Image: Craig Doyal, man of “privilege.”
Austin and Conroe, July 18 – One sentence at the end of criminally-indicted Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal’s brief to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in the criminal case against him for allegedly conspiring to violate the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) reveals the fundamental problem in Doyal’s character as an elected servant. Doyal has bought into the belief that he is a member of a privileged class.
Here’s what Doyal submitted at the end of his Brief to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals while arguing that public officials should get favorable treatment with respect to criminal statutes, because they are public officials:
“Public service should be a privilege not a punishment, but to continue to let Section 551.143 terrorize members of governing bodies is to punish ourselves with anemic government in which it is safer to say nothing than to risk indictment.”
The gist of Doyal’s argument is that “public service should be a privilege” rather than any sort of sacrifice and, for Doyal to conduct the “service” he wants to provide, Doyal wants to do so in secret.
But is public service meant to be a “privilege” in America? There’s no doubt that people say they feel privileged for getting to serve, but they (hopefully) don’t mean that being a public official is a “privilege” setting the public servant in some sort of privileged class.
Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State of the United States, wrote to Edward Rutledge in 1796, “There is a debt of service due from every man to his country, proportioned to the bounties which nature and fortune have measured to him.” In other words, public service is a “sacrifice” every man and woman should make for his or her country to give back to society as a whole.
Jefferson’s philosophy doesn’t suggest that those involved in public service should receive privileged treatment of the sort that Doyal has requested from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Doyal wants criminal laws more carefully written for members of his class – public officials – so that he and his class members will receive more favorable treatment from the government. The rest of us, the commoners, can live with and get fined and imprisoned for violating those less carefully written criminal statutes intended for the commoners.
Therefore, it’s no wonder that Doyal has been as terrible a County Judge as he has been. Doyal has made no public sacrifices for the people but rather he enjoys the privileges of his higher class.
Booker T. Washington once said, “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” Doyal has turned Washington on his head, for in his world of public privilege, he’s happiest when he and the taxpayers do the most for himself.