Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens.
George Mason, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 14, 1778
Three weeks ago we stood in the Brunswick County commissioners meeting. More than 30 of us had gathered together to share concerns about Oil Drilling and Seismic Cannon Testing on our outer continental shelf. We thought surely with over half of the room supporting a new resolution against this attack on our coastal traditions, economies and marine life, surely we were going to walk away with what we wanted.
I left feeling cheated.
The commissioners had conspired, before, to protect the incumbent members by allowing them to vote in favor of a no drilling resolution while the remaining commissioners voted for no change to the current resolution in support of spoiling our natural resources that support so much of what we are here. They ripped the underpinning from our hope. The result was a tie vote and no change. How, after their own researcher told them that there was no benefit to the county had they chosen to remain solidified against us, the people, their people who had told them we didn’t want it. Their comment that, “After fielding calls for the past two weeks, on the scales, it was about half for and half against.”, rang like lying bells in my ears. How is this possible? My vote has somehow been stolen, usurped from me, bought. Yes, my vote has been bought, not by me, not for me, but out from under me. The chinga-ching-ching of coins from a Pink Floyd song ringing in my ears. Yeah, it’s a gas. When it should be a solar field or a wind farm, it’s gas that has won, gas and its money. The Koch Brothers and their love of money and everything wrong with American politics today. Our votes were bought and paid for long before we ever arrived, and we were fools to hope that, “We the people,” meant anything once the sweet smell of freshly minted bills were waved under the noses of our leaders. Hear the words he shared, “if we vote no, we will be left out in the cold. If we vote yes the we have a place at the bargaining table.” Mr. Phillips, I say, I want no place at that table of poison and disgrace. I will stand hungry and cold on my integrity and belief that what you choose as right for me is death to my children and their children. Might I add your children as well. Commissioners, you have chosen for us all without regard to your elected duty to represent the people.