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Doug Haaland

Leadership Isn’t About Your Feelings

If ever I was in any position to actually be accountable, I would be accountable to the will of the voters. I would not (put) my personal opinions in the way of the public’s right to make a determination of where they want to take us, as (it) relates to the death penalty.” Sept. 15., 2016 Lt. Governor of California, Gavin Newsom


Doug Haaland

These altruistic words of Gavin Newsom to the editorial board of the Modesto Bee, during the 2016 battle over the elimination vs the acceleration of the death penalty, melted away like the Sierra Nevada snowpack with his declaration of a death penalty moratorium in California.

Simply put, he acted exactly as he said he wouldn’t and justified his actions by proclaiming the death penalty “…is inconsistent with our bedrock values and strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian.” (Emphasis added.)

How utterly patrician! Apparently, Governor Newsom never read the quote by President Dwight D. Eisenhower who said, “You don’t lead by hitting people over the head—that’s assault, not leadership.”

Having been slapped in the face by more than 7 million California voters that rejected his ballot measure calling for the repeal of the death penalty in 2016, our governor decided he’d smack 7+ million voters over the head and show them all!

Not only would he impose his own “opinion” on these ill-advised, half-wit voters, much like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo when he announced that conservatives weren’t welcome in his state, Governor Newsom declared that supporting the death penalty likely means you aren’t suited to be a “Californian.” Your beliefs aren’t welcome in the rarified haut monde circles of his travels.

Beyond the cruelty of ignoring the “will of the people” he once claimed to respect and outside of the derision shown to the thousands of victims and their families awaiting justice, Governor Newsom seems to condone a total disregard of California’s system of due process.

Lost in his pursuit to show the 737 felons awaiting execution his amazing depth of compassion was the fact that these iniquitous reprobates were participants in a public trial for their heinous crimes. This means the governor’s executive order also vacated the legal decisions of district attorneys responsible for the prosecution and sentencing of these criminals.

Additionally, beyond the disrespect shown by the governor to the district attorneys and staff across our state involved in these 737 felony prosecutions was his contempt for the service of nearly 9,000 Californians called as jurors for these often-horrific trials. This governor’s personal “feelings” about the death penalty need to be informed by the trauma the men and women of our state who served as jurors in these trials.

On a personal level, I had the opportunity to speak with the jurors who were seated in the trial of my grandson’s killer and I can assure you each of their lives were horribly and unalterably changed as they waded through the graphic evidence presented during the trial.

Such flagrant disregard of not just the voters of our state, but crime victims, the legal system, and even people called upon to sit in judgement in such cases holds significant peril for all Californians.

Politicians are increasingly substituting emotions and personal opinions in place of laws intended to govern us. Some examples are eliminating requirements for felons to register as sexual predators if they’re less than 10 years older than their victims and removing brutal criminality from the list of “violent felonies” for the purpose of lowering or eliminating prison sentences. They also impose “sanctuary” laws and pass laws whose only purpose is to “control” the day-to-day lives of law-abiding folks, while also imposing new taxes to pay for failures of government to apply previously collected monies.

Ruling by emotional edict has a price that will and must be paid through the erosion of trust of the governed. It’s already being experienced in many places, including local regions in Colorado.

In addition to imposing “sanctuary” policies in Colorado, liberal legislators are poised to enact “gun laws” a growing number of local law enforcement leaders are opposing. In fact, sheriffs in many counties are declaring their jurisdictions “2nd Amendment” sanctuaries for owners of firearms impacted by the new law.

The response from Attorney General of Colorado, Phil Weiser was local law enforcement swore an “oath to uphold the rule of law.” He further said, “If a sheriff cannot follow the law, the sheriff cannot do his or her job. The right thing to do for a sheriff who says, ‘I can’t follow the law’ is to resign.” (Emphasis added.)

While it’s not often that liberals hit upon a reasonable response to efforts that undermine the rule of law in our country, I believe Attorney General Weiser has a point worth considering. Maybe our “ruling class” should take a stand on issues their delicate sensibilities tell them are abhorrent and resign. Then take their emotions and find some other pulpit for spreading their version of “bedrock values” and what it takes to be a member of a “Fill in the Blank” state.