Commentary by Ron Miller
Before I delve into this week's topic, circumstances demand that I give some serious props to David Noss, my editor here at Southern Maryland Online - I'll explain that comment in a minute. He gives me a weekly platform to say just about anything I want, and he doesn't mind if I get the column in to him late (like this one!). He even checks up on me, asking me one time if I was ever threatened by anyone for what I write! Given my crazy life, I am grateful for his support and indulgence.
Sometimes, something comes up on a Wednesday morning that kick-starts the synapses in my brain and causes the words to pour out. It might be something I read, or something someone said to me, but it sparks something in me and I have to write about it. That is why I appreciate the flexibility David gives me.
I was driving into Washington DC today for events related to the launch of my new book,
SELLOUT: Musings from Uncle Tom's Porch, and I stopped at my favorite country grocery store for a bite to eat and something to drink on the way. The proprietor, a nice gentleman that always has a kind word for me, sees me and tells me he hasn't seen me out and about lately, and jokingly wondered if I had chickened out.
I presumed he was talking about my aborted run for Maryland Senate, and I wasn't sure he knew about the job loss that led me to end my campaign. I simply said I decided working for a living and supporting my family was more important than winning an election.
He agreed with me and then said two things I hear often from people in this area; he declared that some incumbents are simply "unbeatable" and, in the same breath, said we need new blood in elected office.
These two thoughts are clearly contradictory, because if we continue to believe that certain candidates can't be beaten, then we're robbing ourselves of the opportunity to inject new blood into our government. I believe every incumbent should be challenged no matter what, and the power to convert an "unbeatable" incumbent into a defeated incumbent isn't determined by them, but by us, the voters.
Southern Maryland has a couple of bullies in incumbent roles. They know who they are, and you do, too. They've been in office a long, long time, and they use the power and influence they've amassed over time to intimidate voters into supporting them, usually through implied or direct threats to their livelihoods.
I know a small business owner who wanted to hold a fundraiser for my campaign, but was threatened by one of these bullies and had to rescind his offer. Several people have told me and other challengers that they wish they could support us financially, but they're afraid if their names show up on our donor lists, the bullies would make them pay.
Some would shrug and say that's just politics. Others would question the intestinal fortitude of the people who feel threatened by the bullies. This kind of behavior stirs only one emotion in me - contempt. Pure, unadulterated, smoldering contempt.
These bullies have no respect for our Constitution or their role as elected officials. They spout platitudes about public service, but their words and actions betray their true feelings, that the public exists to serve them and owes them their gratitude, their money and their support.
My pastor uses a phrase that I like so much, I've adopted it as one of my own. He speaks of maintaining the proper positional relationship between God and man; that is, man exists to serve God, not the other way around. I believe this applies to elected officials as well and, no, as much as many of them have a God complex, they aren't in charge. WE are.
They work for US. We hire them to serve US. In our republic, the proper positional relationship between the individual and the government is this; the individual is sovereign and government is subservient to US.
Our hard-earned tax dollars pay their salaries, and finance the perks and privileges that allow them to strut through the halls of the Capitol or the State House like potentates.
Somewhere along the way, we allowed them to neuter us so we're docile and compliant, accepting the scraps they throw our way while they support policies that are driving our state and our nation off a cliff.
Not me; I have always been a contrarian when it comes to the authority of elected officials. Ever since I petitioned the Melbourne, Florida city council in 1993 to allow the licensing of home-based businesses, and chafed at being treated like a serf while they make a living off of my tax dollars, I've been a constant critic of people who think being elected means being anointed.
In fact, my position shouldn't be contrary, but common practice instead. Everyone is talking about taking back our government, but in order to do this, we need to take back our courage first. The next time you wonder why a particular candidate is unbeatable, look no further than the mirror for your answer - and vow from that moment on to defeat elected bullies rather than be defeated by them. After all, in the words of American founder Alexander Hamilton, "Here, sir, the people rule.
Ron Miller is a conservative writer and commentator, author of the book, SELLOUT: Musings from Uncle Toms Porch, and the president of Regular Folks United, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of individual liberty, free markets and our nation's founding principles. The nine-year plus veteran of the U.S. Air Force and married father of three writes columns for several online sites and print publications, and his own website, TeamRonMiller.com. Join him on Facebook and Twitter.