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Friday, 04 December, 2020

A Matter of Trust

Date: 01 September, 2002

By: Chief

Imagehen was the last time you actually trusted what some government employee or official said? I really don't care if it was the president or some county road worker. When was the last time you trusted a government employee or official? Hmmmmm, that long eh? I can't say I blame you or anyone else for that matter. With a very, very few exceptions, I don't trust any government worker or official either.

There are, I'm sure, a slew of reasons for this deep mistrust. Corruption, power, favoritism, to name but a very few. But it goes deeper, far deeper than that. Integrity. That is, to me at least, the key issue. The key element of the whole rancid situation. For without integrity there can be no trust. None whatsoever.

Consider members of the legislature. Be it Congress or a legislature of one of the several states. How long do you, the voter, the citizen, wait to get an appointment to discuss an issue with your representative? Yet some political action committee hack has ready access to the person who is, in theory at least, there to represent you - not some high powered, cash flashing conglomerate corporation. The same holds true at the executive level. From mayor to president. Try to get an appointment.

Have a complaint against some government employee? Try to do something about it. What happened? More likely than not you lost. Once a person is employed by government getting that person's hand slapped, let alone fired, is — well, it is easier to squeeze blood out of a turnip.

Teachers are the worst of the lot. Once a teacher has achieved tenure, normally 5 - 7 years, it is virtually impossible to can that person. Teachers' associations, at the local, state and federal levels, have unbelievably powerful lobbyists and political action committees. They have the bucks as well and are unafraid to use all weapons at their disposal - including strikes, walk outs and stoppages. You have a far better chance of being struck by lightening than firing a tenured teacher. You want to be reelected? Better support the teachers' union.

While government employees or officials salaries will certainly not make them a member of the rich and the shameless club, the salaries are decent to quite good. But it is the perks that make it all worth while. Employee benefits galore and a very nice retirement package. But the biggie is job security. Once hired ... can't be fired. Just do the job, as much or as little as you like. You got it made.

You see, government employees and officials are protected both by legislation and by the Constitution. Limited immunity, qualified immunity and sometimes absolute immunity. All contained within the Constitution. Political action committees and lobbyists introduce legislation to ensure that government employees and officials can not be touched. At least by mere citizens. As a member of a police department once told me "I'm not paid to obey the law, I'm paid to enforce the law."

Government investigating government is nothing but a game of taxpayer funded smoke and mirrors. It is an illusion. It looks good on the evening news and in the morning paper. Therefore the appearance, the perception of government cracking down on government soothes the feathers of the restless citizens, while in reality government actually did nothing. Integrity? Government, by and large, does not even know the meaning of the word.

When it comes to fighting city hall our civil rights only go as far as our pocket book's ability to pay for a really good attorney. Think about it. When a person's civil rights are violated and that person sues and wins, who pays the damages awarded by either jury or judge? Not those employees or officials who were sued. No way. We the People, through our tax dollars, pay the damages. Indeed, government employees and officials do not even hire their own attorneys. They are represented by a government attorney who we pay. Talk about a perk. We the People sure as hell don't have such a privilege.

A perfect example of such perfidy occurred in the county where I used to reside. The sheriffs department was sued — three — times for various civil rights violations against citizens. The county lost all three suits. Total awards to the plaintiffs were in the millions of dollars. The county chose not to appeal, just pay the awards. Those deputies and the elected sheriff are still at work. Still drawing a nice salary. Still receiving those perks. In other words the government employees and official who were found guilty of civil rights violations went unpunished. We the People got stuck with the tab. Who says crime doesn't pay?

This situation shall not change. It can not change as long as We the People continue to elect the same two parties into office. Yes, while the names may change, the party does not. It is moot to argue Democrat or Republican. They are two heads of the same beast. As such, change will not occur. And change is desperately needed.

We need the ability to hold government employees and officials responsible and accountable for their actions. Be they good or be they ill. Until the day comes when laws are changed enabling local accountability, expect more mistrust. Expect more civil rights violations. Expect to pay the bill for those transgressions by government employees and officials.

Come this November We the People have our day in court. The court of the ballot box. We each have an opportunity to commence turning the tide against the status quo. We have the opportunity to start bringing back to our individual communities the power of governmental accountability. When some government employee or official has to pay for damages awarded by a court for violating a citizen's civil rights, instead of the taxpayer footing the bill, or some teacher or other employee gets fired, then and only then will government become accountable to We the People. I submit we ought not waste this opportunity.

In the game of integrity government normally strikes out.

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