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Jonathan Lange

Lange: Can Liz Cheney Give Americans What They Justly Deserve?

in Column/Jonathan Lange

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By Jonathan Lange, guest columnist

Hours after Representative Cheney (R-WY) broke from her 190 fellow Republicans to establish a “House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol,” she wasted no time in accepting a Democrat appointment to it. This move gave Pelosi’s Committee a façade of bi-partisanship and pre-emptively undercut Republican threats to boycott its own committee appointments.

On June 30th, Cheney issued a press release stating, “This investigation can only succeed if it is sober, professional, and non-partisan. The threat to our democracy is far too grave for grandstanding or political maneuvering. The Committee should issue and enforce subpoenas promptly, hire skilled counsel, and do its job thoroughly and expeditiously. The American people need and deserve a full accounting. We must ensure that what happened on January 6, 2021 never happens again.”

Indeed. On this point everyone is agreed. The substantial questions are: What really did happen on January 6, and can this committee conduct a “sober, professional, and non-partisan investigation? After two embarrassing impeachments, and three years of peddling the fraudulent “Steele Dossier,” American’s may rightly be skeptical.

“The American people need and deserve a full accounting.” That is true. The committee’s subpoena power and legal resources must be employed to examine aspects of January 6 that have, so far, been withheld from the American public. If congress wants to rehabilitate its public credibility, here are some things that should be investigated thoroughly and transparently.

The investigation should begin with the days leading up to January 6th. What did congressional leaders know, and when did they know it? All communications from the Intelligence Community, D.C. Police, and Capitol Police should be subpoenaed. Leadership from both parties should be placed under oath—beginning with Cheney—in order to determine why multiple security requests were denied.

Next, the Committee should subpoena the 14,000 hours of CCTV captured by cameras around the Capitol and owned by the American people. This evidence should be made public. For six months, the Department of Justice has used highly edited snippets to prosecute over 500 citizens. But it has denied access to defense attorneys, claiming that the tapes are state secrets. 

More than an hour before anybody entered the Capitol, video shows  troops in riot gear shooting stun grenades and pepper spray without warning at law-abiding citizens. The attack appeared unprovoked. The group, including small children and the elderly, had crossed no barriers nor were they threatening to do so. Were the unidentified troops federal agents? Or were they agent provocateurs?

The American people deserve to know the full extent of what was done to peaceful protesters. Were some those that breached barriers truly driven by the President’s speech just beginning over a mile away? Or were they reacting to a more immediate threat? Releasing all the video footage from that day would provide necessary transparency.

Third, every death should be vigorously investigated. Before the first door was breached into the Capitol, a man died of a reported heart attack. Soon, a second died from a reported stroke. Then, a woman was trampled. What accounts for such a high death rate in a relatively small crowd? Did chemicals, munitions or police procedures contribute to these tragedies? Were federal officers following crowd safety protocols.

The only shot fired on January 6th was aimed at the throat of Ashli Babbitt. The Capitol Police officer who killed the unarmed woman still has not been formally identified. This most violent event of the entire day ought to receive the fullest and the most painstaking investigation. Who was the shooter? What were his rules of engagement? What training did he receive? What was his service record?

The next day, Officer Brian Sicknick died of a stroke. For months it was falsely reported that he had been struck by a fire extinguisher. Who planted this false information? And why did it take more than 100 days to release the autopsy that disproved it? 

Days later two other officers died in apparent suicides. Who investigated their deaths? What evidence is conclusive that they died of suicide linked to January 6th? Who made the initial decision to connect their deaths to the Capitol? What evidence did Cheney have in hand when she asserted that they died “as a result of what happened that day.” 

Also, before the smoke had cleared from January 6th, Cheney began pushing the narrative that the crowd acted to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes.” How could she know either the motives of 500 individuals, or whether they were acting in coordination? 

This is irresponsible behavior for a public official. Worse, it is extremely prejudicial to the investigation she now wishes to lead. “The American people need and deserve a full accounting.” Will they get it? Or, will they only get more “grandstanding [and] political maneuvering”?

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Jonathan Lange: Natural Law Is Why The Second Amendment Is So Important

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By Jonathan Lange, guest columnist

It has been thirteen years since the Supreme Court last looked at the Second Amendment.

In that case, District of Columbia v. Heller, it finally admitted that “the right to keep and bear arms” is an “individual” right to home defense, and not merely a right for states to maintain “a well-regulated militia.”

In April of this year, the Court agreed to hear New York Rifle and Pistol Organization v. Corlett. This will address whether that right of individuals to “bear arms” gives constitutional protection for those who want to carry a firearm across town, or if one is only allowed to carry it from the bedroom to the kitchen.

