The Job of an Elected Official

Want to know why America has gone astray from its charter as envisioned by our founding fathers?

Simply ask any elected official, “What’s your job responsibility?”

The answer usually provides insight into where the problem begins.

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Three years, ago, a former county commissioner said, “Our job is to pave the roads, fund the schools, and fill potholes.” Based on my observations, most officials give similar answers.

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They’re wrong.

Those things are important tasks we must perform in a fiscally responsible way, but they are NOT our primary job responsibility.

I apologize for being circuitous, but to appreciate the primary job of any elected official, you must first know the answer to another equally profound question:

What is the purpose of government?

I cringe when officials struggle to craft an answer that sounds sufficiently impressive. Fortunately, there’s no need to improvise.

The primary purpose of government is found in the beginning of America’s charter document, known as, “THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.”

“… that [all men] 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…”

Clear as glass.

The purpose of government is to secure your God-given rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (including the right to own property). Combined, they may be summed-up in one word: Freedom.

Okay, but how does the Constitution fit in?

Conceptually, the Constitution contains bylaws to implement the Declaration of Independence. Did you know it contains restrictive covenants designed to prohibit government from intruding on your God-given rights?

For example, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED”; and, “the right of the people to be secure… against unreasonable searches and seizures, SHALL NOT BE VIOLATED [by government].”

Why? Because energetic government threatens freedom.

Furthermore, every elected official in America takes an oath to support the Constitution. In other words, our job is to restrain government and defend your freedoms from encroachments.

You lose freedom when officials ignore their oath of office or, worse yet, believe they know better than the Constitution. They don’t.

Freedom is the absence of coercion. Nowadays, the best way to judge politicians may be by what they don’t do to you. Can you imagine the improvement if thousands of officials across America took their oath more seriously and focused on defending you from big-government dictates?

I find it sad but amusing when my opponents argue, “That’s beyond your pay grade commissioner.”

Really? If so, why am I required to take an oath to support the Constitution?

If my job was simply to do whatever Obama or Governor O’Malley told me to do, I could simply take an oath to support them, but I didn’t, and I won’t.

By swearing to uphold the Constitution, every commissioner takes an oath that requires him to defend you from any attempt to infringe on your Constitutional Rights.

How do you do that (you ask)?

Thomas Jefferson foresaw the challenge. He wrote, “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny,” and, “whenever our affairs go obviously wrong, the good sense of the people will interpose and set them to rights.”

The key word is, “interpose.” It means, “To intervene, or place, or insert between one thing and another.”

Whenever government infringes on your rights, our job is to intervene and stand between you and the infringement in order to secure your freedoms.

Furthermore, in the Kentucky Resolutions, Jefferson wrote, “Where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy.”

In other words, just say, “No.”

That’s what we did in Carroll County when we passed the Second Amendment Preservation Resolution; successfully defended First Amendment prayer rights; and refused to implement a Rain Tax.

Alternatively, when officials “go-along-to-get-along,” and fail to resist those who infringe on your rights, we violate our oath of office; and slowly but surely, your freedom is eroded.

What’s the job of every elected official?

I’m in the freedom business.

-Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild

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