If the personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution inhibit the government’s ability to govern the people, we should look to limit those guarantees. –Bill Clinton in an August 12, 1993 speech.
And what my constitutional values are are wholly irrelevant to the job, and so neither you nor anyone else will know what they are. –Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan
For the bureaucrat, the world is a mere object to be manipulated by him. –Karl Marx
“We live in a dirty and dangerous world. There are some things the general public does not need to know, and shouldn’t. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.” ~ Katherine Graham, Publisher of the Washington Post, in a speech to CIA recruits, 1988
In Marx’s statement above, the key word is manipulated. The Constitution loving American public has been manipulated and marginalized. (We have been relegated to an unimportant or powerless position within society). Let me explain, and give a few examples.
Writing letters to your congress criminals nearly always results in a form letter non-answer. Here is the typical canned response I constantly receive from Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee:
Thank you for taking the time to email me to share your thoughts and concerns.
I want you to know that we read every single letter and e-mail that is sent to us in order to best understand the issues that are important to you. It is our commitment to respond to your input as thoughtfully and efficiently as possible. I meet with my staff regularly to discuss the issues raised in correspondence like yours and will be back in touch with a more thorough response soon.
Thank you again for your email. I hope you will continue to share your thoughts with me.
I rarely receive the more thorough responses from him and even if he writes again, he never answers the question of where he stands on the issue. This is marginalization!
Have you ever attended your county commission meetings or city council meetings? If so, you know they’ll often give those in attendance an opportunity to speak on a particular subject that is up for a vote by the commission. Last year I attended an important meeting on the county budget proposed by our county Mayor, Tim Burchett. The School Superintendent, Eli Broad graduate from Boston, James McIntyre (See my two part article, The Deliberate Destruction of Education in Tennessee) was again asking for $35 million more for the schools. They already receive 62% of the yearly budget. Forty-five people were there to speak and instead of the normal five minutes allotted, we were all given only 3 minutes. I watched from the audience prior to getting up to give my little speech for the Mayor’s budget, and the majority of the commissioners were looking at their computers or their phones. Only a few paid attention. The following day a picture of the proceedings appeared in the Knoxville Metro pulse, and was taken from behind the commissioners looking out into the audience. You could see many of the commissioners were busy on their computers. Oh, and by the way, the newspaper called me a conspiracy theorist because I spoke the truth about what is being done to our children through government education.
We were not important. What we were saying was not important. Their minds were already made up. This is marginalization!
Two years ago we fought what is called Knoxville/Knox County Hillside/Ridgetop Plan. This is Smart Growth from Agenda 21. See my two part article, Planning Commissions, Smart Growth, and Land Use. This plan lays vast restrictions on development in both the City and County of Knoxville. The plan proposed a Hillside and Ridge top Protection Area made up of property across the county of at least five acres in size and a grade of 15 percent or greater. (It would also include flatter property on ridge tops.) But the National Green average grade is 22 percent or greater, yet the Task Force has gone even lower! Here are the progressive maps showing the evolution of the HS/RT Protection Plan and affected land. The first map is a 40% slope on ridge tops only, the second is a map showing a 30% or greater slope, and the third map shows a 15% or greater slope. For an area like ours, this plan almost totally restricts development in the County. Also, check out the maps on the website of the Hillside/Ridgetop Protection Plan!
So, of course the Knox County Commission had several meetings where this plan was discussed over several years, and those of us who are wise to Smart Growth attended. When it came down to a vote with an amendment attached that would make the plan advisory only, the audience was packed. Yet the Knoxville/Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission (unelected council) is fully implementing this entire plan. Under “goals” in the Growth Plan on the MPC website, is this statement, “Encourage a pattern of compact and contiguous development to be guided into urban areas and planned growth areas.” That, my friends, is Smart Growth!
Needless to say, there were countless adversaries of this plan within the audience at these County Commission meetings. The rudeness of many of the Commissioners was quite evident. They even were whispering amongst themselves while citizens were speaking to them from the podium. This isn’t just being uncouth folks, this is marginalization!
How many functions have you attended where you have been told you may ask questions of the speaker or the group? I’ve been to several and came fully prepared every time with my questions. There is no attendant with the microphone going through the audience to those with questions. Instead, you write your questions down on a 3 x 5 card and give them to the attendants to carry to the front and ask of the guests. Of course, your entire question is totally changed. Let me give you a recent example.
Here are the four of us gals who went to hear Education Czar Arne Duncan speak at the University of Tennessee, Kathleen Marquardt, Karen Bracken, Kelleigh Nelson, and Sally Absher.
Yesterday, April 3, 2013, the four of us pictured above attended the speech given my Obama’s education Czar, Arne Duncan at the University of Tennessee. Here is the question I wrote down on the 3 x 5 card:
How can private schools remain independent once they have accepted federal funding through vouchers/choice? The law reads: In March, 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that private schools are subject to government regulations because they enroll students who receive tuition money from the government. Even though the checks are payable to individual students, not the school, the Court says any scholarships, loans, or grants to students “constitute federal financial assistance.” And (11)Continuing in the same direction, on January 28, 1988, the U.S. Senate (July 9, 1990).
Here is the question they asked Secretary Arne Duncan from my question:
Secretary Duncan, what do you think of vouchers?
This, my friends, is purposeful and programmed marginalization!
In another situation, when we attended all the Plan ET Smart Growth forums held last year in the five county “region,” we were not allowed to ask questions, because we were told it would disrupt the flow of the program. If we did raise our hands to ask a question during a presentation, we were told the questions would be answered later out in the hall away from the program. That was marginalization!
Marginalizing the informed electorate is the way they inhibit any influence we have on our elected officials. We no longer count. These elected officials and politicians are no longer servants of the electorate. They have an agenda and their marching orders. The majority of the public is unaware of what is happening in their county commission meetings, town and city council meetings, and their local and state governments. And most citizens don’t care. This is evident by the few letters or phone calls these “servants” receive. It is also quite evident by the number of people who attend these meetings.
As I explained in my recent article, Smart Growth and Stealth Zoning, in a town of over 20,000 citizens, only about 20 people attended a very important council meeting. In a five county “region” of all the Plan ET Smart Growth forums, only about 100 knowledgeable people attended all seven of the Series Two meetings. Our combined population is 700,000. No one really cares, no one pays attention, no one has time. Is it any wonder these elected and appointed officials feel they can easily marginalize us? We have been relegated to an unimportant or powerless position in society.
What can we do about it? We have to find our backbones and chutzpah! And if we don’t, we will continue to lose, and then we might as well join the ranks of the brain dead watching Dancing with the Stars and Survivor. Do not let them tell you what you can and can’t do. Don’t be cowed by their rules. We are their bosses. Do not let them make the rules for us! I know you will risk being ejected by police from these meetings. I know you’ll risk embarrassment and confrontation from others. I know it’s difficult to be the one who creates a “scene.” But we can do it!
Where two or more are gathered in agreement, there is power. When one raises their hand and stands and says, “I want to ask a question without filling out a 3 x 5 card,” another has to stand and do the same thing, and then another, and another, and another. Where the hell is the courage, bravery, and backbone of America that made this country great? Act together, decide your attack, above all, pray without ceasing…do it now…or forever be marginalized and powerless.