Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day!

I hope you have had an opportunity this weekend to engage in the traditional cultural celebrations of our people, namely grilling meat and setting off explosives at a questionably-safe distance. 

Maybe you have also been able to reflect upon the principles that led to the founding of independent America, and the courage of the leaders who in 1776 set out to form a consensual government in a world rife with tyranny.

I draw inspiration from the ideals of the Revolution and in particular George Washington.  Washington famously decried political parties and partisan politics, calling parties the “worst enemy” of popular government:

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.
              …
[Partisan politics] serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions.

Party politics is not about good governance, but pursuit of power at any cost.  When a party gains power, they use it to punish their enemies.  Public administration ought to be focused on providing for the common good and supporting the rule of law, but those are often casualties of the back-and-forth between bickering parties.

Over the last several weeks, I have attended the Juneteenth Celebration, the meeting of Dubuque County Patriots, the Pride Picnic, and the Dyersville Tea Party meeting.  At all of those meetings, I have met with people who recognize the deleterious effects of partisan politics on government, and who agree that partisanship has no useful place in the County Attorney’s Office.

A Democrat or Republican as County Attorney means nothing for the citizens of Dubuque County.  Dubuque County needs a chief prosecutor who can prosecute serious crimes, who exhibits independence of thought and strength in administration, and who will be honest and fair with everyone who has occasion to appear before Dubuque County criminal courts.

This November, vote for the candidate you think is best-qualified for the job.  Take the opportunity to send a message to both parties that the people have the power.  Cherish and practice the independence that Washington (and Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King Jr., and so many others) fought for and won. 

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