I subscribe to the Patriot Post Founders Quote Daily and very much enjoy pondering the words of wisdom that have come down to us from our founding fathers. Today this gem appeared in my in-box:
“An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over
his fellow citizens….There has never been a moment of my life
in which I should have relinquished for it the enjoyments of my
family, my farm, my friends & books.”
– Thomas Jefferson (letter to John Melish, 13 January 1813)
Do we take Jefferson’s words at face value? If so, we must conclude that there are very few “honest men” or women in elected office or in the employment of government today. Everywhere we turn we see career politicians and bureaucrats who delight in exercising power over their fellow citizens.
From the school board to the city council, the county commission, the state legislature, congress and every bureaucracy in between, we find individuals who have maneuvered to increase their personal control over others, and by inference, their resources.
It is true that government employees are hired to carry out government functions. But so very many of them conspire to increase their own power by expanding their personal “kingdom” and their control over their neighbors.
Elected officials perhaps bear the greater guilt when they take delight in enlarging their power. So very many – in fact, almost all – forget that they were elected to represent the people to government, and instead begin to represent government to the people. There’s a big difference.
Some will say it’s for the best that most Americans do not stop to tally all the ways government officials have connived to place them in a veritable choke hold. They take their hard-earned money, over-regulate their business pursuits, and increasingly seek control over citizens’ personal behavior, religion, families and homes.
Many of those same individuals will say that the security gained from such government overreaching is worth every cent extracted from citizens, every liberty lost, each additional link in the confining chain.
A few disagree.
If citizens en masse ever “waken to their awful situation”, there will be a revolution, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the birth of our nation.
Certainly, complacent citizens bear responsibility when those who act in the name of government usurp power. No individual should be trusted with any control over others without keen oversight of the governed.
Have you done your civic duty by attending city council meetings? By paying attention to the legislature when it’s in session? Did you vote on the school bond?
It takes time, effort and vigilance to keep track of government and it’s workers. It’s not easy to search out and vote for honest men and women. And it is even more difficult to vote out the dishonest ones.
Government will continue to be run by dishonest men and women. Government will continue to fail to “govern” itself.
Someone must step forward.
Are you up for the fight?
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