Meanwhile, there has been a spate of activity in California’s Ninth Circuit. Three separate cases from the lower courts have nullified different aspects of California’s virtual ban on the popular AR-15 (Armalite Rifle). Duncan v. Becerra overturned California’s ban on the standard 30-round magazine. Rupp v. Becerra and, more recently, Miller v. Bonta challenge California’s AR-15 ban as violating SCOTUS’ “common use” standard.

If all this seems barely relevant except to preppers, this column is for you.

My purpose today is not to get into the weeds of all these cases and reconcile the Court’s strange and contradictory pronouncements. Rather, I will simply outline a few basic concepts to help the non-gun-enthusiast appreciate what is at stake.

We begin by observing that the most ardent defenders of the Constitution were opposed to the original Bill of Rights. They did not oppose the rights delineated in the first ten amendments. Rather, they opposed the very idea of delineating rights. The problem, as they saw it, is the difference between “natural law” and “positive law.”

The U.S. Constitution is an outgrowth of the “natural law” that produced the Declaration of Independence. The law that “all men are created equal” existed before governments and legislators said so. “Positive law,” on the other hand, creates law as a “social contract.” According to it, humans have no rights whatsoever until those in power say that they do. “Positive law” theory attacks the very foundations of our constitutional republic.

By making a list of specific rights, the Bill of Rights presented two dangers. First, just rights unintentionally omitted from the list might not be protected. Second, the Bill of Rights itself might inadvertently teach that rights come from the federal government, and are not transcendent and above all human institutions.

Especially when it comes to the Second Amendment, those original critics of the Bill of Rights have been vindicated. Gun rights—even more than the rights of free speech, free assembly, free press, and the free exercise of religion—are too often treated as special privileges that can be alternately doled out or rescinded at the whim of lawmakers. To the contrary, the Constitution’s framers considered “the right to keep and bear arms” as a natural right inherent in the very fact of your humanity. It does not arise from government, but from God.

Obviously, this view of the Second Amendment does not depend on current technology. Whether a person has the right to carry a rock, a knife or a pistol is not for the government to decide. What is inherent in the very reality of humanity created in the image of God is the responsibility to love one’s neighbor with heart, soul, strength and mind.

When loving one’s neighbor requires defending him or her from bodily harm, human beings have the corresponding right not only to make use of physical strength, but also to use the mind. We think up tools that can assist us to defend our families and our neighbors from harm. This creativity comes from God and is a gift that the animals do not possess. No government has the right to infringe on it.

This right exists independently of the Second Amendment because your responsibility to protect your neighbor is not an assignment from the government, but an assignment from God. As technology advances and your neighbor is threatened by more sophisticated tools, your right to match this sophistication by possessing tools for defense is inherent.

Contrary to SCOTUS’ “common use” doctrine, there is nothing in the Constitution, or in natural law, that requires a tool to be commonly available before you have a right to keep and carry it. Whether a tool be so obsolete that it is no longer in common use, or so cutting-edge that few yet own it, governments have no right to disadvantage some while arming others. Rather, they should limit themselves to prohibiting only those tools that have no use in defending individual persons—or which are impossible to use without harming innocent bystanders.

As we stock up on fireworks to celebrate the firearms that won our independence, now would be a good time to think about the modern tools that we need to have on hand to protect the life and liberty of our neighbors in the 21st century.

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Jonathan Lange: Balow Deserves Praise For Saying No to Critical Race Theory

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By Jonathan Lange, guest columnist

There is a war-of-words waging in Wyoming and across the nation. For decades, it was a cold war played out in the halls of academia.

Last summer it went hot as riots erupted in the streets of major US cities. Most recently, an offensive from the U.S. Department of Education called, “Proposed Priorities-American History and Civics Education” put every local school board in the crosshairs.

Wyoming’s Superintendent, Jillian Balow, fired back. On May 4, she released a Statement on Proposed U.S. Department of Education Rule Prioritizing Critical Race Theory Curriculum in K-12 Schools. It calls out the Proposed Priorities, among other things, for the “alarming move” to encourage “districts to use curriculum related to divisive author Ibram X. Kendi and the New York Times ‘1619 Project.’”

This she said, “should be rebuked across party lines.”

Every Wyoming parent should be grateful for Balow’s vigilance and leadership. But we should not let her fight alone. A general can only be as successful as the troops that are marshaled behind her. Every Wyoming parent needs to get educated and engaged in the battle. Wyoming’s children are at stake.

One factor that keeps parents sidelined is sheer bewilderment. It is hard to join in the fray when the smoke and noise of battle conspire to obscure the truth. The Proposed Priorities are an incomprehensible word salad, designed to bewilder. It lobs flash-bang grenades like “antiracism” and “systemic racism.” Then it rolls out undefined terms like “linguistically responsive” and “equity” (not to be confused with equality). Like smoke bombs, these hide what’s really happening.

