Reply to Jim Caswell’s Article by Jim Chmelik


Reply to Jim Caswell’s Article, “Looking Past Malheur: America’s real Public Lands Legacy“:

Mr. Caswell’s comments in the Hill Magazine lack any understanding of our founding principal or any basis in economic reality or evidence to support his statements. As usual he claims the state will simply sell the lands when in reality that is not the case. The real reality is the states live in fear of the federal government selling these lands because at any time they can. The federal government’s power is based in those lands and with it they usurp the power that was originally granted to the states. Why would the states want to create a federal government that would have more power than them?

He is entitled to his opinion, however I have a few questions. Mr. Caswell states, “Others are working to use politics and the courts to reinterpret the law and undermine our national refuges, national forest, and other cherished public lands.”

I would propose to Mr. Caswell that this has already occurred. Politics and the courts have been used, and a grave miscarriage of justice has been perpetuated upon the Western States with respect to our ability to manage our affairs as we see fit.

How is it fair that the citizens from thirty-eight other states are allowed to tell us how to live our lives within our boarders? We are not treated equally with respect to our ability to compete on a level playing field with our sister states and we are not on equal footing with respect to our political rights, sovereignty and access to political power.

Where does he or any Constitutional scholar find in the U.S. Constitution, or any of our founding documents for that fact, the right to cherished public lands, national refuges, and national forest?

How does Mr. Caswell square our Constitution with the reality that every state in this Union shall be guaranteed a Republican form of government and shall protect each of them against invasion?

Does he even understand what a Republican form of government is? To enlighten him it is a competitive form of government where we compete for population based on our abilities to utilize the resources within our state and provide quality of life and economic opportunities and incentives for our citizens, both those living here and those looking for a better way to live. How do we compete with the other states for the power of the vote when they have the power to tell us how to live? Under his reasoning he is making us no more than serfs on the federal plantation.

I would offer to Mr. Caswell that the guarantee to Western States of a Republican form of Government has been denied and so too protection from invasion. You see we have been invaded and it is not buy any foreign power. No, we have been invaded by a lust for power from and ever expanding federal bureaucracy filled with elected officials, judges and bureaucrats who think they know best.

With control over the most valuable resources in the world they not only control the Western States they control the entire country. Look around Mr. Caswell we are 19 trillion dollars in debt and another 130 trillion in unfunded entitlements and you think we need to keep the course. We all know the definition of insanity.

This is not what the founders envisioned. If we are all to be guaranteed equal access to opportunity we can start by keeping the promise guaranteed to all the states and give the Western States their lands.

Martin Luther King stated, “The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice.” Our country has a great tradition of setting right its wrongs. We ended slavery, we conquered the bigotry and racism that followed and guaranteed Constitution rights for all Americans. With respect to the injustice of Western States and their ownership of lands it is time to correct this miscarriage of justice. Let’s stop with the mischaracterization of facts and let states decide how to manage their own affairs.

Our foundation as a nation is one based in balancing the common good with individual freedom and for that extension of freedom to be in balance states have to be treated equally with respect to their formation and entry into the union that makes up these United States of America.

I do not have the time to go into it here, however if Americans saw the true reality and the gross mismanagement of our public lands they would demand a change. It is a shame Mr. Caswell mask’s the realities that are the tragedies of what common ownership brings to our natural resources. My county lives with it every day!

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