President Ronald Reagan famously said, “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.”
Whether we are talking about federal government in Washington, D.C., the General Assembly in Atlanta, the county commission, the city council or board of education, government does not know better than the men and women it represents.
We elect people to office to represent us. That is what is meant by the word “republic” — a representative form of government.
The people we elect should never abridge the rights and interests of their constituents.
While they sit at the legislative table, they should never think they know better than the people who call them on the telephone, email them, show up for public comments during the meeting and express their points of view.
Public service should always be about serving the public and elected officials should go into office, sit in office and leave office with the heart of a servant.
Holding elected office should not be viewed as a position of authority and privilege.
The Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Our governors, at all levels, only have the powers we give them.
All real power belongs to the governed, the public, and not to the governing, elected officials.
Checks and balances are intended to prevent a governing class from seizing power away from the people.
Unfortunately, most of us — including the media — have become accustomed to looking the other way while officials have become accustomed to looking out for themselves.
The intention of a public servant should never be to simply do what is necessary to get re-elected.
The intention should always be to adequately, competently and ethically represent the interests of the general public they are elected to serve.
The public has the right, if not the responsibility, to keep a watchful idea on its government and to hold its governors accountable.
Transparency — access to the deliberations of all legislative bodies and all documents held in government halls — is essential to accountability.
Government does not always know best.
Government does not exist to think for us.
Government should not be our father — or our big brother.