The confusion caused by such language is intentional. Constantly changing terminology and the invention of new words are meant to keep you out of the fray. But common sense can cut through the distractions to provide clarity. When you are unable to decipher what people are proposing, simply ask: what are they opposing? This cuts through the fog of war.

The Proposed Priorities implement Executive Order 13985, which was signed by Joseph Biden his very first afternoon in the Oval Office. It revokes EO 13950 Combatting Race and Sex Stereotyping, and commands agency directors to scuttle any changes that it accomplished. Next, it canceled EO 13958 Establishing the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission, and scrubbed its Report from the Whitehouse website.

Clearly, the Proposed Priorities do not want to combat race and sex stereotyping. Also, they treat the 1776 Commission as hostile to the new federal priorities. In fact, the priorities are designed to award government educational contracts on the basis of racial and sex stereotyping, and to teach the New York Times’ discredited 1619 Project in opposition to the Report of the 1776 Commission. No wonder Superintendent Balow raised the alarm!

To understand what is at stake, simply read the short 1776 Commission Report. “Above all else,” it concludes, America’s founding “principles recognize the worth, equality, potential, dignity, and glory of each and every man, woman, and child created in the image of God.” Why would anyone want to cancel that language?

Last January, Rep. Jeremy Haroldson (R-Wheatland) carried the flag of 1776 by sponsoring HB 177 Education-Understanding federal and state government. Balow weighed in to support the concept of Haroldson’s bill. Sadly, the Education Committee did not send it to the floor.

Part “(a)” called for every school district to provide “instruction that prepares students for informed, engaged citizenship,” and named 11 content areas. More importantly, part “(b)” required transparency. It would have allowed “any parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the school district” to inspect the curriculum and materials used to teach the child American history, government and civics.

The need for parental inspection of educational materials was highlighted just this week by a controversy in Cheyenne. The Laramie County School District #1 hired Western Education Equity Assistance Center (WEEAC), an out-of-state company aligned with the ‘1619 Project,’ to administer a survey to Cheyenne’s kids. It looked like a “push-poll” designed more to influence young minds than to gain useful knowledge.

When parents asked to inspect the survey before it was administered, they were told that that WEEAC considered its materials “proprietary,” and would not allow parents to preview them. Enough parents raised alarm that the school board postponed the survey at the last minute, promising to replace it with materials that parents could inspect ahead of time.

Like mold and mushrooms, poisonous ideas thrive in the dark. Healthy ideas, like green plants, enjoy the sunshine. You can help to let in the light. Support Superintendent Balow by supporting your local school board. Attend its meetings. Listen to what is going on. Talk to the board members. You might even run for a seat yourself! Wyoming’s children need your voice to keep them out of the crossfire.

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Jonathan Lange: Cheyenne’s Baby John Doe Mystery – Will DNA Technology Solve It?

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By Jonathan Lange, columnist

Cowboy State Daily reported last Monday that the Laramie County Sheriff’s Department has partnered with Othram labs to reopen a 33-year-old murder investigation. (Wendy Corr, “Laramie County: Wyoming Investigators Reopen 1988 Dead Infant Case” April 12, 2021)

Using the new technology of Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing©, they are working to solve the case of a “Baby John Doe” who was found in west Cheyenne in 1988.

Rapid developments in DNA sequencing are opening cold cases all over the world. Just a year ago, a similar case was solved in Meriden, Connecticut. The newborn had been left under a tree two months before Baby John Doe was found in Cheyenne.

When the DNA trail led police to his mother, she told them that “she’d been waiting 32 years for the day [when] police would be knocking on her door regarding this incident.” Her reaction revealed a simple truth: The solution that she found in a moment of panic neither resolved her problems, nor ended the matter.

My heart breaks for the child who was killed. But it also aches for the decades of mental torture that his mother must have experienced. Thankfully, this mother’s path to healing was opened by the application of DNA sequencing.

I pray for the mother and father of Cheyenne’s Baby John Doe. They, too, have an opportunity for healing that remains hindered so long as the truth remains hidden.

The similarity of these two cases led me to perform a simple internet search to inquire how many others there might be. In less than a second, I found dozens of cold-cases from all over the nation where newborns were left to die anonymously. Undoubtedly, each of these cases will be solved as genetic databases become more and more complete.

Until now, these sad stories only reached the national news in those rare cases when parents were located by traditional forensic means. Today we are standing at the beginning of a tidal wave of mysteries solved by emerging DNA technologies.

