Small Talk About Big Issues

Touching Base with Common Sense

Elected Officials: Arrogant or Representative

When we elect government officials, do we appoint them to represent our hopes, dreams, and desires?  Do we expect them to keep in touch with the Will of the People and act accordingly?  Or, alternatively, do we just cast our vote for the person we believe has the education, experience, and understanding necessary to make decisions for us regardless of our feelings? 

No doubt many honest politicians (I know, such a statement seems oxymoronic.) have struggled deeply with the above questions.  In fact, I have talked with several elected officials who truly grapple with balancing their personal feelings and the feelings of the people they represent with their own feelings of what is best for We the People

There seems to be a great divide between many Americans on this issue as is well evidenced in the October 10, 2010, issue of The Evening News in Jeffersonville, IN. 

On page A6 of that edition, Lisa Morris, of Sellersburg, IN, writes of “attending the Clark County Commissioners’ special meeting Oct. 28” and the Commission’s denying her access to information concerning county health coverage.  In fact, she states that Ed Meyer, president of the commissioners, spoke rudely to her stating that information the commissioners received was only for them.  She writes of her feelings after being talked to that way by stating, “Last time I checked, I thought you worked for us.”  Lisa Morris’ letter exemplifies with crystal clarity that she feels our elected officials should listen to the Will of the People and act accordingly.  

Conversely, on page A8 of that edition, Morton Marcus, an acclaimed economist, writes an article titled: “Best Hoosier jobs are out of state”.  In his article, Marcus writes of a fictional conversation between himself and “Indiana’s third U.S. senator, the Honorable Phineas Fogghorn”.  In paragraph 16, Marcus writes, “In my numerous years as a public servant…too often I have represented the views of my constituents rather than their best interests.”  Wow…there it is as plain as day.  Marcus, with his great education and experience, believes elected officials should act not as representatives of the Will of the People, but as decision makers for the People.  In his scenario, the Will of the People has no bearing on the decisions made because they are, evidently, not smart enough to know what they want and need. 

The voice of Lisa Morris represents the growing distrust and disillusionment of We the People toward our nation’s elected elite.  Morton Marcus’ voice, on the other hand, represents the pure and unmitigated arrogance of the people of power.  Apparently, Morris believes that millions of adult Americans should be able to decide for themselves what is best, and Marcus believes the average American does not have the wherewithal to make sound decisions in their best interest. 

Furthermore, Morris’ letter describes the way our government officials should act, and Marcus’ article describes the way their arrogance causes them to act. 

Which is the right way?  Let’s let our Founding Fathers answer this question.

“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.”

  The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776  (emphasis mine, JLM)


November 10, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. Hey John-
    Great article laying out the contrasting attitudes of government leaders and “we the people”. Many of them it seems to me get “drunk on power” once they are ensconced in their seats in Washington D.C. and know better than their constituents and at times go against the will of their constituents because “they” know better than “we” do.

    Comment by Michael Williams | November 10, 2010 | Reply

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