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Viewpoint: Which laws should Delawareans obey? And who gets to decide?

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Sam Waltz
Founding Publisher

Is hypocrisy an issue in Delaware politics?

Each of us should tread carefully in answering that provocative question, lest we “cast the first stone.” However, when it comes to hypocrisy in Delaware politics, plenty of stones can be tossed. And should be.

This column is occasioned by a slow Saturday morning exchange with Kerri Evelyn Harris, who challenged Sen. Tom Carper in the Democratic primary back in 2018. Harris objected to a Red Clay School Board member’s failed attempt at humor in asserting his 2nd Amendment beliefs on social media.

She called for Jason Casper’s resignation from the school board for his posting of a frequently shared meme: “Guns are like potato chips. You can’t have just one.” She called out other posts as well that she saw as violating the Democratic Party’s new socialist ethos.

In the world of social media, I wonder who amongst us has not engaged in a bit of failed humor.

Worse, in the thankless world of non-political school boards – they don’t even identify political affiliation in elections – it is absurd that an amateur civil servant should be punished for voicing his political views, particularly when he already has offered his regrets for posting the bad joke.

In an exchange of a half-dozen notes on each end, I noted the hypocrisy of her position, when she cited the concept of “standards” that need to be upheld.

Few things are more important in upholding standards than when they are elevated and translated into the Rule of Law, one of the cornerstones of this great country since its founding.

And yet when I criticized Democrats for advocating that the State of Delaware defy Federal Law, she countered that I was using “semantics” and implied that I was bringing up extraneous issues.

But what about Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester’s calls for the State of Delaware to become a sanctuary state? That would mean officially sanctioning undocumented immigrants who by their very presence here are in violation of Federal Law.

Many Democrats in the Delaware General Assembly want the State of Delaware to engage in civil disobedience in the name of its citizens and thumb the State’s nose at Federal drug laws by “legalizing marijuana,” an act that is illegal under Federal law, since the state has no authority to pick which Federal laws it will choose to obey.

Marijuana is listed as a Schedule I narcotic drug, and its possession, use and sale is generally against the law, even though prosecution of the offenses is spotty.

The real remedy to this dissonance is pretty straightforward.

Members of Congress like Rochester should simply “fix” the federal laws they feel need to be fixed rather than counsel – in apparent violation of their oaths of office to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the state and the nation – the violation of those laws.

Rather than continue the Saturday morning email dialogue, my political correspondent abruptly ended it.

I’d love for a politician to come forward and address the question of how one chooses which public laws and standards we should uphold and which laws we should brazenly violate.

How do we know the difference? And what does it mean for the Rule of Law in America, where law-making is the province of the citizens’ elected representatives? 

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