“When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson
There aren’t enough candidates for local offices. A major reason for this is fear of government. Several candidates in recent years were upset enough about Klamath Falls policies to seriously consider running. The problem was they were also trying to run businesses. All of these people backed out because they feared retaliation from City and County employees. In our small towns, government is one of the largest employers. People who work for government enjoy their isolation and consistent paycheck, and certainly don’t want new candidates rocking the boat and making their lives difficult by questioning their actions.
Just the debate process is enough to derail a business owner or worker vying for candidacy. Make your views known, and someone in government will feel threatened. Being passive-aggressive by nature, the de facto government employee lobby tends to boycott and marginalize the outspoken. In small town politics, it is simply dangerous to one’s livelihood to stand on a soap box and speak through a list of what is wrong and what needs to be changed.
Moreover, government employees can use their positions (legally) to harass business owners with inspections and oversight. Let’s face it. Operating a small business in practically any town these days requires breaking some of the ridiculous rules on the books. You simply can’t spend all your time complying with the minutia of forms, requirements, and paperwork to the letter of the government dictates. Anyone who did wouldn’t have any time to actually operate their business.
A private sector citizen is all alone. In contrast, the government worker is paid to research and quote codes from incomprehensible books hidden in the recesses of government offices, cheered on by peers who attend in legion to oppose the alleged anarchist.
When people are afraid to run for office because for fear of government, it is simply tyranny. The grand experiment known as the American Constitution came into existence exactly from similar circumstances. The founders sought to flee tyranny and carve out of nothing a new structure that would prevent it from re-emerging.
What started as a simple, elegant, concise, and self-evident set of guidelines has mushroomed over two centuries into a quagmire of stifling corruption that bears little resemblance to what it was intended to be. This is compounded by four levels of government that, instead of keeping each other in check, conspire to heap redundant and damaging policies on top of each other. The result is a morass of illogic that strangles leadership, creativity and through the powers of all those now working within government, has become so oppressive that many fear to undertake the most American of all enterprises: to run for political office.
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