by Joe B. Lyman
There is a question as to whether Commissioner Phil Lyman acted as an individual or as a Commissioner in leading the protest rally and ride on May 10, 2014.
Statements have been made that seem in conflict – well in the confusion of things that can happen but does not necessarily imply dishonest intent.
As I recall the ride was conceived in an open public meeting. Someone proposed the ride as a protest against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other Federal Agencies actions outside of constitutional restraint. That someone was not Phil Lyman, but acting in behalf of his constituents he took the lead.
Was he acting alone as a Commissioner without the full support of the rest of the commissioners?
Sadly it appears so but I can’t say for sure because I don’t know the heart and intent of the other commissioners at the time. Was he acting alone as an individual – absolutely not.
He likely would not have had any involvement but for his role as a commissioner. He was responding to the request of the people he represents as a commissioner.
He has done so with great dignity and courage in the face of the overwhelming power of the Federal Government, which seemingly unlimited power is the very reason for the protest.
Phil deserves not only our respect, but our support. That support has come from the Blanding City Council in passing a unanimous resolution condemning the BLM.
That support has also come from similar resolutions from numerous other cities and counties across the state and even from other states. And finally, thankfully, that support has come from the San Juan County Commission and a coalition of the other counties in Utah.
One rallying cry against Commissioner Lyman is that he broke the law and should pay the consequences. I contend that he acted in accordance with the law to which he swore an oath. That law is the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Utah.
The Federal Government is expressly forbidden to own land except for certain specific purposes and only with the consent of the legislature of the state in which the land is owned, as declared in Section 8 of the Constitution.
“Congress shall have power to…exercise like authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.”
Decades of legal obfuscation do not change the simple language of The Law of the Land.
I do not believe the tens or hundreds of thousands of pages of bureaucratic legalize, which constitute the policies of federal agencies that carry the weight of law but without any real oversight by those they govern, are the Constitutional Law of the Land.
I believe they violate the principle of government by the consent of the governed.
We can debate the right and the wrong way to go about changing things and some will judge that the protest ride was the wrong way.
I respect those who believe that but I wonder how many of them realize that the Juan Palma of the BLM essentially authorized the ride as a legitimate protest and promised no arrests would be made.
That lie, among other evidence, was not allowed in the recent trial.
I contend that when government exceeds the authority granted to it by the people it becomes the duty of all citizens to resist and oppose that government.
I believe that the ride was justified and the right thing to do.
I believe that those involved stood ‘against the law’ in good company with Nelson Mandela, Mohandas Gandhi, Rosa Parks and other historical figures who stood for what was right despite ‘the law’ of their time.