“We get the government we deserve”…..right? This quote, attributed to French political philosopher, Alexis de Toqueville, must surely explain our current political class. From the lowliest township and city governments, to the highest echelons of our federal government – even international governing bodies – we see daily proof of the elitist ruling class run amok, spending taxpayers into oblivion. They are the politicians, who smile and promise during campaign season, then look down upon their constituents – from the dais of their comfortable, well-appointed council chambers.
Hubris seemed unmistakably and publicly displayed last Thursday evening to the concerned citizens who attended the Blue Ash City Council Meeting. They came to voice their objections and plead their case against the temporary sale of 130 acres of Blue Ash airport property back to the City of Cincinnati. One of the stated reasons for the sale is to satisfy FAA regulations that determine how funds received from the sale of airport property can be spent. Some have suggested that rescinding the previous sale of the property was engineered so the money could be used to help the City of Cincinnati finance the controversial streetcar project. Many voiced their hopes to keep the Blue Ash Airport operational and profitable.
The citizens who spoke at the meeting were unanimous in their opposition to the sale. Blue Ash City Council members voted 6 to 1 in favor of the sale. In this instance, the citizens and their elected representative have a fundamental disagreement. Are the politicians, in Blue Ash and elsewhere, in touch with the taxpayers they are elected to represent?
To even the most casual observer, watching the actual city council vote on the ordinance was almost secondary to the unfolding spectacle during the public comments portion of the meeting – the array of facial expressions, body language, and general demeanor of some council members appeared barely concealed while listening to public comments. Occasional impatience, restlessness, boredom, fatigue, and even anger could not be completely hidden from observors. After public comments concluded, a seemingly outraged council member declared that it is “our turn” to speak now.
Is Blue Ash a microcosm of a much more widespread problem? Like parents who consistently reward their children’s misbehavior, we, the citizens and taxpayers, have repeatedly rewarded and elected officials who don’t actually represent our values and principles. Our taxpayer dollars are often carelessly squandered and budget deficits continue to grow. The same few get re-elected, with promises, a wink, and a handshake.
The council members bore a resemblance to children with their hands caught in the proverbial cookie jar. Why? Because they are rarely questioned, challenged, or even opposed – at city council meetings or on the ballot. We have taught our elected officials that we are uninterested. And they, in turn, can do as they please, and point fingers and give us a scolding while doing so.
Our Founding Fathers knew the absolute necessity of good character and morals in those who are elected to serve the people. An educated and engaged populace must also hold them accountable. As Thomas Jefferson said, “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.”
So, it is incumbent upon us – we the people. We must ask questions, get involved, and hold our elected representatives accountable, to their campaign pledges and sworn oaths. We are called to act and to serve as citizens. We have a duty and responsibility to be involved in government, and demand accountability and transparency. Someone else is not going to do it.
Some say this is this most important election of our lifetime. I agree with Carl Brown who says, “2008 was the most important election of our lifetime.” So are we nearing the end of the road of this great experiment in man’s freedom and self governance? Is this the end of our great republic? In four more years, will we even recognize our country?
So ask yourselves this – what are you doing, at this critical moment in our nation’s history, to help restore America? What are you thinking about doing? What are you waiting for?… please, don’t ponder too long – we have precious little time before November 6. As of this moment, we are counting down from 83 days, 2000 hours,….
I was always taught, “Actions speak louder than words.” This applies to both the citizens and their representatives. How will you respond? How will you serve? Can you spare an hour a week? Perhaps, two? Challenge yourself – our very existence as a free people depends upon it. It’s up to you.