I’m actually surprised, sometimes, how directly lessons from local politics apply even at the national level.
A few years ago, a friend of mine submitted a charter complaint, as allowed by Tiverton’s Home Rule Charter, against a school employee for disseminating political material in a school. In contravention of the clear process for such complaints, the Town Clerk conducted an investigation, including being party to the discarding of evidence, and dismissed the complaint.
Now, I happen to like the Town Clerk, but thinking it vital that the process for complaints be clear, strictly followed, and universal in their application, I filed a complaint against her for this activity. Ultimately, the Town Council let her off by finding that she didn’t “knowingly” violate the charter. The ruling was ridiculous. In general, “knowing” action means the person knows he or she took the action, not that he or she knows it was illegal, and the clerk didn’t accidentally conduct an investigation. Making matters even clearer, section 1211(d)(2) provides for distinct additional penalties when a town employee knows his or her action is a violation. There is simply no ambiguity, here.
But the council members liked the clerk, and most of them had a political interest in protecting the school employee and the political group whose material she promoted (Tiverton 1st). So, they simply declared the law to be something different than what it clearly was for this one case.
Now, at the national level, despite what could accurately be described as “gross negligence”… a week after her husband met with the nation’s top law-enforcement agent in a clearly inappropriate, nearly clandestine meeting… the same day the President of the United States takes to the campaign trail with her, Hillary Clinton has dodged prosecution for sending classified information using a private email server because, in the words of FBI Director James Comey, the investigators did not find “some combination of clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information or vast quantities of information exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct or indications of disloyalty to the United States or efforts to obstruct justice.” She didn’t know, despite having been warned against the server, so that’s that.
As in Tiverton, the reality is that the people whom we have entrusted to enforce our laws simply don’t want to do it, in this case, so we’re stuck. And that means the only thing keeping us as citizens, rather than subjects of a ruling oligarchy, is our behavior. If we accept this new reality, we’re serfs. On that count, I’m with Kurt Schlichter:
They don’t realize that by rejecting the rule of law, they have set us free. We are independent. We owe them nothing – not respect, not loyalty, not obedience. But with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we will still mutually pledge those who have earned our loyalty with their adherence to the rule of law, our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.