Still no progress on BoE records

Tue, 09/09/2008 - 2:38pm
By: Letters to the ...

When the British surrendered at Yorktown in October 1781, their band played a tune entitled “The World Turned Upside Down.” On that brisk fall afternoon, as they marched in front of the victorious Continental Army, the British officers looked away from their victors and all British troops’ weapons were pointed toward the ground. The world had indeed changed forever.

The idea that citizens could somehow run their own government without the King’s benevolent and divine intervention bordered on insanity. The United States, born out of a loose confederation of states, was by any measure a miracle of human thought and divine intervention. And the world indeed had been turned upside down.

Our Founders knew that a representative government could only work if there was an interested, involved and virtuous citizenry. They understood that representatives elected to office would reflect the quality of the electorate’s engagement in the political dialog. Without this engagement, they knew that representative government would fall into the hands of narrow special interests, be prone to corruption, and abuse its power.

James Madison, the Father of our Constitution had it right when he said, “The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” A government that hides and impedes the flow of knowledge is a dangerous government.

We now have in Fayette County government organizations people that impede the flow of knowledge, obstruct its citizens from knowing the daily workings of government. Instead of acknowledging their responsibility to keep all of the citizens fully informed by looking for new ways to improve information flow, they obscure it. Behind attorneys and legal advice they erect a wall to minimize information dissemination. Outrageous administrative fees, abbreviated and incomplete meeting minutes, and last minute items added to public agendas are all examples of a government that has lost its connection with its elected responsibilities.

Instead of adopting new technologies available to widen the public audience, they cannot seem to find the time or money to investigate and implement them. Instead of encouraging citizen participation, they move to smaller meeting rooms. Instead of cooperating with interested citizens to get the information they seek, they erect barriers based on outlandish fees that are estimated by attorneys.

In a democracy, representatives should represent all of the people, not just the few that elected them. Getting re-elected is not the goal. The goal of representative government is above all other issues the advancement of freedom.

James Madison also said that despotism could only exist in darkness. Are we in the twilight of an exceptional county driven by a collective government of self-interest and power? Your absence and disinterest in the public dialog will only embolden those that seek power at your expense and hasten our march into darkness.

If you are interested in contributing your time and effort to the worthy cause of keeping the lights on in government, then please contact me at

The world has not yet again turned upside down. The government is ours, not theirs.

James Wingo

Peachtree City, Ga.

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