Senator Hatch’s campaign. I called you recently, but I wasn’t able to reach you and I wanted to send you an email to provide you with my contact information.
I would love to hear about your opinion on re-electing Orrin. I would also be happy to try and answer any questions or concerns you might have regarding specific issues relating to your opinion of Senator Hatch.
I hope you have a great week.
Hatch Election Committee
This was my reply:
I must confess that your email suprised me. I assumed that I had long ago been stricken from Senator Hatch’s list of delegates to contact and court, as I am publicly and emphatically opposed to this re-election bid. I know most of the main staffers on this, his seventh campaign, and have been extremely open about my views in this regard.
Nevertheless, you said you “would love to hear about [my] opinion on re-electing Orrin.” If you knew me, you’d know that I never turn down a request to share my opinion, so here goes… nothing? I note that you go to BYU, so I assume you will not consider it inappropriate for me to toss in a few scriptural references as I proceed.
In D&C 98:10, we are commanded to support honest, good, and wise men. I have heard several stories about Senator Hatch which suggest he is a good man. (I have heard some stories about the opposite, too.) Likewise, I have heard mixed responses on the Senator’s honesty. But these are mostly personal characteristicts of which I have little concern as they relate to public policies.
So let’s focus on the “wise” aspect. For one who has, for over three and a half decades, been in a position of public trust and legislative authority, this personal characteristic has very public implications. For if a Senator is not wise, then he may be doing damage to the very principles and policies he claims to support.
Noah Webster, in his landmark 1828 dictionary, defined wisdom as “discriminating between what is true and what is false.” Thus, to be wise, one must be correct; only when founded upon truth can an individual claim the characteristic. But upon what metric are Senator Hatch’s actions to be judged in order to determine whether they are correct?
That metric is, of course, the U.S. Constitution — a document to which Senator Hatch has pledged his allegiance in having taken the oath of office six times now. He has committed to God his intent to support and defend it. Thus, if he has been wise, and correct, he would have reconciled each of his thousands of votes to that document; one cannot be a wise (correct) legislator while advocating policies that run afoul of the Constitution’s clear mandates.
This is especially important for a Latter-day Saint such as the Senator, who is told by God to “befriend that law which is the constitutional law of the land” (D&C 98:6). So my rhetorical question is: has the Senator been wise/correct and voted, for the past 35 years, in harmony with the Constitution for which he has pledged numerous oaths?
The answer to any impartial observer — meaning campaign staffers working towards his re-election don’t count — is a resolute, absolute NO.
Let’s look at a few of the many legislative initiatives Senator Hatch has supported which violate the Constitution:
- He co-sponsored a bill which included an individual mandate for health care.
- He voted for Medicare Part D.
- He voted for and sponsored SCHIP.
- He voted for TARP.
- He voted to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
- He voted for the automobile industry bailout.
- He voted to establish the Department of Education.
- He voted for farm subsidy programs.
- He voted to expand the role of the federal government in child care.
- He voted against denying federal funds to the NEA.
- He votes for undeclared wars, the PATRIOT Act, foreign aid, welfare programs, warrantless searches, AIDS programs, and a litany of other unconstitutional policies and programs.
These are some of the many anti-constitutional votes he has cast which are clearer in their opposition to the document he has sworn an oath to uphold. Numerous others exist which are important and likewise build a case to demonstrate Senator Hatch’s lack of wisdom.
It’s perhaps possible that you are unaware of these and related votes which betray the Senator’s claim to a conservative mantle, whatever the American Conservative Union may have to say on the matter. You may even be supportive of the above-listed votes, and likewise position yourself as a domestic enemy to the Constitution. Or perhaps as a student you were simply looking for resume-building opportunity and are excited to work on the Senator’s re-election campaign, hoping that it will help your own career. I don’t know.
But what I do know, Mr. Skanchy, is this:
Anybody who claims to support the Constitution, or defend individual liberty, or who sincerely wishes to limit the size and scope of the federal government, must deny to Orrin Hatch the opportunity of a seventh six-year term — that is, if they are to be consistent in the application of their alleged principles and priorities. Those who have repeatedly violated the Constitution should not be sent to Washington with another opportunity to swear an oath in its support.
It’s unwise for a woman to marry a serial adulterer and hope for any sort of fidelity. Similarly, it is unwise for a Constitution-supporting citizen to offer any sort of support to a candidate who, as a legislator, has so often cast votes in opposition to the document he has sworn on oath to uphold.
I hope that you, too, have a great week. Mine will be great, as you hoped for, as I will be taking advantage of several opportunities to educate delegates and concerned citizens throughout the state as to why Senator Hatch is no friend of the Constitution, how he has consistently proven himself unwise, and why he should be summarily denied re-election to the position he has held since 1976, before you or I were even alive.
Precinct Chair, LE18