THE WAY I SEE IT by Don Polson Red Bluff Daily News 5/24/2016
Water, freedom and elections
I see the relaxed drought-required conservation measures being responded to in varying degrees, depending on the municipality, geographic location and local water supplies. Readers may recall when I wrote in this column that there was no rational reason for Red Bluff residents, and Red Bluff officials, to implement—or even consider—the mandates from the water wizards in our Emerald City to the south.
I noted at the time Assemblyman Gallagher’s report of a water district to the south that prevailed upon the water overlords; they contended that they used no water from the sources of the State Water Project and should therefore be exempt from conservation targets. The exact same case could have been made that Red Bluff had no obligation to restrict water usage beyond the need to conserve due to aquifer levels of our wells. Will common sense and reality-based courage prevail among our leaders? Can Oak Hill Cemetery visitors once again see green grass?
Regarding California’s water woes, I reviewed the capacity of the 2 most-often mentioned reservoirs: Sites (Glenn County) and Temperance Flat (on the San Joaquin watershed). From Wikipedia, Sites will hold 1.8+ million acre-feet while Temperance Flat will hold 1.25 million acre-feet. Usable releases will be obviously less but the 3+ million acre-feet is more than the entirety of residential conservation in the whole state for a year. I see the foot-dragging over building the dams as just another example of environmental wacko-driven efforts to deprive Californians of the water, highways and energy a growing state’s population needs and requires.
Last Tuesday’s Daily News ran an Associated Press report, “Major ruling in birth control dispute avoided.” The news was carried by major papers, broadcast and cable sources; an odd pattern seemed to repeat throughout. The primary litigant, the Little Sisters of the Poor, found scant mention—buried in the AP article in paragraph 12 in a 17 paragraph story—similar to the treatment of that group’s name in the Washington Post, New York Times and elsewhere.
It’s very likely, as I see it, that avoiding naming the Little Sisters of the Poor simply helped to obfuscate the truthful narrative that Emperor Barack Obama’s Big Government was threatening the Little Sisters charitable organization’s existence. Why? Because they had the temerity to insist on their personal, religious and constitutional freedom to choose to have no involvement in the provision of abortion-inducing drugs to employees via their health care.
“Birth control” is just a euphemistic umbrella for every method of ending pregnancies, even some forms of abortion. The government lawyers’ contention was that all the Little Sisters had to do was sign off on an acknowledgement that those methods and products would be provided, if only under separate arrangements.
The Little Sisters insisted that it would be nothing less than a cardinal sin to have anything to do with ending the life of a human pregnancy. The government lawyers insisted that they “bend the knee” and violate their conscience—but those same lawyers admitted that there were alternative means to accomplish the same end that required no complicity by the Sisters.
Totalitarianism is revealed when such strong-arm tactics prevail over the supreme arbiter of a person’s sovereign values—their own soul’s beliefs. The four liberal justices sympathetic to such despotic mandates sent the dispute back to the lower court and “avoided” revealing their willingness to crush the Little Sisters of the Poor with $70 million annual fines.
As we approach the somber task of putting our mark on a ballot to choose our leaders and representatives, I find wisdom in “James Madison’s Ultimate Test,” by Steven Hayward. He provided a quote from Harry Jaffa of Hillsdale College from 1996 which bears on our quandary:
“[Madison] believed that the statesmanship of the wise and the good that went into the architecture of the Constitution would compensate for the lack of wisdom and virtue in those who would thereafter dwell within its precincts. But neither Madison nor anyone else ever imagined that it would compensate entirely, or over too great periods of time, or in the presence of great crises, for the absence of wisdom and virtue. Above all, it would not compensate for too great ignorance of the Constitution itself, or of the reasons why the Constitution—if not the politicians and parties—deserved to be respected and revered.”
Hayward: “The Constitution’s design is intended to be able to survive even the assaults of an anti-constitutional president such as Obama. But the survival of constitutional government depends more upon the public’s understanding of and attachment to the principles of the Constitution.
“It is a fallacy common to both left and right to look for the ‘leader’ who can, through the presidency alone, repair the nation’s ills. This trend, long in the making, represents the erosion of constitutional literacy on the part of the people at large.
“On the other hand, without the occasional president who has a serious understanding of and commitment to constitutionalism, the succession of constitutional assaults by Obama and (perhaps) Hillary Clinton will erode the last residual restraints of our system. This dilemma is what makes the current election scene so perilous.”
It appears to this writer that, in a general sense, the Democrat/left marches to the drumbeat of a militant upheaval and overturning of America’s Constitutional system. Will the Republican/right muster the will and insight to hold those we elect to adhere to that heritage?