Government does not know best.
Whether talking about the federal government in Washington D.C., the General Assembly in Atlanta, the county commission or city council, government does not know better than the citizens it represents.
Whether it is State Representative Rick Jeffares’ unilateral attempt to change the governance of the Henry County Commission and its chairman, or the city council of Stockbridge annexing residential areas by legislation rather than through a process that requires notification of the affected neighborhoods and businesses, or the McDonough city council choosing to go behind closed doors to talk about what could be discussed in public, those elected to office should never usurp the will of the public or assume they know more about what is right for their community than the public at large.
We do not elect officials to think for us.
We elect them to represent us.
That is what is meant by the word “republic,” a representative form of government.
Given a choice between the will of elected officials and the will of ordinary citizens, we should always defer to the people.
The people we elect should never be so audacious so as to usurp the rights and interests of citizens.
Public service is not autocratic rule.
Being elected to office should not be viewed as being placed in a position of authority and privilege.
The Declaration of Independence, provides, “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.”
These words are primary to our entire form of government.
Governing power is rightly held by the governed, citizens, and not by the governing, elected officials.
We have protections in place, laws, to prevent a governing class from seizing power away from citizens.
The problem, however, is that citizens and 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 very citizens they are elected to serve.
Power, true power, should never belong to officials.
It should always belong to citizens.
— Editor Jim Zachary