Blue Water Tea Party

Help put your nation's feet back on the path on which our nation was founded

Silent Majority No More

What is the role of our elected representatives and what is our role as citizens?

 

As I speak with elected officials at varying levels of government, there appears to be a differing of opinion as to what our respective roles are. It seems that most of those elected have the opinion that once they have been elected, they are then free to pursue what is believed by them to be best for their constituency. I was told that they were elected because we trusted them to use their superlative judgment and knowledge. If we disagree with the decisions being made, we can then vote for another during the next election.

 

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know that each election we were hiring a new class of elite to make our decisions and tell us that they know better. Perhaps we are just misinformed or “not up on all the issues”. It is no wonder, under this scenario, that we just do not understand.

 

The role of every citizen is to make certain that your representatives know what you expect and to hold them accountable for their votes. When there was a discussion regarding the International Corridor Inter-Local Agreement, our commissioners heard loud and clear from the public that it was not wanted. It was then voted on and passed by a 5 to 2 margin with only Steve Simasko and Dave Rushing being responsive to the people.

 

Petitions with more than 5,000 certified signatures were then filed with the county asking for a vote of the people before going forward. Our County Clerk, Jay DeBoyer, on the advice of the county attorney (who also represents the board of commissioners) stated that we, as citizens, have no right to vote on the issue. I wish that I could understand how the attorney can represent both the commissioners and the clerk, who may at times have opposing views, without there being a conflict of interest. I would like to understand why, with more than 5,000 valid signatures, we are told that it doesn’t matter what the electorate wants.

 

When the County Commissioners discussed the new County Convention Center, once again people showed up at their meetings en-masse. Voices were heard loudly and clearly that this convention center was not wanted by those that would end up paying for it. Those who did speak in favor of the center were those most likely to directly profit from its existence. We heard from the builders, the culinary school, and various local business owners. Those opposed could only respond that we shouldn’t pay via fees, bonds or taxes for their profits. The commissioners voted again by the same 5 to 2 margin to go forward with the convention center bonds.

 

Once we understand what many of our elected officials think of “the masses,” it becomes easier to understand why many of our County Commissioners react to the public as they have over the last year. Whether it was the vote to approve the Inter-Local Agreement for the I-69 corridor or the vote to indebt us all to build a Convention Center that most of their constituents do not want, it is apparent that our value to them is only during election season for our vote. We need to let them know that we will only support those who will respect the expressed will of the majority of the people they serve.

 

Yes, the electorate can and should eliminate those who disrespect them at election time. At the same time, shame on the brazen ‘political class’ elitists who are certain they know best and snub their noses at the public, apparently doubtful they will be held accountable.

 

Shame also on local media willing to use their platform to help promote and protect the politics they support. Their role is subtle (the most effective marketing always is) but unmistakable to those paying attention. Those who produce and control the media, and news outlets especially, are in a powerful position to affect public perception. The temptation to shape it is overwhelming. The discipline of honest journalistic neutrality has largely given way to the art of projecting the appearance of neutrality—a game of good cop/bad cop.

 

Both of the issues: The Inter-Local Agreement and the Convention Center are public / private partnership. Know that every time we mix government and private business, the private makes money and the public will always pay. Elections are coming once again. Learn who your commissioner is. Find out if he has listened to his constituents and vote accordingly.