To get an idea of how large this wave might be, I consulted one Wyoming Ob-Gyn physician. I learned that he encounters patients on a monthly basis who have complications from self-procured medicinal abortions at home.

Occasionally, there are signs of a live birth, but the patient denies having had a baby. That’s only one practitioner in one city. Multiply this by twelve months in a year, and nearly three dozen such doctors in Wyoming and the potential numbers are staggering.

Each one of these women represents a case in which the State’s best efforts have failed. They did not receive information about the law and the many ways that Wyoming’s agencies, non-profits and safe-haven laws could have helped them avoid this crime and the guilt that followed it.

Each newborn was a Wyoming citizen who was not afforded the protections promised in Wyoming’s Constitution. Each father either failed to care for his child or was never informed of the pregnancy and given the chance to step up.

Wyoming can do better. That starts with opening our eyes to the problem. For years politicians have been pretending that such things do not happen in our state. That is no longer tenable.

Wyoming just passed SF 34 Born alive infant-means of care into law. It’s time for the Board of Medicine to create policies that ensure its enforcement. SF 34 addresses failed abortions, but it does not cover babies like little John Doe. Currently, Wyoming has no procedures in place for doctors to report obvious signs of birth without a baby. The Board of Medicine must address this also.

We are deluding ourselves if we believe that continued cover-ups help these mothers. Reluctance to investigate helps no one. Justice is not only beneficial for the victim. Justice is also beneficial for the perpetrator.

An ancient king named, David, learned this lesson and wrote of it when he tried to cover up his crimes. “[W]hen I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long” (Psalm 32:3). His cure was found in confession: “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin” (v. 5).

As DNA sequencing technology becomes ever more accurate, many more hidden crimes will be brought to the light. Rather than fearing this revelation of the truth, we should embrace it.

It is painful to face our failings, but it also opens a powerful path to healing. Jesus died for the crimes of all. He rose from the grave to give new life to all. He placed his Church on earth to forgive the sins of all who are repentant. By God’s grace, the revelations of DNA technology will give countless people an opportunity to hear and receive this forgiveness.

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Jonathan Lange: Everyone Should Make A Promise To Wyoming’s Children

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By Jonathan Lange, columnist

Promises made between husband and wife are exchanged in weddings all over the world as a public declaration of the bond of love. Families, communities, lawmakers and churches are called to support and help in the keeping of these vows. The marriage bond is at the very heart of communal life.

There is another bond of love that is equally at the heart of community life. This bond comes into existence whenever a new human being is conceived. This bond between parents and children, however, does not enjoy the same public celebration and ceremonial declaration as the marriage bond. It is unspoken, but just as obligatory.

One result of the unspoken nature of the promise to our children is that families, communities, lawmakers and churches are not as conscientiously aware of their role in helping to keep the promises. Sadly, many children face serious harms as a consequence of forgotten promises.

In an effort to raise public awareness and to stand for America’s children, a new coalition of community leaders has stepped forward. “Promise to America’s Children” wants to make explicit the promises to which every child is entitled. It is a partnership of eighteen national organizations and scores of state advocacy groups. articulates the promises made to children both by parents and by the communities that support them. It addresses three aspects of a child’s existence—mind, body, and relationships. In all these areas, political and ideological agendas should take a back seat to the real-world needs of children. This means three promises that parents make toward children.

First, parents promise to nurture and honor young minds as they grow, protecting them from harm, instilling values, and providing the best opportunities for success. Second, they promise to develop and protect young bodies as they grow, affirming the dignity and worth of bodies that have been “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14). Third, they promise to honor and uphold the parent-child relationship, recognizing the infinite worth of their children and caring for them with unconditional love.

Communities also have obligations toward children. The village does not raise children—particular parents do. Nevertheless, the village is obligated to support parents and children in this sacred undertaking. Policy makers, in particular, should promise to set aside any agenda that would undermine their obligations to children.

“Promise to America’s Children” enunciates ten specific promises that government officials should make. They oppose anything that would undermine a community’s obligation to children. Their promises also fall under three headings.

“PROTECTING CHILDREN’S MINDS” means, among other things, that “Every child deserves to be protected from being used in or exposed to pornography, graphic sexual content or activities as well as from being exposed to it in media and on the Internet.” Therefore, “all public-school sexual education programs should be opt-in, voluntarily chosen by parents.” Also, “Every child deserves the right …to affirm or not affirm messages or ideas that violate their beliefs or conscience.”

“PROTECTING CHILDREN’S BODIES” means that “Every child deserves safety and privacy in sex-specific spaces.” Likewise, “Every child deserves the opportunity to participate in fair and safe athletic competitions.” Most especially, “Every child deserves the opportunity to be affirmed… in their biological sex, and to be supported as they mature through puberty and other normal adolescent changes that shape their maturity and reproductive capacity.”

