Hatch has served long enough

Friday , March 30, 2012 - 1:00 PM

Marc Cooper

I attended my caucus on March 15. The action of the majority of my precinct was to choose and support state delegates that strongly support Senator Hatch and Congressman Bishop. Two of the three delegates, one of them a Hatch employee, made it very clear that they have met Senator Hatch face to face and said repeatedly that they know "he is a good man." I was disappointed. I arrived at the caucus with the hope that the delegates representing our precinct would be open-minded to all the candidates.

I am confident that there will be those who accuse me of oversimplifying this issue. Undoubtedly there will be no shortage of people who disagree with me. However I have a very hard time overlooking Senator Hatch's record, especially in the last decade-plus, simply because "he is a good man." I recognize the value of his seniority. I am not in any way supportive of Hill Air Force Base being closed. I also recognize that Senator Hatch has served Utah for many years and that during that time he has done many good things. As one who opposes Senator Hatch's re-election, it may surprise you to hear me say that in his 36 years of service he has done a lot more good than bad.

However, based on the facts and the overall state of the nation on many issues, Senator Hatch has lost my support. A candidate needs to earn and perhaps more importantly, maintain public support through words and actions. Choices and actions have consequences. The nation is in the current condition because our elected leaders, including Senator Hatch, have been in power and made decisions that brought us to this point. Some of Senator Hatch's choices indicate that he has become part of the problem. It seems to me that he has become what he originally campaigned against in 1976. Even good men can lose their way. Even good men can lose touch. Unfortunately, power affects and corrupts people, especially when they have been in power for longer periods of time. The LDS leader Joseph Smith said, w have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all human beings, that when they get some authority, especially for longer periods of time, they eventually begin to rule and reign wrongfully and unjustly to varying degrees.

History is replete with examples of this both ancient and modern. King Saul was a good man that was in power for a long time. He made some very questionable decisions at the end of his tenure. The same can be said for King David and King Solomon. Are we destined to repeat history? Wouldn't it be better to learn from history and avoid making the same mistakes over and over? Did Hosni Mubarak start out as "a good man?" This is open for debate but whether he did or did not he was in power a very long time and in the end it appears pretty clear that he lost his way on many issues. There are also plenty of examples of truly bad people who got worse over time that need little or no introduction like: Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Bashar al-Assad. For the record, I am not counting Senator Hatch or anywhere near those names, I am using those names to make my point about the effect that tenure coupled with power has on people.

That said, it is clear to me that Senator Hatch has overstayed his welcome. I simply cannot in good conscience vote to send him back for even one more term. I cannot hand a shovel to one of the people responsible for digging the hole that this nation is in, even if "he is a good man."

I support term limits. Many of the problems in Washington and government in general would be minimized or eliminated by limiting tenure, and by extension, corruption. I believe that in most cases that the more tenure leaders have the more the likelihood that corruption will surface. In simplest terms: power + tenure = corruption. How many times have unimpressive pols been re-elected? How many more times will those seeking re-election be allowed to continue on their current paths or worse? Whether you view them as good people or bad, wouldn't it make sense to elect different people periodically? Wouldn't it make sense to take steps to help our leaders avoid developing a sense that they are "entitled to power" especially for an unlimited amount of time? Doesn't it seem logical to do all we can to limit or stop the evolution of an aristocracy or ruling class in our republic when history has repeatedly shown us how destructive this is?

I don't claim to be an expert, but it seems to me that the founding fathers suggested that things be more short term and they definitely didn't support a king, aristocracy, or ruling class. My limited research indicates that they preferred leaders to go to Washington part time, do the job for a relatively short time, and return fairly quickly to the status of a private citizen.

In the Declaration of Independence they wrote: "governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security." Personally, I can't imagine how it could be said better.

In the end, it seems to me that there are a lot of people in this area and in Utah who are going to support Senator Hatch for one last term. At this point I would not be surprised if he is re-elected one more time. I will not vote for him but I will say this. If he is re-elected I will do all I can to support our two Utah senators. I will do all I can to let them know where I stand on the issues. I will do all I can to encourage them to make good decisions and stop kicking the can down the road.

We have got to reverse the overall direction of this nation. The founding core beliefs, tenants, rights, freedoms, and principles of the United States of America are being systematically minimized, trivialized, and ignored. The founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and the Bill of Rights that originally defined who we are and what we believe in as a nation are under attack. One could argue that some of the attack is the result of the choices and actions of well-meaning "good men."

Cooper lives in Kaysville.

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