This could easily be titled: The People vs. the government.
“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honour, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men” – John Adams, 2nd President of the United States.
When Adams wrote those words, America was an idea, a declaration of principle: the government is the servant, people are the sovereign.
The words of The Declaration of Independence offers us timeless wisdom:
“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, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…”
Too often “the people” fail to see that the government is not a living being even though it is staffed by people – by its basic definition: a government is a group of people that are given the power to rule in a territory, according to the law; it allocates authority in order to accomplish collective goals and provide benefits that the society as a whole needs.
Why do people choose to look the other way as the government violates ethics and is not held accountable for errors? What happens when documents contradict the information within?
When “The people” cross the line in allowing government employees to not follow standards and accountability- the lines become blurred.
The People who through it’s “Declaration of Independence” and it’s choice to be governed have EVERY right to know what the government does behind closed doors and quickly forget that their elected officials are there to ensure that The People’s money is being administered to the extent as the people wish and in a manner that is ethical and fair to all under its law.
What happens when the elected officials forget that THEY ARE NOT the government – that THEY ARE REPRESENTATIVES of “the People”?
What happens when the government’s employees violate rules and laws in the administration of conducting business for “the people”? Is the government and government employees above the law?
I have seen this first hand with my own eyes. I have seen “The People” turn on elected officials of “the people” for standing up and protecting laws and processes, for calling out government employees for not being forthcoming with the conduct of business, for identifying altered documents, for identifying improper notarizations, for questioning missing documents from municipal government, for questioning documents attesting things that supposedly were attached but when the paper trail was followed dates never matched up, … I have seen the elected official of “The People” ask for policies only to be met with re-direction and subterfuge methods to discredit the people’s representative.
I have been that person, an elected official of “The People” who reached out for a legal opinion from the government’s legal counsel – only to realize that I was inside the slaughterhouse and it was too late. The government will use every little word you say to twist and turn it in their favor. And the only thing left is to TRUST GOD.
The government, who was given breath – then cried out to “the people”:
“you ‘the people’ your elected official is insinuating wrongdoing by your government, what will you do to protect your government?!”
??? Really? The Government who operates behind closed doors and clearly seems to be beyond reproach now is reproaching the elected official of “the people” for talking to the people?!
Then, in classic “Game of Thrones” style- the tables are turned.
The Government used “the people” and turned them against its elected official and in doing so spreading distrust and division. Classic move indeed. Seen it with my own eyes in a small municipality can you imagine at the national level, let’s say… at The White House?!
Someone was telling me about corruption in government at the national level – I see it this way, corruption is not from the top to bottom. It’s from the bottom up. It’s “the people” being okay with negligence allowed at the local, county, and state levels that makes its way to the top – by the time they climb to the national – they are pros!
I would have said it’s not real, that’s not possible! Alas, I experienced it first hand. I experienced “The People” blindly giving a heart and breath to the government and watched it come to life as if it were a living entity… and in doing so – the people turned away from all that The Declaration of Independence not only promised us but also warned us from.
Every United States born (and naturalized) citizen has rights and responsibilities – one of them is to protect the Constitution. The U.S. Constitution- 14th Amendment -Section 1.: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. Which means that every born (or naturalized) United States citizens have ‘rights and responsibilities”
So by birthright I felt was doing the right thing… as well as by the oath of office that I swore on the Bible: ” I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida against all enemies, domestic or foreign, and that I will bear true faith, loyalty, and allegiance to the same, and that I am entitled to hold office under the Constitution; that I will faithfully perform all duties of the office of ____ of the City of *city name*, on which I am about to enter, so help me God.” (as stated on the city charter)
… and again, I took an oath when I applied to be a registered voter many years ago (it’s the fine print on the Florida voter registration application): “I will protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida, that I am qualified to register as an elector under the Constitution and laws of the State of Florida, and that all information in this application is true.”
