Better Governing Now » The Geese Situation


The Geese Situation

    It was not until my son, Stanhope, called me to ask my opinion about the infamous impending Geese Decision, about 2 days prior, that I was made aware of the 'mammoth problem' of just what to do about the wayward geese. From his query, it did appear that the City of Washington had embroiled themselves in yet another insignificant controversy where they would meet another room full of concerned citizens over matters inconsequential to the management of a small city ... but that is what the Washington City Council seems to gravitate towards - inane issues. In fact, as Stanhope unraveled this silly tale, seeking my estimable opinion, I thought it was a joke, a hoax, I laughed large - laughed until I nearly cried.

    Sadly, these are the types of issues that the City of Washington often allows themselves to become embroiled in; however, as a Beaufort County Commissioner for nearly two decades, I often watched, helpless in the minority of good sense, my fellow elected commissioners do egregiously stupid things with much larger issues involving huge amounts of local treasure. Obviously, the Washington councilmen do not have a local lock on bad decision making, but this time, one would have to question the wisdom of how it ever got this far. And maybe that is why I found this to be so comical.

    As a 5 term county commissioner, I made it my business to stay out of the business of the government of Beaufort County's largest population center - my hometown, Washington. No longer a county commissioner, I am still reluctant to offer my opinion, an opinion that was rarely considered by my liberal fellow commissioners, both Democrats and Republicans, but as I dip my toe in the water of proffering a better way forward, I do so with great trepidation, but I shall endeavor nonetheless.

    And so it goes, city of council members: When a concerned citizen(s) come to you with a concern, a laughable concern, and one member, or members, of your board want(s) to consider the issue; consider it, discuss it, vote on it, and do it quickly - at least in one meeting. Whatever you do, irrespective of the size of the issue, do not charge your management staff with seeking grants (free money?) to handle a problem that can be handled in that one meeting. When you act all concerned about an issue, concerned enough to seek an 80,000.00 grant to relocate (or euthanize?) God's creatures, you diminish your standing as an elected official by not acting decisively ... decisively in not voting to do the completely obvious thing, and not act.

    My continued advice to these esteemed local elected officials is to concern themselves with the macro approach to governing rather than the micro approach even at the city level, which is by far the lowest level of governing with limited police power (the power to tax). In my years of governing at the county level, where we dealt with nearly all state and federal programs, I found it better to take a macro view of issues, which, accordingly, allowed me the ability to better see the proverbial 'trees within the forest', and know how all of us better fit within the plan that is principled, and practiced to better represent the needs of the many, rather than those of the few, as was the intent of our Founders.
My favorite geese picture in my annals of stock photography: Above. My second favorite geese picture, taken during Hurricane Irene: Below.     photos by Stan Deatherage     Click images to expand

    To that extent of governing wakefulness: Why would any local government, who promotes itself as a Bird Sanctuary, consider the lethal management of God's 'every fowl of the air' that He has bequeathed unto us as our dominion, and ultimately, our stewardship. I reckon it is up for continued debate, but it is my humble opinion that I believe the Lord has empowered mankind to be the benevolent stewards that would not slaughter any creature without taking its meat for its designed purpose - to sustain us. Should these creatures be definitively diseased, I believe that it would be allowable to destroy these creatures en mass to sustain mankind again. Outside of these two purposes, I can not fathom any purpose of stewardship that would allow the destruction or relocation of these creatures - God's creatures first, then ours.

     Governments, at all levels, need to be increasingly reflective before they tinker with the codependent order of our natural world, especially when governmental decisions are primarily based on whether one will be reelected. Elected servants are chosen to lead and to serve, and it is the inseparable wisdom of our elected folk as to whether, and how, they define the wisdom between leading and simply serving.

    Invariably, at some point, the question will always remain about politicians, if elected leaders represent us, they should represent the best of us, our 'better angels' of a better community, here in God's World. We should demand it, but first, we should demand more of ourselves. We are our government just as we hold dominion over this Earth - God's Earth.

    All I ask, as a citizen - no longer a leader, a servant - is that we remember God's natural plan, and not try to supplant it with our own unless that plan be wise, as wise as we mere mortals are capable.

    If we don't, through our elected representatives, some may cry, some will get angry, but I will probably laugh, and then if I speak, Lord only knows what I will say at this point. It's just the kind of guy I am ... and, moreover, I am thankful for the geese, accordingly, I expect the geese to remain until they, and only they, choose otherwise.

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