Daily Bread for 10.25.23: Who’s a Government Man?

 Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 68. Sunrise is 7:21 and sunset 5:56 for 10h 35m 26s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 86.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 1983, the United States and its Caribbean allies invade Grenada, six days after Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and several of his supporters are executed in a coup d’état.

In small towns or big cities, people will often look to a mayor, city manager, parking enforcement officer, dog catcher, etc. as representatives of the government. They are right to see those officials that way. 

Those officials are not the only members of the government, however.

Everyone who sits on a council, board, or commssion does so while acting as a member of government. Here’s how to tell: the people in front of the table are private residents, and the people behind the table are, for every moment they are in office, government men and women.

Government in a small American town must be limited and responsible in roles, and that includes those who serve on councils, boards, and commissions. The people in government behind the table serve the private residents in front of the table. 

Sadly, some of the government men on councils, boards, and commissions are demonstrably worse than full-time government employees. It’s likely through ignorance or arrogance that these council-and-commission types don’t recognize their inadequacies by comparison. 

Principles of limited, responsible, and humble government service apply equally to councilmembers, boardmembers, and commissioners. Those who take office to self-promote (and self-delude, truly) don’t need (and don’t belong) on councils, boards, or commissions.

They should not serve if they are simply attention-seeking burdens on private residents in communities with enough existing problems. See The Shape of Decline to Come (and How to Carry On) (‘bad often goes to worse, and that’s because bad seldom recognizes itself’). 

A reminder: Whitewater deserves better from its common council majority; this city is better than its council majority. Whitewater deserves better from its community development authority’s majority; this city is better than that authority’s majority.

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