Those of you who live in Wetumpka may remember when the Wetumpka Chamber of Commerce came up with the idea of Riverfest a few years ago. In the original plans for Riverfest was a proposal to have an area where beer would be sold. Without going into all the details, several people were opposed to this idea. Because no alcohol is allowed in Gold Star Park where the event would be held, the Wetumpka City Council had to approve a resolution giving special permission for this. My pastor and I, along with several others, attended the city council meeting to voice our opposition to this proposal.
After comments from several area residents both in favor of and in opposition to the resolution, and after some discussion by the members of the city council, the time came to vote. Just before the vote is when one city councilman articulated what I think every person who has ever been or hopes to be elected to any public office from the local level to the federal level and everywhere in between should hear.
David Haynes, who at the time was the City Councilman for the district in which I live, after hearing from citizens of Wetumpka and those who lived outside the city said the following, and I am paraphrasing here: “Well, we’ve heard from several people tonight. Some who are in favor of selling alcohol and some who are not. From what I hear, it sounds like most of the people who live in the city, or at least the PJ(police jurisdiction), don’t want to have alcohol at the event. They are the people that I was elected to represent and so I’m voting no on the resolution.” What a concept! The vote that night was 3-3 and the resolution failed for lack of a majority.
If you know David Haynes, you know that David doesn’t have a problem with anyone having a beer or two upon occasion. In fact, he will have one or two upon occasion himself. What David understood that night was that even though he personally would probably have liked to have had a place where he and others could buy a beer, the majority of the people he represented were opposed to that and as such, he voted no!
Here is the lesson to be learned for those who are public servants in the political realm. You were elected to serve and represent the people of your district or state or county or zone or ward or whatever it is called for your particular office. You were not elected so that you could impose upon the rest of us commoners what you and a few elite others might think is best for us. There may be an occasion in which your personal morals and values might keep you from voting in a particular way on a particular issue. I understand this. Perhaps an abstention would be in order under those circumstances. But when you thumb your nose at your constituents because you have been “enlightened” and now know better than we do about what is best for us or when you care more about advancing your own personal agenda than you do about what we think…well, then it is time for you to go home.
Whether it’s health care reform or raising taxes or any other issue that is up for debate, your job is to determine the will of the people you represent and and do just that…represent them.
I wonder what it would take to get David to run for Congress.