Finally, “PROTECTING CHILDREN’S RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEIR PARENTS” is foundational to the care of both body and mind. Adoption laws, foster care, and assisted reproductive technologies should be regulated with the full acknowledgement that “Every child deserves a relationship with his or her mother and father.”

Furthermore, “Every child deserves to have his or her parents informed of and involved in important life decisions. Authority figures (including teachers, counselors, or medical professionals) should not withhold information about a child’s sexual activity, development, or identity from parents or take any action that undermines the parents’ role in guiding the child in these areas.”

By these simple promises, policy makers can protect Wyoming’s children from the ravages of the culture wars. So long as American citizens disagree on the most fundamental aspects of society, the least that legislators can do is to prevent adults from using children as cannon fodder. This is done by empowering their parents, who love them most of all.

The “Promise to America’s Children” was launched barely a month ago. Already Senate President Dan Dockstader (R-Afton) and Vice President, Larry Hicks (R-Baggs) have given their pledge to Wyoming’s children to support and protect them in Wyoming law. It would be well if all ninety of our legislators and all five of Wyoming’s executive officials joined them. Their promise to America’s children would make Wyoming a better place.

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Jonathan Lange: Prepare to Stand With Andrew Brunson

in Column/Jonathan Lange

By Jonathan Lange, columnist

“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). Generations of Christians have heard these words on the day of their confirmation. It is an experience shared by many—although that cultural heritage seems to be fading. But fewer still are aware of the context of these words.

This verse is from the biblical book of the Revelation. They are spoken “to the angel of the Church at Smyrna,” an ancient city in Asia Minor. Its modern name is “Izmir, Turkey.” And, for 23 years it was the home of missionary, Andrew Brunson and his wife, Norine.

On an October day in 2016, they arrived home to find a note summoning them to the local police station. This note was the beginning of a two-year ordeal that neither of them anticipated, nor were they prepared for it.

It is as if the ancient words spoken to the angel of the Church at Smyrna were spoken directly to Andrew. “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation” (Rev. 2:10).

Upon arrival at the police station, they were informed that they were being arrested for deportation. However, rather than boarding a plane for the U.S., they were herded into a detention center. Norine was released after 13 days, but Andrew’s ordeal was only beginning.

At first, Andrew was worried that he would be unjustly deported from his decades-long work as a missionary. Soon that fear was replaced by its opposite—a fear that he would never be deported, but would instead spend the rest of his life in a Turkish prison. The Erdogan government had just survived a military coup attempt, and falsely accused Brunson of crimes against the state.

Brunson had always conducted his Izmir mission openly and legally. He had always steered clear of involvement in the power struggles of Turkish political factions. Nevertheless, he was accused of being a terrorist, a military spy, and an organizer of the recent coup. They were all lies, but they were useful lies. They supplied the Erdogan government with propaganda to paint Christians as traitors and “haters of Turks.”

After Norine’s release, Andrew was moved to solitary confinement in another detention center, then to a high security prison. There, isolated by culture, nationality, and life experience he felt the utterly alone in his Christian faith. “It broke me,” he humbly admits. It brought unexpected feelings. He lost the sense of God’s presence and grace, and wondered if God had abandoned him.

It was in the middle of these dark days that he discovered a truth that he is now sharing with anyone who will listen: Don’t follow your feelings about God. Just follow God. His words are true whether you feel their truth or not.

From this new perspective, Andrew came to see that prison was not abandonment by God, but an assignment from God. “I was doing nothing,” he recalled, “Just sitting in prison and trying to hold on. But people were praying all over the world.”

Sometimes your greatest value to the community is simply to be the object of prayers. On occasion, God calls people to great and mighty deeds, but more often mere endurance and keeping the faith under pressure is God’s only assignment.

Brunson’s assignment of endurance ended as quickly and as unexpectedly as it began. On October 12, 2018, just over two years after his arrest, he was falsely and irrationally convicted of terrorism and sentenced to prison. Then, in a face-saving move, the Erdogan government told him he could leave the country while he appealed the sentence. Within 24 hours he and Norine were sitting in the Oval Office with President Trump and Mike Pompeo, secretary of state.

The arrest that was meant to intimidate other missionaries and the tiny community of Turkish Christians had, instead, brought international attention to their plight. For Andrew and his faithful wife, it has both taught him much and given them a platform to reach millions.

On March 24, the Wyoming Pastors Network (WPN) is giving the people of Cheyenne the opportunity to hear them personally. While Andrew is in town for a conference, the WPN has partnered with Christian supporters to offer a free presentation open to the public.

