It’s been a tumultuous year in Utah politics and on May 13, 14 and 15th, “Sheriff” Richard Mack and Oathkeepers founder Stewart Rhodes held political Liberty Conventions in Logan, Moroni and Holiday. Political activist Benjamin Lowe attended two of the rallies and in the aftermath, finds himself contemplative.
In the late Seventies, Lowe attended meetings and seminars sponsored by the National Center for Constitutional Studies (NCCS), a group founded by W. Cleon Skousen. Lowe describes himself as “Constitutional conservative,” a political position he has held for many years.
As a political activist, Lowe has attended many Republican and rightwing meetings and rallies. He has served as a precinct chairman, and as both a state and county delegate, many times through the years.
Lowe remembers observing Mack, when he was a Provo city police officer, pull over a lady with rowdy children in her vehicle. The story is famous among “Sheriff Mack” fans, and Lowe was actually parked in his truck in Southwest Provo at the time and observed the entire incident.
Sheriff Mack had an “epiphany” at the time, coming to a profound realization that ticketing the lady would not help her. Mack was aware that she did not mean to run the stop sign, an act that led Mack not only to tear up a ticket and drive away, but the incident led Mack to quit the Provo Police Department and move to Arizona. He became a County Sheriff in Graham County.
Lowe was one of the creators and leaders of the Jefferson Network, a pioneering constitutional group in Utah that was started in 1995. Lowe worked closely with Joseph Stumph, who also had a group called the “Committee of Fifty States,” which was chaired by former Utah Governor J. Bracken Lee but directed by Stumph, which upheld the right of states to make “lawful sucession” from the federal union, if they so desire. Lowe has been a long time supporter of the 10th Amendment and of the primary powers of states and counties over federal power.
Benjamin first formally met Richard Mack in 1996, just previous to the time when Richard Mack moved back to Utah County and ran for Utah County Sheriff. Lowe participated on his campaign on an active basis in 1998. “Anti-constitutional liberals and moderates in Utah Valley fabricated evidence,“ says Low, “that led to the unethical defeat of Richard Mack. They created a negative picture that fixed with the public in the last days of the election, and he went down to defeat.”
Lowe has huge dissatisfaction with the current leaders of the federal government, and with the leaders of both major political parties. “Senator Bob Bennett was removed from office by Utah voters this year because it was obvious to those in the know that he did not uphold the constitution,” says Lowe. When asked who he has liked as conservative leaders, he hesitantly says that Reagan was the closest this country has had to a conservative President, but even Reagan was not a true conservative. When asked who he considers to be have been the “true conservatives,” Lowe replies: “J. Bracken Lee, Joseph Stumph, W. Cleon Skousen, Ezra Taft Benson, Richard Mack, and Stewart Rhodes, but of course there is only one person who was more of a true conservative than any of these men.”
And who might that be?
He replies, “Jesus Christ.”