An Observation On Current Events

While reading the news recently, I was struck by the similarities between the ongoing tragedy in North Dakota involving their governor, Jack Dalrymple, and a certain Seleucid (Persian) king from two millennia ago.

Antiochus III was ruler of the old Persian empire during the late 3rd century BCE into the early 2nd century BCE. When he came to power, he discovered that many years of high living and poor governmental choices by his predecessors had reduced the country’s treasury to nearly nothing. The Seleucid empire already had a crushing tax burden so more taxes were not the solution. Antiochus’ answer was to pillage the temples of subjugated countries and take the treasure found there. In those days, people gave gifts to the temples of their gods in an attempt to procure divine favor. Over time, those gifts accumulated into a sizeable fortune. Antiochus III knew this and, since his army was quite large and formidable, he also knew that the subject nations could not or would not resist him. In any case, this Persian ruler (known as “the Great”) stooped to common thievery in order to fill his country’s coffers. He was killed while attempting to plunder a temple. A fitting end. What he did was wrong, perhaps evil, even then.

His son, Antiochus IV, followed in his father’s footsteps and continued the policy of pillaging temples. The Hanukkah story involves him and his misguided adventures.

Now we come a couple of thousand years forward in time to 2016, where another “Antiochus” is attempting to fill coffers (perhaps his state’s or, perhaps, just his own) at the expense of a People that cannot easily defend themselves. Jack Dalrymple is trying to force the Lakota to accept a pipeline that, illegally, crosses not just their treaty guaranteed lands but sacred burial grounds as well. In the true tyrannical tradition, where what the tyrant wants is all and what is right does not matter, Governor Dalrymple is breaking the law and making a continued mockery of the U.S. Constitution by his constant assault on the treaty rights of the Lakota.

Jack, what part of “…treaties…shall be the supreme law of the land…” (U.S. Constitution, Article 6, section 2) is not plain to you and your ilk? The Fort Laramie treaty of 1851 says nothing about your right to violate Lakota land, let alone the violation of their burial grounds.

States like yours are always trying to say that not dealing with certain issues in the treaties means the states have the right to make up their own interpretation, thus doing things their own way. Sadly for you, that only applies to the U.S. Constitution where that very situation is mentioned in conjunction with constitutional issues. Treaty law is very different. If a situation is not dealt with in a treaty, it is not an issue. This is a very simple legal principle.

Still, evil and corrupt individuals (there, I said it) are not bothered by the law. Neither is Jack Dalrymple and his rotten group of supporters who believe it is just OK to steal in the name of state (or personal) fiscal stability.

What are you teaching our children, Jack? You and yours should be very afraid for the future you are making. Of course, a crook only looks at the present and, judging from past history, you are not alone in your crookedness.

Dave Choate