Rarely has a legislator expressed what he thinks of the public with such eloquence and and brevity as Republican Tommy Tucker, Chairman of the North Carolina Senate's State and Local Government Committee.
Challenged by a reporter to record a voice vote on a bill that would allow city and county governments to post public notices, traditionally published in newspapers, in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard' solely on government websites, so that the Committee's members would have to own up to their votes, how did Tucker respond?
I AM THE SENATOR.
YOU ARE THE CITIZEN.
YOU NEED TO BE QUIET.
Words fit to be engraved on a plaque, adorning a bronze statue of Tommy Tucker.
Words that should be written on the frieze of every State Capitol and Governor's mansion.
There was a belief, once, that America was a country governed by citizens, some of whom were chosen by their fellow citizens because of wisdom and good ideas, to represent all the rest in the legislature: Citizen legislators, wary of government, who would use their power sparingly because they would soon have to return home, and live under the laws they'd enacted, among people whose lives were governed by those laws.
To the extent anyone believes that today, especially in a once free State like North Carolina which now is infested with little emperors seeking to rule by decree rather than through a Constitution of ordered liberty, Senator Tucker has given the lie to that fantasy.
Senator Tommy Tucker should be given a medal by the the grateful citizens of Union County, North Carolina for the lesson in civics he has given them. The grateful citizens of Union County should remember Senator Tucker's words when he runs for reelection in 2014.
And, if they still maintain the quaint idea that they own their government, thank Senator Tucker accordingly.