Some Utah politicians you can’t help but admire—even if you’re not a Democrat. Take Sen. Jim Dabakis. As a Democrat in the Legislature, he has about as much influence as a slug, but Dabakis has a way of engaging the opposition and still telling it like it is. Here’s his latest on the Cliven Bundy imbroglio, from Facebook: “The Nevada guy does not pay $1 million in back taxes, lines up a bunch of his redneck buddies and they point lots of loaded guns at law-enforcement officers. That Nevada guy walks. Tim DeChristopher bids on some oil property—and does not pay, robbing big oil of a few moments of drilling time in the magnificent West—and Tim is sent to the federal slammer for a long, long time. … What magic spell do these Tea People have on politicians?”
Let’s talk about freedom. When people decided to live in society, they necessarily gave up some freedom. The idea was to live in a culture of law. Every time another law is passed, a certain freedom is taken. Is that bad? Congressional candidate Mia Love would have you believe that freedom is finite. “When government grows, freedom shrinks, and once a freedom is taken away, it is never given back,” she told the state GOP Convention. But wait. Never? On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Didn’t that give back freedom to the slaves? Oh, but it was done by one of those lawless presidents, the kind who, when faced with opposition, just acted on principle. Then there was the 13th Amendment. And that put the give-back in law.
Sometimes it’s the little victories that count. As the state of Utah tries to take over federal lands, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals finally agreed that an unpaved road leading to Salt Creek Canyon in Canyonlands National Park is not a state highway. The court upheld a U.S. District Court ruling in the case that started in 2009, and reverberates into the future. “The State of Utah and its counties are pursuing more than 20 similar cases asserting that approximately 36,000 miles of dirt trails and cowpaths are state highways,” writes the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. SUWA calls Salt Creek Canyon one of the park’s crown jewels. Of course, people would like to drive their ATVs and SUVs into the area, but the court realizes this is not a trip to Disneyland.