Losing Equality Under the Law

This issue is dedicated to the subject of law. This is a pivotal theme not just for this issue, but also for all of America. First let me say something about myself because this article is very controversial: I would describe myself as an independent. I choose to look at information, test that information and then come to a conclusion not because of political party but the weight of critical thinking.

America was founded on the concept of equality under the law; equal treatment under the law regardless of social, political or financial status. From the President to the poorest citizen, the law should be applied equally.

This is a powerful concept and one that is so difficult to maintain. Increasingly, we have lost the concept of equality under the law as more and more financial and political elite seem exempt from prosecution. Average citizens go to jail for insider trading of stock for personal gain, but our own Congress has been exempt for years. Large corporations and banks break the law, and we are told they are evidently too big to fail or prosecute.

How did we get to this point?

The bigger government gets, the farther it is removed from its citizens. Thomas Jefferson once stated, “The best government is that which is closest to the people.”

There is an ever-increasing loss of power in the 50 states and a dramatic incursion of a centralized federal government into every aspect of our lives. Just ask yourself, is it easier to complain to your local congressman or senator than it would be to contact a federal official?

Local officials are your neighbors; they live in your environment. When power resides in the states, we have 50 incubators of different ideas. We can judge which laws work better. We can also leave one state and move to another if we don’t like the laws or their enforcement. We have 50 choices.

Let Colorado decide if they want recreational marijuana. In Pennsylvania, I believe in legalizing medical cannabis in delivery systems other than smoking, and I encourage it to be strictly regulated by the states.

The immigration law is another law that has not been equally applied or enforced. I think it is clear that we must have borders and controls on who enters this country. It is interesting to notice that the remedy for illegal immigration is never to punish large corporations that hire illegals and use them almost as slave labor; giving them substandard working conditions and wages. Many corporations want a broken system in which there is not only no equality under the law, but also no law at all.

In regards to the immigration issue, we must reform the immigration process with a humane visa process and a strong guest-worker program so that immigrant workers can have the same protection as any other worker in the work force.

Make no mistake, we are not moving closer to equality under the law; we are moving to a world of privilege and a world of having an elite political and corporate class and then the rest of us.

Graham Hetrick

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