By Amy Silverman
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By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
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But just seven years later, Governor Symington has seen the light and now uses "states' rights" rhetoric that could come from Mecham's 1982 book, Come Back America.
In the early 1980s, Mecham was calling for the return of federal lands to state control, getting the federal government out of education, putting states in charge of welfare and eliminating income taxes. Mecham was forging a platform to turn the nation back from Roosevelt's New Deal "socialism" to a Jeffersonian democracy as long ago as the 1960s.
Removed from office in April 1988, his Glendale Pontiac auto dealership sold, Evan Mecham appeared to be permanently cut out of Arizona political life. He was largely remembered as the governor who rescinded the Martin Luther King paid holiday in Arizona.
It is forgotten that Mecham revoked the paid holiday only after receiving a legal opinion from former state attorney general Bob Corbin--an opinion holding that the holiday was illegally created by Mecham's predecessor, former governor Bruce Babbitt. A strict constitutionalist, Mecham says he had no choice but to repeal the holiday.
It's this literal view of the Constitution--both federal and state--that has brought Mecham political fortune and disaster. Mecham's political career has had more ebbs and flows than a desert wash. Once again, the waters are rising.
Mecham finds himself in the middle of a surging tide of constitutional enthusiasm sweeping through the country. Mecham now is leading a nationwide effort to put an independent constitutionalist in the White House in 1996.
"Let's just get back to the Constitution and elect a president who doesn't owe their election to special interests and to the world elitists," Mecham says.
Perhaps because of his long-shot, much-derided but ultimately successful campaign for governor in 1986, Mecham earnestly believes that a constitutionalist candidate can win the White House.
"This thing is just happening so fast it is going to explode," he says.
Mecham vows he will not be a candidate this time around. But he is trying to convince scores of constitutional organizations scattered across the country to unite, at least long enough to nominate one independent candidate for president.
Worked out in detail last month at the Mid-American Constitution Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, the national constitutionalist plan involves formation of a grassroots group called the Constitutionally Unified Republic for Everybody, or CURE. The group will be subdivided into state groups, under the name Take America Back.
The members of each Take America Back group will select delegates to attend a national CURE convention, where a presidential candidate will be nominated early next year.
According to Mecham, who is leading the unification movement as chairman of the Constitutionalist Networking Center, some of the leading contenders for the nomination are former U.S. representative William Dannemeyer of California; Charles Collins, a conservative businessman from Florida; and California state Senator Don Rogers.
Mecham is convinced the public will vote for an independent candidate; he points to Ross Perot's 1992 run for the presidency.
"You don't need a party," says Mecham. "We've been brainwashed into thinking you have to have a party to do anything. But that isn't it at all. That's the way they have kept control, is through parties."
They play a big role in Mecham's world view and political philosophy.
Internationally, they are conspiring to disarm America and turn U.S. troops over to the control of the United Nations. Mecham says President Kennedy started the process through a State Department directive titled "Freedom From War." President Bush accelerated the move toward a one-world government, controlled by the United Nations, by engaging in the Persian Gulf War.
Nationally, they undermine the Constitution by illegally passing laws that give the federal government powers properly reserved to the people and the states. Mecham says this shift in power is being systematically undertaken by "elitists." As evidence, he points to the book Tragedy and Hope by the late Dr. Carroll Quigly, a former Georgetown University professor and mentor to President Clinton.
"He tells how they took over the education system, the entertainment industry, the principal parts of the media, the banking system, thus controlling the economy and thus controlling the country," Mecham says. "And that's working to put everything into a one-world socialistic superstate in which the United States ceases to be an independent country."
They may even have been responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing, Mecham implies. Many people at the Mid-American Constitution Conference are having a hard time believing the government's explanation concerning the bombing, Mecham explains.
"There is a general feeling that it is as phony as a three-dollar bill," Mecham says.
And locally, they corrupt public officials and run drugs into the country, destroying the lives of children and crippling the work force.
Once they saw that he was trying to stem the drug flow into Arizona, they decided he needed to be removed from the governor's office, Evan Mecham says.
Freedom of Press, Punch and Shove
Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack burst into national prominence in February 1994 when he filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Brady Bill. Before that, Mack was just a rural county sheriff whose biggest headache was environmentalists protesting construction of telescopes on nearby Mount Graham.