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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director
Sunday, October 27, 2019
America's PUBLIC SERVANTS Need To Be Served Up Some HUMBLE PIE
The U.S. Capitol Building Dome is seen through a beveled window at the Library of Congress in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Cheryl K. Chumley
One of the things that’s great about America is the fact that public servants work for the people. From presidents to police, from military generals to court clerks, from most teachers to many transportation officials — the common denominator among all is they’re employed by taxpayers, paid by taxpayers, accountable to taxpayers in word and deed.
So when someone like Kellyanne Conway, adviser to the most powerful person in the country, perhaps in the world, President Donald Trump, is captured on audio passively-aggressively berating a journalist and demanding explanation for coverage — “you’re gonna have to give me a journalistic reason” — it seems opportune to remind: In America, the public servant class works for the private citizenry.
It’s not the other way around.
There are far too many politicians and public servants who have been forgetting their proper station in American life in recent times.
And this is becoming one of the biggest headaches for those who value freedom, in the way the framers intended freedom to be in this country.
Once again, for those in the back of the room: America is a country founded on the basic principle that our individual rights come from God. They’re not bestowed by government. They’re not disbursed here, but not there, to this one, but not that one. They’re. From. God.
And that means government has no right to strip them away.
What’s more, that means government has no right to pretend a position of power or authority over the people that the people don’t explicitly give.
The government works for the people.
So when Rep. Adam Schiff wants to hold meetings about impeachment behind closed doors — it’s wrong.
When law enforcement authorities want to go to secret courts to obtain secret wire tapping abilities on American citizens, for reasons that are then kept secret — it’s wrong.
When members of Congress want to pass laws that exempt themselves from the very socialist health care system they force the American people to accept — it’s wrong.
When teachers in public schools overstretch their bounds by telling parents what should be in their children’s lunches, or by threatening parents for failing to sign forms that are voluntary, or by pretending as if parents need certain excuses to dismiss their children early from school — all the while using union power to go on strike and demand more, more, more in pay and benefits — it’s wrong.
When police intimidate citizens to stop recording activities on a public sidewalk; when the Internal Revenue Service holds up applications for non-profits for puzzling, even nefarious reasons; when White House administrations bypass Congress to issue unconstitutional executive orders on immigration and climate change; when state governments overtax and rather than refund, keep the money for a so-called rainy day; when county clerks at local court houses refuse to answer simple questions; when Department of Motor Vehicle employees treat customers as second-class annoyances; when local zoning and planning commissioners arrogantly deny permits that shouldn’t be denied and affix fees for private property activities that shouldn’t be affixed fees — it’s all wrong.
And when individuals paid by tax dollars and entrusted with high positions of power use those positions to belittle and demean and mock and even intimidate the bosses who employ them — it’s not just wrong. It’s time for the employers to remind everyone who’s the employer and who’s the employee. How so?
Here’s anidea: File a Freedom of Information Act request for local government officials’ salaries — and post them online. Others? File Sunshine Law requests for school superintendent and administrators’ contracts — and post them online. File FOIA requests for state representatives’ daily email correspondences — and post them online.
Or, tape record, in compliance with the law, telephone conversations with leading political figures who call to harass or intimidate — and post them online.
It’s all good. Whatever works. Whatever serves up the necessary slice of humble pie.
Remember: It’s not about Republican versus Democrat. It’s about individual rights; individual freedoms. It’s about the God-given, not the government granted.
And it’s only when government fears the people that there is true liberty.