letters to the editor

Former alderman’s reminder about U.S. Constitution

In a time when many in our nation lament the “swamp” in Washington, every Farragut citizen should be vitally interested in the appointment of a new alderman to fill the seat vacated by our new Mayor (Ron Williams) scheduled for this Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting.

This appointee will potentially be the “tie-breaking” vote on all matters concerning the management of the Town’s resources for the next two years. It is encouraging to see that six people with high skills and motivations have stepped up to apply for the position.

But it is of concern that in none of their statements is their position on the U.S. Constitution mentioned.

ARTICLE VI of the U.S. Constitution states, “This Constitution, and the laws which shall be made in pursuance thereof ... shall be the supreme law of the land …and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution … .”

Our Town Charter requires the same thing. It would be an insult to the brave patriots whose blood bought us our freedoms were we to allow people to assume authority over us, casually making this solemn oath before God and witnesses, while possessing no working knowledge of the document they bind themselves to uphold, and not having taken themselves of the trouble to thus qualify themselves to serve the people who elected or appointed them.

Do they revere the U.S. Constitution or feel it relevant in our daily lives or local government? Do they truly understand that it is the great leveler that ensures every citizen an equal opportunity to achieve, and guarantees their rights and liberties to pursue their dreams?

Do they see it as the last, best hope of humankind? Do they see in it the genius that has unleashed the power of the individual and raised more people to heretofore unimaginable levels of freedom and prosperity than any other human device?

Can they understand why so many have been willing to pledge their fortunes, their sacred honor and even their very lives to defend it?

The litmus test for any decision in government must never be, “Is everyone else doing it?” “Do we feel like doing it?” or “Can we get away with it?” Rather, it must be, “Is it morally right?” “Is it just?” and “Is it Constitutional?”

My challenge to all of them (and to my fellow citizens of Farragut), is to obtain a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution and to study them as they would for a college final exam.

And while at it, to read “The Federalist Papers” and the “Anti-Federalist Papers” to begin to understand the context and the times in which the Constitution was drafted. I hope the candidates’ statements tonight will address this.

Robert N. “Bob” Markli


(former alderman)