The Worst Form of Government
Can there be a worse government than one that is inept? Can there be a worse government than one that is morally, ethically or procedurally corrupt? Yes, for in a democratic society, the worst form of government is a government abandoned by its citizens.
When a governmental body alienates any segment of its constituency, a government for the people and by the people has been abandoned and hence is nothing but an abject failure.
When citizens are forced to abandon their government and withdraw their consent, it is no longer their government, and therefore the government has no legitimate or just powers. Consider these words from the 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 inalienable 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.
And for proof in the negative, one need not look any further than the grotesque failure of communism. the systemic coercive approach to rule irrespective of the will of the people led to nothing more than the wholesale alienation of the very same people targeted for governance. The net effect being the greatest blight on the face of mankind.
Despite what the elected believe, alienation does not come from disagreement. In fact, disagreements, lively debates, formal and forceful expressions of contrasting points of view, are all antithetical to alienation. Madison, Jay, and Jefferson knew this and hence framed our form of government to include the inalienable right of free speech. Coarse and often contentious discourses actually engage one and all, and thereby afford the sense and practice of belonging to a society where infinite perspectives are the bond that unite us.
The self-righteous disagree as to what causes alienation by pointing to irrelevant extremes. They point to the anarchists. they point to those that are desirous in dismantling everything and anything. They point to those that are informed from merely watching the news and don't vote because after all why bother. They point to their self-formulated bogeymen who haunt their perceived sense of what is right and what is wrong. hence, the self-righteous fabricate a ruse as to why citizens are alienated from their government by singling out those who were not part "of the people" to begin with.
Alienation only comes when engaged and good intentioned people are disenfranchised by their own government. The process is simple, it happens every day, it is happening too often in this country, it is the de facto style of government on Marco Island.
Why the eschewal of government? Because people can only be insulted for so long, can only be demeaned for so long, can only be treated as stupid for so long, can only be referenced in disparaging terms for so long - so long before they simply must walk away. Humanity is an odd thing, for our instincts take over when that so long tipping point is reached, and therefore find ourselves protecting ourselves by having to take flight from the cadre of hate. It is simply primeval. Fight or flight. And as pacifists, we do only the flight. Ergo the forced alienation with the inevitable result being an abandoned government.
The recently exposed emails are but a schema of the systematic and wanton alienation of citizens. What we found in these emails are nothing new - the cynical, punitive, Machiavellian, demeaning words and deeds from the majority of this council and the majority of this city government have been with us for some time. What these emails do show is the permanence and pervasiveness of the majority's biased hatred for those they just don't like. If there were ever a course taught to college freshmen political science students on how to disenfranchise and alienate the citizens of a democratic republic, the textbook would be nothing more than the collection of emails from the city government of Marco Island.In but one example, a citizen writes to a councilperson offering to help on a particular community effort. The citizen is not seeking anything, is not a business concern. The citizen is simply offering to help. The response? The councilperson forwards the email to the city manager with a disparaging remark about the citizen and a family member. While it would have been simpler, polite, human, and respectful of the democratic gift entrusted to an elected official by simply responding with a "thank you", the councilperson writes disparaging remarks about the citizen, the family member, and forwards them to the city manager. There has never been a response to the citizen's offer to help.
The behavior of the majority of the elected officials and of the entirety of the management at city hall is nothing more than the abuse of delegated powers and the exertion of assumed powers. In this vain, Jefferson speaks to us:
Therefore, there is no recourse with the present governance, so we must look ahead. Hence, it is encouraged that any citizen looking to lead this city by virtue of the next election should invest two hours between now and then. Just two hours.
Invest thirty minutes by watching an episode from ABC's Nightline entitled "The Deep Dive". In this short true story of a real organization we are entreated to the process of fixing problems through the open exchange of diversely different ideas by a highly eclectic and outspoken group of people. Despite incredibly bizarre behavior and utterly wacky ideas, no one is disenfranchised, no one is alienated, immensely difficult challenges are overcome with grace and style, and where even the "loosing ideas" and those that proposed them are victors.
Invest another hour reading the book "The Big Ripoff" by Timothy P. Carney. In this exquisitely researched book you will find what has happened to the republic Lincoln spoke of on a solemn day in a lacerated Pennsylvanian field. You will realize what has happened and perhaps be so inclined to do all you can to stem the tide at best, or avoid the rip current at the very least.
And lastly invest another half an hour doing a little bit of soul searching. Find out if when you vehemently disagree with someone, if you are willing to bring facts and only facts to the debate, if you are willing to accept people for who they are and what they do, if you are willing to accept that different people have a different demeanor than you, and if in the end you can pen a simple thank you note when all is said and done.
We can only hope and pray that those seeking elected office can come with such a mantra, and therefore bring back to the difficult but bountiful table called democracy those of us that have something to offer. Until then, those of us that have been forcefully alienated will only hope and pray and invest our efforts in seeking a rightful remedy by nullifying the acts of the worst form of government.
Mario R. Sanchez, Ph.D.