ERIC YOLLICK, The Golden Hammer
As we head into some very serious elections, tough political debates, and a new year, it’s important that we keep our eye on the ball: we need smaller government. We need government that doesn’t spend our money so freely, that doesn’t spend wastefully, that doesn’t keep raising our taxes, and that doesn’t keep expanding the reach of its intrusion into our lives.
Citizens are legitimately upset with government at all levels, especially locally, where, in Montgomery County, it’s particularly out of control with the principles and values that Montgomery County citizens hold dear.
But there are some people who feel very threatened from citizens’ efforts to reform this community. Those threatened ones are the people with the greatest investment in the political establishment. When they feel threatened, they react.
In the past several weeks and during the past few days, in particular, I’ve witnessed people wishing harm on others on a very personal level. Supporters of James Metts, who ought to resign rather than run for a higher office, have threatened people physically, thrown racial slurs at those who dare disagree with them, and made many other odd remarks. Apparently threats to their power and money and their investment in James Metts are more than they can bear. Sadly, supporters of Charlie Riley aren’t much better. They can’t discuss issues. A prominent supporter of Riley called one of his critics a profane slur to her face several times during the Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting.
County Judge Craig Doyal seems to have lost his self-control. He’s openly angry, hateful, and mean towards his critics. He seems to take public criticism like a petulant child.
In a more subtle manner, supporters of reform should also take care with some of their choice of words. Craig Doyal, James Metts, Charlie Riley, and Stephanne Davenport, to name four people who will appear on the ballot in March, have done some terrible things and are about as liberal, pro-spending, and “Republicans in Name Only” as people can be. All four have committed misconduct that might rise to criminal activity, if and only if a court were to find them guilty after a fair trial. In the corrupt world of Montgomery County, however, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever get to the point of such a trial.
Despite the serious wrongdoing of Doyal, Metts, Riley, and Davenport, despite the arrogance of Doyal, Metts, Riley, and Davenport, and despite the actions and statements of Doyal, Metts, Riley, and Davenport that might seem downright stupid, they are fellow human beings whom we should treat with compassion, kindness, and love. I don’t wish personal harm to any of those people or to their families. I don’t wish incarceration, suffering, or any particular punishment.
I just wish they’d do right. I just wish they would understand that under the political philosophy on which the United States and Texas have formed their foundation, government doesn’t exist to perform the whims of people who just happened to have won an election. There are moral, philosophical, and legal limitations on government.
There’s no reason to hate Doyal, Metts, Riley, or Davenport. If anything, they deserve more compassion than others, not because they are our servants (which they are) but because they are so lost morally and philosophically.
Charlie Riley genuinely believes that winning an election, holding a government job, or singing in a band or a choir gives him the right to abuse power. Someone, who is that morally lost, deserves pity and compassion, not hatred.
Let’s not be trite about the season. It’s not just wishing them “Merry Christmas.” We must show a willingness to guide Riley, Metts, Doyal, and Davenport to the light. We as citizens, as their bosses, must show a willingness to help our befuddled servants.
We need to keep our eye on the ball and work towards government that shrinks rather than expands its reach.