American colonists grew weary of King George’s absolute rule over his subjects without their advice and consent. Against steep odds, they fought to found this great nation. They provided American citizens with an amazing Constitution that guarantees the right to freedom of speech and representative government. Throughout our 234-year history, America has defeated foreign (Third Reich) and domestic (McCarthy) enemies to ensure these ideals prevail.
Sadly, these constitutional rights have been partially suspended in Stallings. On Oct. 11, a majority of town council held a vote on major public policy with neither a formal public debate nor a proper notification that a vote would be cast that night. Furthermore, they voted to “cease and desist all discussion” of the issue “now and in the future,” which included the elimination of questions on the official survey of town services.
Residents had awaited the survey to register their opinions. Now, their voices have been silenced, and their ability to contribute meaningfully in the formation of public policy has been negated. The council’s oath of office includes a vow to “support and maintain the Constitution and laws of the United States,” yet their actions prove contrary to this sworn pledge.
As egregious as this single action was, I’m not quite as concerned with it as I am with the precedent that has been set. On what other issues will this council majority work to mute the public because informed, participatory government does not suit their whims? How many times will they shirk the American form of government because, to them, the ends justify the means?