People often ask me: “Why don’t you brag more about what the Freeport Township has accomplished?”
I answer this question with a question of my own. “Why should we brag about something that the voters should demand of us anyway?”
As an active voter and elected official, I felt compelled to write this article, with the sole purpose of shedding light on what appears to be, in government, a lost and forgotten subject…. “We the People.” If you are not familiar with these three words then you may want to direct your attention to the United States Constitution and read its preamble.
Since its inception on September 17, 1787, ratified in 1788, and for the following 230 years, the United States Constitution has been the guiding principles of civil law and order in our country. The 39 delegates that signed the constitution understood the significance of the document. More importantly, they understood that it was imperative for the balance of power to always rest with the people and not the government.
Today it seems as though “We the People” have forgotten our place in the hierarchical structure of our government, or have been led to believe that we have no place at all. We have allowed ourselves to become hypnotized by political rhetoric, expecting (but more disheartening, accepting) the mediocre and sometimes despicable efforts and behaviors of some of our elected officials.
Political agendas and philosophies, combined with greed and self-gratification, have replaced what it truly means to serve and represent the people. It has become painstakingly obvious that some of our elected officials only harken to the voices of their political parties and special interests’ groups. These same elected officials deliberately ignore the cries of their constituents, their cries for fairness and equality, their cries for honesty and compassion, and their cries for someone to stand and fight for the greater good of all and not just a selective few.
This sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it? When you put it all into perspective, isn’t this one of the reasons why our country fought for its independence to begin with? Our elected officials are demanding more and more of our tax dollars, yet when it comes time to represent us, they are nowhere to be found.
A phrase attributed to James Otis around 1761 could possibly be used today: “No Taxation without Representation.” We are clearly not being represented by some of our elected officials, yet we are being taxed, and taxed heavily.
“That’s just politics” or “that’s just the way it is.” Whenever I hear comments like these, it makes me cringe because “We” the People are the will that drives our country, We are the amalgamated financial power behind our government and We are the pinnacle of the free world, yet We have allowed ourselves to be reduced to no more than just a voiceless mass.
History has shown us that any form of government, left unchecked, will evolve into totalitarianism when its people’s voices fall silent. Infringements upon First Amendment rights seem to be occurring all too often these days, just because some of our elected officials feel that they are above reproach.
It is time for all of us to take a serious look at not only who leads us, but where they are leading us. It is time for all of us to take a serious look at not only who represents us, but if they are truly representing all of us. Last but certainly not least, it is time for us to stop pleading with our elected officials to do their jobs, but start demanding that they do their jobs, and do them to our standards and not to their own.
Democracy is not for the weak, nor is accountability for the faint of heart. Leadership requires courage not cowardice, confidence not arrogance, and the God-given resolve to stand against the endless tides of political pressure, to do what’s best for the greater good of all.
Patrick Sellers is Freeport Township supervisor.