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October 25, 2010

Ways to a Clear Future…

Shawn Burns

The word democracy does not appear once in the Constitution. That’s because the architects of our country created for us a republic in which we elect leaders based on our faith that they will work on our behalf and in our best interest to make laws.


Maybe we should move toward a democratic form of government so that “we the people” have more direct control over our government.


True and meaningful bipartisanship no longer exists in national politics. And the battle between believers in a unitary system verses believers in states’ rights will battle on, I’m afraid, for all eternity without ever reaching a resolution.


It’s easy to feel disconnected, jaded and indifferent from our representatives and politics in general on the national level. Sometimes I look and listen to the things said by our national representatives and I desperately try to figure out whether they are insane, or is it me? The majority of those people in Washington certainly don’t represent me, nor do they even attempt – or pretend – to care about representing me or anyone else who voted for them.


Part of the reason for this disconnect between elected representatives and the people is due to a political climate in Washington that lacks accountability to the voters.


The voters and taxpayers of this country need to start forcing more recall elections to get rid some of our most ineffective representatives. We need to hold these people publicly accountable by saying, “You’re doing such a bad job that we can’t even wait until the end of your term to kick you out. We are going to hold a special election right now to kick you out.” That might finally get their attention and turn things around.


Luckily, all is not lost. The real possibility for change and real possibility of having representatives who actually represent us, can still be found at the local level. This is where our votes can truly make a difference.


John Locke defined our unalienable rights as life, liberty and property. He also believed that these rights can only be taken from us by God. Government is created to protect our unalienable rights.


One week from tomorrow, if history repeats itself, voter turnout will be low. That’s a shame for us here in Frederick County because we theoretically have the opportunity to elect five new county commissioners and four new members to the Frederick County Board of Education.


The people we elect to these two boards will control all of our local tax money. That’s worth repeating. The Board of County Commissioners and the Board of Education control all of our tax money.


The people we elect on November 2 will control, spend and hopefully save our money for the next four years.


Since the primary election, two distinct slates have emerged in the county commissioners’ race.


Incumbent County Commissioner Kai Hagen is leading one slate that consists of Linda Norris, Ellis Burruss, Janice Wiles and fellow incumbent David Gray. Mr. Hagen doesn’t like his slate to be called that. Instead he prefers that you call them a “team.”


The second slate of candidates is lead by County Commissioner Blaine Young. Mr. Young, who was appointed in March of this year, has been working with fellow candidates C. Paul Smith, Kirby Delauter and Billy Shreve.


The team of Young, Smith, Delauter and Shreve are running on a platform that speaks to the waste and free spending ways in which the county has been run for the last decade. This group of candidates has pledged to cut spending, stop waste, create a more business friendly environment that encourages job growth and to eliminate, or reduce, regulations and fees they feel are hurting businesses in the county. Both Mr. Young and Mr. Delauter have said they will only serve one-term if elected because they only want to be in office long enough to help straighten out the financial mess the county is facing.


Mr. Hagen’s team is opposed to the previously approved waste-to-energy facility (incinerator). Strangely Mr. Hagen’s team member, Mr. Gray seems to have forgotten that he voted for the waste-to-energy facility. But those kinds of facts apparently don’t matter.


Mr. Hagen’s team is anti-growth. In fact, Mrs. Wiles’ group, Friends of Frederick County, of which Mr. Hagen is a big advocate, is so opposed to growth that they are against even churches being built that don’t meet their square footage criteria.


Above all else, Mr. Hagen’s slate is opposed to the slate of Young, Smith, Delauter and Shreve.


Mr. Hagen’s slate doesn’t really offer any concrete solutions to any issues or problems facing the county, at least none that they have clearly articulated publicly. They seem to spend most of their efforts trying to convince everyone that the slate led by Mr. Young is bad.


In a recent mailing supporting Mr. Hagen’s team, I am told it would be a bad decision for me to vote for Young, Smith, Delauter and Shreve with no real substance to the piece. The mailer concludes by telling me in no uncertain terms to “Vote Smart,” vote for Hagen, Wiles, Burruss, Norris and Gray. Again, I’m not given any reasons, facts or even a hint of a plan as to why I should vote for Mr. Hagen’s team. I’m simply told that if I’m smart, I’ll do what I’m told and I’ll “vote smart,” meaning, if I don’t vote for them, I’m an idiot.


Mr. Hagen’s slate tells me what to think; tells me for whom to vote; tells me whom to vote against. Mr. Hagen and his slate clearly cannot comprehend that the role of government is never to tell me anything. The role of our government is to listen and then act accordingly.


As John Locke said, our unalienable rights are life, liberty and property and that government is created to protect our unalienable rights.


Who will do a better job of protecting our unalienable rights in Frederick County for the next four years?


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