So back to this Government vs. People: I thought that I was protecting the interest of “the People” and ensuring that the Government was administering the local, state laws and procedures ethically … I also was looking out for the best interest of “the People’s” hard-earned money as it promised, then in a most unexpected response “the people” turned against me for standing up for what I thought was the right thing, protecting against the errors of the government.
The Government- when seeing that there was proof in black and white of their errors -then took a stance, began limiting the voice of the one elected official of “the People” right in PLAIN VIEW managed to take away “the people’s” right to know what they do behind closed doors, took away “the people’s” right to ask for the calendar of meetings for the day, demanded it’s elected official of “the People” not speak to the people – this is all public record.
What did it matter if there was a government personnel policy book to address misconduct?
The Government with its deep reach into the pockets of “The People” – soon from no-fault nor design quietly and in open view… began to masterfully subdue and control. How can this be okay without oversight from “The People”?
How? I asked myself that same question. Easy… manipulation. The government pulls into its corner the other elected officials of “The People” creating majority support. Where then decisions could be influenced via votes – through a democratic process. All you need is a majority vote.
“The People” no longer aware of the snare, turn into vile shadows – using every chance to discredit the elected official of “the People” who believed was standing for the promises of The Declaration of Independence. And in classic mob-style an outcry that borders dangerously in violating the rights of a United States citizen: No, you can not display who you wish to vote for, No you can not endorse as a citizen your candidate for an election. No, we do not want you to as an elected official reach out to the government’s counsel for a legal opinion about the allegations made against you from “The Government”.
It almost sounded as if they were possessed by an evil force – as if every other sentence would be: “we want you to give into government rule… you are not free-man (or woman)!!”. They were blind to see that it could be them standing for – ‘the people’ – as the elected official.
The masterful trap was set: Two pieces of correspondence were leaked… by whom? How would I know, when the Government was the only one aware of them. I was not even included in the address of one of the correspondence – how would I even know what action to take if I never received the email?? yet, “The People” were turned and they wanted a target, and they had one. The other correspondence, I wrote the governments counsel seeking a legal opinion before bringing matters to the ‘elected body of the people’, I commented on my observation that I did not agree with the government administration – and thought they could not handle the role – but “The People” were going to believe what they wanted to believe – they instantly made up a story that I was seeking to have the person removed.
The public attack directed at me and not at the issue made me sad for my city. Yet, I rise because my Faith is my shield.
And so I ask… what matters when the People give up their rights…? Was not The Bill of Rights an answer to that? To restrict the actions of the government rather than to prescribe the rights of the citizen. Its purpose was clear – to protect the people from the government, NOT the other way around.
But such rights must be held together and renewed through action, and not just lip service. There is a deep contradiction between the values that America espouses and the reality of how its government behaves, both at the small city government and the national level.
The government’s authority comes solely from the Constitution—which is a social contract between the people and their government. This contract can be amended, but only by one party—The People. The government of the people, by the people, for the people, mandates that changes be approved by the ratification process defined in the Constitution. In fact, it has been amended twenty-seven times in the last century.
People in government take an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. This means they cannot ignore the Constitution, and they are also obligated to call out others who violate the Constitution. This oath is taken even at the local city levels, it’s no different.
Recent experience shows that this is not a common understanding – yet it seems that some remain confused. It could be concluded that some people think the Constitution made the government the boss. Others think it depends on the circumstances, time frame, safety issues, or the greater good. The Founders were never confused. Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. Period.
The depth of these implications may go over some people’s heads, possibly those folks who have served as an elected official and stood up for injustice may understand, otherwise, it’s like trying to explain to a man the pain of childbirth.
Let me repeat – is the government above the law?
If it’s not happening to you, this may be just another experience in someone else’s life… until it happens to You. Wait… indirectly it IS happening to all of us – because what we allow WILL continue. Wake up “we the people”!
I want to believe that there is Democracy, I have come to understand that unless “The People” stand for Truth, Integrity, and Accountability in government – failing to do so, then it’s simply a matter of time before The Declaration of Independence and the Right of the People will simply be an American Myth.