That Wednesday at 9:00 AM., Andrew and his wife, Norine, will tell their story at the auditorium of Calvary Chapel, 9209 Ridge Rd. This is not a church service, but a talk—with plenty of opportunity for questions and answers. One need not be Christian to attend. All are invited to this informative and encouraging presentation.

Jonathan Lange: ‘No Such Thing As A Free (School) Lunch’ – Let’s Get Wyoming Education Right

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By Jonathan Lange, columnist

Governor Gordon’s recent “State of the State” address urged legislators to address Wyoming’s education program in the long term. “This is far more than a budget issue,” he said, “and I want our stakeholders and our communities to be involved in establishing a plan and vision.” Wise words.

It was refreshing to hear the governor go beyond the worn-out bromides that the only way to serve Wyoming’s children is through budget increases. He noted that: “Education is changing.” No doubt, he was talking about the seismic effects that COVID-19 had in driving students online and masking them once they returned.

But changes in educational attitudes had been underway long before COVID-19 crushed funding sources, scattered communities, and muted voices. Increasingly, parents have been calling for reformed educational structures that are more responsive to local voices and family values. When Zoom brought classrooms under the watchful eye of parents everywhere, it only accelerated that trend.

“People want, and need, more opportunities and approaches,” Gordon said, “Wyoming needs to respond.” He is not the only one saying it. This year’s legislative session has a flood of education bills filed for introduction. Nearly 10 percent of more than 400 bills under consideration deal with education. 

As legislators begin the task of sorting through this stack of bills, let us reassert some basic pillars of education. These should be the drivers of educational reform, not mere afterthoughts.

First, the education of minor children is not the primary responsibility of the state, but of the parents. This is—and must remain—the bedrock principle of every decision that the legislature makes. To follow the governor’s call for the involvement of “stakeholders and communities,” in the law-making process means to recognize that the principal stake holders are the parents themselves.

This is not a departure from the Wyoming Constitution’s requirement that “The legislature shall provide for the establishment and maintenance of a complete and uniform system of public instruction.” Rather, it reminds the legislature that this constitutional provision was written by Wyoming parents and for Wyoming parents.

Wyoming’s school system should not serve the interest of the state—or any other actor that might coopt the education system to advance its own agenda. Our legislators must not be overawed by the slick slogans of monied lobbyists claiming to speak for the children. This is especially true when those voices would overpower the voices of parents themselves, as though lobbyists and bureaucrats are better equipped to love children than their own parents.

Second, policy makers and parents alike know that “there is no such thing as a free (school) lunch.” Money, whether received from a national education organization or bestowed from a government agency, will inevitably come with strings attached. Those strings must be disclosed with full transparency in order truly to count their cost.

On the other hand, parents and policy makers must remember always that this money did not come from the government, but from the parents and grandparents of Wyoming students. For legislators, that means faithful stewardship of hard-earned dollars that were taken from their students’ homes. For parents, it means demanding that your dollars be controlled locally. 

The third principle is subsidiarity. While acknowledging that community cooperation is necessary to accomplish some educational tasks, subsidiarity demands that such cooperation take place as close to the parents as is possible for the task. 

Sometimes, it means that education dollars should be put directly into the hands of the parents themselves. When parents find that their child needs something that the local school cannot provide, parents should be given the option to be refunded some of their tax dollars to compensate for the expenditure. 

It is simply unfair to expect parents to pay twice—once for an education product that they cannot use, and again for the education that their child truly needs. Legislators should not second-guess such a parent’s assessment of what is necessary for his child. To do so is arrogantly to deny the first principle of education. 

Of course, refunds of government money can easily be laden with strings that violate the principle enunciated above. Legislators should be careful to restrain themselves from the human tendency to use such money to manipulate parents. When possible, such refunds are better accomplished by tax credits than by refunded taxes.

Finally, it is important to acknowledge that conservation of the status quo is not the same as conservatism. Legislators and parents should take this watershed moment as an opportunity to reassess every aspect of Wyoming’s education policy. The principles of child-centered, parent-driven education are what need to be conserved, not past compromises. 

Parents, in cooperation with legislators should work to reject progressive harms that have become baked into current law. As the governor said, “Wyoming needs to respond.”

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Jonathan Lange: We Should All Shun Cancel Culture

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By Jonathan Lange

“Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors…even by children. Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews.

How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?”

The elitists who run the cancel culture say those words are offensive. For the crime of posting them on social media, Gina Carano, of Mandalorian fame, will never work at Disney again. For good measure, United Talent Agency also dropped her as a client.

Lucasfilm justified its vicious virtue signaling by saying that Carano’s “social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.”

