The reason I am speaking out against this document has nothing to do with my self interest. I would agree with many people that the work I do for the County everyday is not partisan. I have worked with good people from both parties while doing my job, and I don’t influence policy much at all in what I do every day.
However, when I ran for my office, I put an “R” behind my name for a reason. I didn’t pick a party that day—conservatism was something I was raised believing, and that I was taught to understand at the same time I was taught civics and American history. This document that we are being asked to consider in Clay County is the most un-American, and the most un-Republican document I have ever had the opportunity to personally vote on. I couldn’t do much about other documents that have increased the power and size of federal government recently because my voice was very diluted on those matters. But this is my county. I was raised here, I live here, and I have a voice this time.
The document goes against my ideals because it centralizes power and reverses the concept of limited government.
There is a dangerous trend in modern America to quickly and easily trade liberty for security. When a lunatic shoots up a kindergarten classroom, Americans line up in droves to give away the right to own a gun. When huge corporations and banks fail because millions of people made bad choices about debt, we look to the government for a solution.
“Please, oh please take away my gun because it can be abused.”
“Please, oh please modify my mortgage and excuse my financial failure because heaven forbid I might fail.”
And when there is a lawsuit on the county level, or a felon occupies an elected office for a very short time before being completely run out of town, “Please, oh please take away my ability to elect each and every office holder because sometimes office holders make mistakes.”
NO. Centralized government control and broad authority of the government to regulate individual behavior isn’t the answer in Washington D.C., and it isn’t the answer in Clay County.
Right now, Clay County voters elect two levels of government. They elect the legislative body—the Commissioners, and they elect 10 public officials that perform most of the essential functions that directly affect life in Clay County. They get to pick and choose. They get to remove one and keep the others. They—you have a voice in every single decision.
If this document passes, your voice will be weakened. You will elect one council member from your district, and a countywide council member. You will also elect your sheriff and prosecutor. That’s it. Remember how frustrating it is to try to effect real change in Jefferson City or Washington D.C. because you only elect a few legislators out of a very large group, and that group makes so many decisions that affect us all? Under this new government, you will be at the mercy of people that serve their council first and you second. If they have to choose between making a decision in your best interests, or making a decision in the County’s best interests—clearly they will choose the best interests of the group that gave them their job. That will no longer be you, it will be the council.
And probably the scariest provision of the entire document… who will determine which is most important, the interests of the people or the interests of the council? Well, this document is to be construed liberally in favor of the government.
One of the most cherished concepts in American law is consent of the governed and limited power. The default for a human being is freedom. He is only governed as he consents to be governed. Our entire government is a social contract.
And this document breaches that contract. Once you consent to formation of this government, you consent to this Statement, “The explicit stating of a power in this Constitution or in any Missouri Law is not to be construed as denying or limiting any other power. (1.05.C) [P]owers under this Constitution shall be construed liberally in favor of the County. (1.08).”
If you don’t expressly limit the power of this government, it is therefore unlimited. And when in doubt, government wins. This concept is un-American and un-Republican. I do hope to be the elected Clay County Collector for many years to come, but I respect the process over my own self-interest. Whether I am working inside the county courthouse or abolished from it my position will not change.