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When officials abuse the public trust

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A great letter from former council candidate Joe Santo. Joe reminds us that all office holders have a trust and it is incumbent upon the voters to hold them accountable.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address called the United States a “government of the people, by the people and for the people.” These words were written as a mandate for good government, emphasizing the belief that all power comes from the people. It seems that those noble ideals have been forgotten by many of our elected officials of both parties and at all levels of government.

Our democracy is rooted in the belief that elected officials will govern for the good of the people. Governance is a two-way street. The people give their trust and authority to govern through their vote and in return expect elected officials to protect that trust by making decisions that are good for the body politic.

When the electorate loses that trust, it becomes apathetic and cynical toward politicians. When this happens, fewer people vote or become involved in the political process, which in turn undermines the democratic principle of government by the people.

It seems that, every day, when we pick up the newspaper, we read about another political scandal. As the electorate, we have a responsibility to remain ever vigilant and hold elected officials accountable for their actions. Serving as an elected official is a privilege and honor that should never be abused.

— Joe Santo, Hamilton


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July 2012
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