Ordinary people, like me, are flummoxed. Just like Carano, we have “liked” and “shared” and “retweeted” this very meme for months. Out of respect for the horrific sufferings of the Jews, we say their names. We are appalled that German civilization, at the apex of high culture, could so quickly fall to such depths of barbarism.

We solemnly vow, “Never again,” with meaning and determination. We are not content merely to condemn dead villains who no longer have power to kill. We are, rather, intent on rooting out their evil ideas—ideas that perverted an entire culture. Only by critiquing their worldview can we be equipped to stand against totalitarianism even when its purveyors no longer wear jack boots and brown shirts.

How Lucasfilm and its cancel culture masters can pretend that this is somehow “denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities,” boggles the mind.

In a search for answers, I turned to Wikipedia. That crowd-sourced repository of left-leaning information helpfully explained: “Many critics interpreted the post as comparing American conservatives to Jews in Nazi Germany.”

Apparently, comparing American conservatives to Jews denigrates Jews. Wow!

To quote a meme I recently read, “How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?”

Antifa operatives spent the summer bullying minorities, burning their businesses and pressuring police to abandon the innocent poor to the terrorism of lawless gangs.

All the while, they called their opponents “Nazis”—and got away with it. Celebrities and politicians that fawned over their agenda and supported their riots were lionized, not canceled.

But when Gina Carano identifies with Jews who were brutalized and vandalized by their fellow citizens, the Twitter mob proves her right by mercilessly attacking her own person and career.

This is “viewpoint discrimination” on full display. Some viewpoints are rewarded while others are bludgeoned into silence.

The central point of the meme that got Carano canceled is that the Nazi government did not begin with direct action against the Jews. It began by encouraging common citizens—even children—to do their dirty work for them.

They did this with a combination of propaganda and a weaponized legal code. Propaganda convinced once-civilized Germans to turn against their neighbors. An unjust application of the law turned a blind eye to assaults on Jews, but prosecuted their attempts at self-defense.

We see these same dynamics at work today. It is up to common citizens to recognize when they are being propagandized by the gatekeepers of information. Media sources that incite citizens to hate each other should be turned off and tuned out.

Likewise, it is incumbent on all of us to stand against unequal application of the law and every misuse of the justice system. “Liberty and justice for all” is not just an empty slogan. It flows from the proposition that all men are created equal. And, it is a bulwark against the evils of the cancel culture.

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Jonathan Lange: Cheney Must Regain The Consent Of The Governed

in Column/Jonathan Lange

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By Jonathan Lange, guest columnist

The Declaration of Independence was not an exercise of raw political power. It was, rather, an assertion of principles. It had no legal standing in a British court. Nor was there any standing army to enforce it. Its only power was the power of persuasion. Its authority depended entirely on whether its words were, in fact, true.

The American colonists could have taken up arms against Britain without a single word, as Japan infamously attacked Pearl Harbor. But that would have been wrong. It is not that some international law requires insurrectionists to justify themselves in writing. It is, rather, an internal law—written on the heart. They were motivated by “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind.”

There is a common and universal sense of justice shared by every human being. This common sense reflects the judgment of “the Supreme Judge of the world.” The founders appealed to him to judge their actions. As Abraham Lincoln would put it decades later, “my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side.”

Universal truth, justice before the Supreme Judge, and respect for a common sense of these things—these are the fundamental principles of the American Republic. On this foundation America was built.

Our founders’ “respect to the opinions of mankind” was not only for foreign countries. It was primarily about American citizens. After a brief introduction, the opening words of the Declaration assert three “self-evident” truths: 1) “that all men are created equal;” 2) “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights;” 3) that “Governments… [derive] their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.”

There are two kinds of right and wrong. The first is that which is self-evident. These are universal principles that known by all through our shared humanity. The second are laws and customs that are necessary to the functioning of society but are neither universally true nor perceived by some common sense.

“Thou shalt not kill” is a principle of the first sort. “Drive on the right side of the road” is a law of the second sort. The consent of the governed bridges the gap between these two kinds of laws.

This universal principle is necessary because “all men are created equal,” and no single person, or class of persons, has an inherent right to dictate laws of the second sort. Rather, equal citizens give consent to certain representatives to negotiate such necessary but variable rules.

Power exercised without the consent of the governed is tyranny. It doesn’t matter whether that person was duly elected, fraudulently elected, or seized power by force. Elections are the usual way to determine the consent of the governed. But an election is not a substitute for that consent.

If those governed no longer consent—or never did—there may be laws that allow for a recall petition. Such is the case with Governor Newsom in California. In Wyoming there are no such laws. Is that the end of the story? Not in principle.

Principled representatives do not need to be coerced into the right thing. The right thing is to maintain the consent of the governed. This principle precedes elections and outweighs any subsequent question of policy.

