(This is the first in a series of articles that will look at our duties as citizens in the process of restoration necessary to place this country back on track to the founding principles of our Country. )
Our country was formed to give us a representative form of government. In order for this system of government to exist there are two things that are required. First a leadership that is willing to submit to the voice of their constituents and second, a body in the constituency that is determined to have their voices heard. If either part of this equation is missing then we lose that representative form of government until both are corrected, either by forms of tyranny through usurpation of powers or by a willing surrender of the part of those being governed to become servants to those they elected to serve them.
We can find its truth in these words in our Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed
This statement is both a warning to government and to the people. When usurpation of powers leads an elected representative of the people to ignore the consent of those they govern there is no longer a just government. When the people, through their silence, choose not to give their consent through the voice but choose instead to remain silent and allow the government to do as it will, we are the ones responsible for the creation of path to that usurpation of powers.
Our Commonwealth Constitution went to great lengths to promote the security of the involvement of the people in all decision making processes in Government. The Commonwealth Constitution built itself on another principle from the Declaration of Independence: whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
The ink was barely dry on the Declaration of Independence when Pennsylvania framed its new Constitution on this similar principle. Beginning with a Declaration of Rights as the first Article our Commonwealth Constitution it says in Section 2 of this Article: All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness. For the advancement of these ends they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think proper.
No individual has the right to claim being a representative of any group without the consent of those within the group. They have no right to make use of that groups name or that groups position without being a duly elected representative of the people in that organization. To violate these principles is to commit an act or acts of tyranny. It removes the consent of the people and places power in the hands of individual that, even if the people so desire, the people have no natural ability to delegate.
Leadership in a true representative form of government is a partnership between the representative and the people they represent. The power of an elected representative requires two distinct things: (1) the consent or will of the people and (2) the power exerted must be within the constituent’s authority to delegate to that representative. The constituent cannot consent to granting powers to an elected representative any powers that if they themselves individually committed would result in a criminal action. We can only delegate to our elected governing bodies an authority that is within our power to grant.
This is the natural moral law of just government. It is also a natural and moral law of society at any level. If this is a natural and moral law and it is violated the action becomes unnatural and immoral. It is a corruption of that which is just to become unjust because such actions always result in the benefit to some at the expense of others. It requires an unwilling submission of slavery to another that does not require consent but rather subjugation.
If we are to see a restoration of the principles of the founding of this nation it must begin by the restoration of the relationship between those elected to represent us and the citizens they represent which requires the active participation of both to be successful.
This restoration must begin at the bottom. It must begin with the process of elections. that starts with those we elect to represent us in our respective parties as members of a committee to that party. For the past 4 years we’ve heard the same story that we elect members to these committee members for the purpose of the endorsement of candidates. That’s not the message from the people; that is a message from the leadership of those committees. To secure this authority, the committees have established rules to prevent members of the committee from violating support once the endorsement process takes place. Regardless of their moral objections to a candidate or the will of the people who have elected them, once the vote is taken blind obedience is required by such law that may force the elected representative to no longer represent the will of the people who elected them. This often requires members of the committee to compromise their principles while also violating their rights of freedom of speech in order to abide by the rules. Here at this lowest level of government we find the first forms of corruption that begins the path of much greater form of corruption where parties control elections not the people. This then turns the people into servants of their party rather than a party that serves the will of its people. That is a government that is upside down and when it begins at this most primal level it begins to lay a foundation that violates the principles of just government and this then is where corruption begins.
The people have made their voices heard and that voice is continually ignored. We have continually asked for non-endorsed elections to allow the candidates to get out and work for the support of the citizen. The endorsement process works against this accountability to the people. The only support a candidate needs is from within a majority of the committee and it therefore makes a candidate accountability to the committee greater than their commitment of accountability to the people. Once the endorsement takes place the voice of any opposition within the elected representatives of the party is silenced regardless of the will of their constituents and once again we see that this is where the process of usurpation of power begins.
If we are going to see a restoration of the principles of representative government it requires that we make our voices heard to those who represent us at this, the lowest level of government. Running for a committee seat is just one way of changing a committee but this should be done with a full explanation of the rules with which the individual is expected to comply. It is not enough to simply get people to run for these offices. If we are to sustain that change than we also need citizens willing to hold those we elect responsible. If a representative at the committee level refuses to listen to us, then we must work to replace that representative with someone who will listen to the voice of the people, not simply the voice of the committee. They weren’t elected to represent the committee; they were elected to represent the people. If the rules force them to violate true representation of those who elected them, then those rules must be changed. That will require enough people willing to make those necessary changes. Those changes will never happen as long as we have people willing to protect rules over the people they represent.
This same principle applies to our local governing bodies. Public meetings are held for the public to attend. Whether this be school board or any other council of government, the role of the citizen is to be aware of what is happening in their community. A strong local government accountable to the consent of the government is a line of defense against usurpation of powers that are harder to stop. Once again, you did not elect your local governing bodies to comply with the wills of the state that are in violation of your consent. These people are accountable to you first.
Governments did not create people. People created government. Anything created is not greater than the one who created it. The creation is, at all times, accountable to the creator. A creation is designed by its creator to a purpose as long as the creation meets that purpose it remains in its natural order and there is a peaceful coexistence between creator and creation. Any organization or party will naturally create a governing body and the purpose of that governing body is to protect the individuals of that organization or party who have come together for like purposes. When that governing body establishes rules to protect the governing body at the expense of those they are governing we see the beginning of a usurpation of powers that leads to corruption which creates pathways for tyranny to those governing and servitude for those in within the body. This then ceases to be government in its natural form to become an unnatural or dictatorial form of government that leads to serfdom for those in that body. In turns something moral into something immoral.
True leadership is the spirit of servanthood. It is a willingness to take a position of authority that is tied to a servant spirit to those who have called them to lead. It is not a desire to hold all authority over the people who elected you but rather to allow them to execute an authority over you in the duties and responsibilities of the office you hold. This is the ultimate framework of government that functions through the consent of the governed.
We will expand on this principle in our next article as we take a deeper look at the role of local government.