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The U.S. Constitution, Washington County Commission size and more in Friday's Forum

Staff Report • Aug 26, 2013 at 2:53 PM

The purposes of our U.S. Constitution are stated clearly in its preamble. I believe we have forgotten some of these noble purposes. Let me give just a couple of examples out of a great many that could be given:Promote the general welfare: I believe the general welfare would be enhanced by making it possible for all those who work full time (or piece together two or three jobs to try and make it) to have a living wage. If they did, all the money would go back into the economy because it would be needed for daily living. If those on the margins of society had adequate health care, they would be healthier, therefore likely better employees. And probably many who are now disabled would be workers because good health care would have prevented their becoming unable to work. Somehow the “common good” has gotten lost to profit-making in which some, by accident of birth or other circumstances, have a clear advantage. Do they not therefore have a greater responsibility to the common good?Provide for the common defense: Of course we need the military, and we need to be able to defend our country. But is it in our interest to wage pre-emptive wars? And is it really in our interest to keep manufacturing nuclear weapons? The United States has spent trillions of dollars in the past decade (billions in Oak Ridge alone) to upgrade weapons that we should never use. Using them ultimately causes the whole world to suffer the consequences, potentially so grave that civilization might never recover. Such a great loss of resources that are needed for more constructive purposes.CLAIRE LOVELACEJonesboroughCorporate control of U.S.What the tea party, libertarians and super patriots have in common with the farthest left-wing liberal tree-huggers is we all know the difference between people and corporations. Since an appointed Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United that corporations are people, groups furthering corporate welfare (such as the American Legislative Exchange Council) over people’s protection and freedoms have flourished. Sponsoring bills written by these corporate-over-people organizations should get representatives and senators recalled. Many of our elected leaders have succumbed to the charms of this corruption. ALEC works hard to keep the right vs. left and conservative vs. liberal battle stoked, as it takes attention away from the real people damage they are doing. We can overcome our differences and work together to tackle the really big job of bringing back our government of, by and for the people.BILL HOWESElizabethtonCounty commission sizeI am a Republican Party delegate for my precinct. I am conservative in my political views and therefore consider myself a Republican. I attended the recent party meeting in Jonesborough. As a taxpayer, I am 100 percent in favor of reducing the size of the Washington County Commission. County Commissioner Ethan Flynn’s whole reason for wanting to have a caucus was to pick candidates to run for commission that would vote in favor of reducing the number of commissioners. I do not believe Flynn’s intention was to place 11 little “Napoleons” (Washington County Republican Party Chairman Michael Hartman’s words in the Press) on the County Commission. What is the difference between 11 of them or 25 of them? I can tell you one difference and that is a truckload of expenses paid for by the taxpayers of Washington County. While on the subject of Hartman, his statement in the Press that he allowed Flynn to speak has a little bit of a Napoleonic ring to it. I wonder how many of these civic-minded folks would serve on the commission if they were paid $100 per month, but only if they attended all of their respective committee meetings. And they would not get insurance benefits or anything else.I would like to see some sort of referendum on the ballot in the next election that would allow all voters to vote either for or against reducing the size of the commission. I believe state law dictates that the number of commissioners is in the hands of the County Commission. State law sets the number of commissioners at minimum nine or maximum of 25. I’m glad it’s not 30.With regard to most county offices, I do not see the need for having party-endorsed candidates anyway. County business is about property taxes, schools, county roads and so forth. It is not about civil rights, women’s rights, military budgets, abortion and so forth, but it is about politics.RANDY TAYLORJonesborough

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