Last Saturday, the GOP’s state central committee voted overwhelmingly to censure Representative Cheney and to petition her to resign. This unprecedented action seriously calls into question whether our duly elected representative still has the consent of the governed.

If the question were answered purely by the power of man-made laws, and divorced from the principles of the Republic, Cheney would simply ignore the voters of Wyoming and continue to exercise the power of her congressional seat for two more years.

But if the question is about principle, Cheney should then want to do everything in her power to ensure that Wyoming’s lone representative in Washington regains the consent of the governed. That, and only that, would constitute “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind.” This should be true of any representative of the people’s will—from the president on down to the precinct committeeman.

How can this principle be upheld? First, Cheney should come home and stand before her constituents. If the rightness of her stance is solid, she can confidently expect to regain the consent of her constituency. If not, resignation would be the only honorable thing to do.

Resignation would allow her to stand by her own principles while also upholding an even higher principle. By it, she could reaffirm that the consent of the governed is a principle more fundamental to the Republic than any subsequent person or policy.

Without the consent of the governed, the Republic itself will cease to exist.

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Jonathan Lange: ‘Salt Of The Earth’ People Are Wise To This Cynical Game

in Column/Jonathan Lange

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By Jonathan Lange, columnist

“History, faith and reason show the way, the way of unity. We can see each other, not as adversaries, but as neighbors. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature. For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos.” – President Joseph R. Biden, Inaugural Address.

Measuring by the nastiness of cable news and the party spirit of national newspapers, America is more deeply divided than at any time in living memory. The division may run as deep as at any time in history.

Yet, for all the rancor, there remains a deep longing for unity.

In fact, more than a mere longing, Americans are actually united on several key points. All people across the political spectrum long to see a resurgence of dignity, respect and neighborliness. I have never met anyone who wants the bitterness, fury and “exhausting outrage” that surrounds us. No lover of America can possibly be pleased with the incessant chaos that poisons our world.

Take a moment to reflect on this fact. Test it with your neighbors, families and friends. See if you can find someone who does not wish for universal recognition of each person’s dignity and respect. I don’t think you will find such an animal.

If I am right about my supposition, it should lead you to ask a follow-up question: If nobody wants the chaos and division we are experiencing, why can we not put an end to it? Who or what is hindering American unity?

Know this first, it is not the occupant of the Oval Office. Honest observers of the culture must admit that today’s rancor has been escalating across five administrations, at least. For three decades, every president has been vilified by political opponents as the incarnation of evil itself.

While this is a great fundraising strategy that whips the base into a fury, it does nothing to help Americans either understand or resist the true forces of evil that are pushing America toward the cliff. This is by design. Enemies of the American people want us to fixate on personalities. In that way, they can distract good-hearted citizens from finding commonalities that build unity.

The fact is that the forces dividing America have played us like well-tuned fiddles. They use caustic “identity politics” to set mom-and-pop Republicans, Democrats and Independents at one another’s throats so that they can advance an agenda against all Americans, regardless of who occupies the White House.

But salt-of-the-earth people are getting wise to this cynical game. More and more Americans see the real threat to America. It lies in armies of lawyers, advisors and agency officials scattered across Washington, D.C. who hem the president in on every side. They withhold information, dishonestly spin facts, slow-walk presidential orders, criminally leak to a compliant press, and generally abuse government power to manipulate the president into advancing their agenda, not ours.

While the occupant of the White House is not completely inconsequential, it is the worldview of unnamed bureaucrats—more than the man in office—that does the most damage to American ideals. As good neighbors from both parties awaken to this fact, it gives us an opportunity to unite against a common enemy.

The first step toward unity is to reject identity politics with a vengeance. This is not only necessary toward reducing the rancor of public discourse. It is also necessary so that we can get off the merry-go-round of personal vilification and start addressing the real problems.

If you think anyone who voted for Donald Trump is a threat to America, stop it! If you think insulting President Biden will help America, you are dead wrong. If you won’t listen to someone unless he first admits that the election was fairly won, or if you refuse to call Joe Biden your president, you will not be inviting honest engagement, but playing into the hands of your enemies.

Remember, the real enemies of America are enemies of Democrats as much as they are enemies of Republicans. They want nothing more than partisan simplification: “two legs bad, four legs good.” Such behavior only leads to a blanket condemnation of everything that one administration does and a blank check for whatever the other administration does. This fatally short-circuits debate, and naively ignores the forces manipulating both administrations.

America united to defeat fascism in World War II, and to defeat communism in the Cold War. Common Americans accomplished this despite the evil forces that were tearing us apart in the decadent 20s. Anti-God, anti-family, anti-freedom forces are on the move today.

As in the past, common Americans can defeat them if we refuse to let them divide us.

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