Gessler unfairly pilloried for vigilance
Since this week finds us in the throes of the Democratic National Convention, let’s start with a quote from one of President Obama’s relatives: “Selective enforcement of the law is the first sign of tyranny.” The speaker was Dr. Martin Wolf, Obama’s cousin, a radiologist and a staunch opponent of his health care law.
In this quote, however, Wolf highlighted one of the most troubling occurrences of our time. Having spoken to Wolf, I can say he recognizes the health care law for the disaster that it can become.
Equality before the law and uniformity in its application are each a side of the same coin. As interdependent concepts, they stand among the tallest tent poles of our republic, and seldom have I seen them more abused.
Enforcement of laws based upon rampant political favoritism or opportunism leads quickly to a society that has no respect for the rule of law and ultimately becomes lawless. Order may remain, because it becomes a product of force and coercion, but true law is a function of agreement and it can rapidly disappear.
What is the conclusion when you have a government that chooses not to enforce legally enacted statutes concerning the nation’s borders and instead opts to use its power to harass local law enforcement that does?
What of a Department of Justice (a title rapidly becoming less accurate) that will not prosecute men in paramilitary gear with clubs standing outside polling places but will challenge every attempt by states to impose reasonable identification to cast a vote?
This creates another great question: When did so many laws become so unequal to others? The answer is easy; political power resides in the selective enforcement of some laws and ignorance of others.
For that reason some officials are happy to require photographic ID to buy alcohol or cigarettes or board an airplane but somehow see it suppressive of a fundamental tenet of human character to produce the same to vote for candidates who determine the course of the most powerful nation on the planet.
Here in Colorado, Secretary of State Scott Gessler continues to take a beating for exploring the possibilities of voter fraud or even errors in the voter rolls. His attempts to verify questionable voters are determined to be “intimidating,” which in the context of our existing system of laws seems odd.
We allow law enforcement to set up sobriety checkpoints on the off chance that they might catch random intoxicated drivers. At these checkpoints an armed, uniformed law enforcement officer shines a light in drivers’ eyes and smells their breath, subjecting them to close observation. Based on that observation, the officer could conceivably arrest and transport them to jail.
Although many times such checkpoints turn up few or no intoxicated drivers, they are lauded for their preventive measures.
Some, however, pillory our secretary of state for attempting to explore if individuals who were not citizens and yet appeared on the voter rolls have now achieved citizenship and are allowed to enter the voting booth. Which encounter with government seems more intimidating? Why is one intrusion justified and the other appalling?
Consider this: An individual recently interviewed at the Democratic National Convention made the analogy of requiring photo identification for voting to sexual assault. Yet, when asked about having to show photo identification two or three times to get into the convention, she felt that was just fine, since it had to do with security.
The cognitive dissonance from holding two ideas so at odds with one another should be a bit more concerning to the holder.
The point of all this is that taking steps to make sure the voting laws are followed should be viewed in the same tenor as the police officer parked in a school zone to slow drivers. His presence is daunting to prevent speeding and protect children. In the same manner, a vigilant secretary of state is there to monitor the vote and protect the republic.
Rick Wagner writes more about politics at his blog, the War on Wrong.