Leftists have long used various forms of social and political pressure in order to get their way. Marches, protests, leaflets, all the various traditional methods of civil resistance. Advertising and donations from wealthy benefactors have played a big part in the perpetuation of various activist organizations.
Now that this ideology has infected the school system, from elementary on up through universities, teachers take the opportunity to instill these leftist values in their students, planting the seeds of future generations of irrational shit disturbers.
But lately I’m starting to observe the beginnings of what I suspect is a new trend in leftist activism; deliberately and conspicuously breaking the law. I don’t just mean the low people on the food chain starting riots and getting arrested, or burning down an animal research facility. I’m talking about people in nominal positions of authority within the Establishment itself.
Take Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco. Earlier this year, he made history by authorizing San Francisco officials to grant marriage licenses to homosexual couples. The result was a flood of people into the city, some 8,000 by most estimates, who applied. These marriages were later ruled void on August 12, 2004, by the California Supreme Court, who stated that Newsom had exceeded his authority in violation of existing state law. Lawyer Richard Ackerman remarked, “Gay activist leaders do not have the right to declare what they’d like the law to be. California remains a state governed by law, not by the political whims of a rogue mayor.”
At the time he authorized the marriages, Newsom said:
We are talking about a question of the constitutionality of Proposition 22. I feel it is absolutely inconsistent with the state constitution, I feel very strongly that it needed to be challenged, and we are challenging it.
Fast forward to August 17, 2004. Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has announced that the state of Illinois is going to set up an online network to allow Illinois residents to buy prescription drugs from Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. He knows this is illegal, in violation of FDA regulations as well as general regulations against the reimportation of drugs from other countries. He states:
We have taken every possible step we could think of to convince the FDA, and convince the Congress, and anyone and everyone who will listen, that people across Illinois, and across our country, deserve access to safe and lower cost prescription drugs. The federal government has failed to act. So its time that we do.
So apparently his solution is to ignore the law and do it anyway.
I am disturbed by the apparently cavalier manner in which these government officials simply flout the law in order to get their own way. Is this going to be the future of leftist activism? Protests don’t work, so they intend to take Nike’s advice and “just do it”, now that they have people in positions of government authority?
States have a certain level of sovereignty. This is guaranteed in the Constitution, as well as being a long cultural tradition in the United States. Does Blagojevich, as Governor, have the authority to do this for the state of Illinois in a way that Newsom, as Mayor, does not? Should he? Is there too much Federal regulation of things that should be relegated to state-level control?
A contrasting example is the Governor of Alaska, Frank Murkowski. He has decided to drill for oil off the coast of Alaska. He is calling on oil companies to begin test drilling as soon as January, 2005. He doesn’t care what environmentalists think, and most of Alaska is on his side. It is interesting to note, however, that what Murkowski is doing is not illegal. The area he has opened to drilling is outside the boundaries of the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, where drilling is prohibited, but still within state borders. He commented:
“We are a sovereign state and we have this authority and I hope we find a big puddle down there.”
Is what Murkowski’s doing the same as what Blagojevich is doing? Blagojevich is openly declaring his intention and knowledge of violating the law. Murkowski is staying within the bounds of the law, just pissing off lots of radical viros. He is trying to work within the system as established, rather than ignoring the law.
Gavin Newsom used his position to “protest” what he believed to be a legal conflict within the California Constitution and the legal provisions of Proposition 22. The problem is, it isn’t Newsom’s place to do that. We have venues for resolving such conflicts, and they’re called courts. The way to resolve this is to file a lawsuit and have the court decide, not use one’s executive mayoral authority to knowingly break the law. The observant reader will note that it was the California court system that ultimately resolved this situation, after various groups filed lawsuits.
Blagojevich is doing the same thing. Instead of taking his case to the court system, whether State or Federal, he is using executive power as Governor of Illnois to enact something that is illegal. Someone should (and probably will) file a lawsuit to stop him from doing this. The Federal government may have legal authority to stop him, as well. Again, that is for courts to decide, not Blagojevich.
Murkowski appears to be acting within his authority, as the law is written. Someone may file a lawsuit against the state of Alaska to try and stop it, and the courts would deal with it as needed.
This is what the rule of law is about. Hopefully this “tactic” by leftists, if they pursue it, will be short-circuited by the legal system. But it may be evidence of desperation in the face of a national majority that is sick and tired of their shenanigans.