By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Before the stroke of midnight brings 2016 to a close, a “leap second” will be added to the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which means the last minute of this year will have 61 seconds.
What will you do with your second?
As we look towards the New Year, most of us take stock of who we are and what we hope to accomplish in the year ahead. Those of us who live and work in the political arena have a unique challenge, even an obligation to remember, that our actions affect every man, woman, and child in our State, who, unknowing, are subject to the many influences at work in our State politics.
Sadly, most citizens of our state don’t understand that a single legislator or lobbyist in Montgomery can have a greater impact on their daily lives than the most powerful lawmaker in Washington.
Under our system of government the first principle of the social contract recognizes as a self-evident truth that “governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. . . .”
Among the threads that bind our system of government together are the principles of moral law, equal justice, and freedom. The first two keeping the latter in check.
There is a constitutional imperative in our system, for those who work in government, to do what is right, because they represent to the people.
It is not just the elected officials who must bear the burden of doing right, neither the lobbyist, bureaucrat or reporter can say, “Oh no, not me. I am not responsible.”
The idea that government is evil or that government service is less than honorable is a lie perpetuated to win elections or fuel the 86400-second news cycle. However, the government is no better or worse than those individuals who occupy the seats of power.
As individuals we are a bundle of needs, wants, and desires that drive us forward or leave us mired in the mud of our imperfections. The same applies to the State.
In the new year perhaps the idea of doing well by doing good will see a resurgence. And that the notion that government is not in and of itself evil, but it is our nature that is to blame may find the understanding that it had at our nations founding.
But, what can happen in a second?
We can decide.
We can choose to stand in the political arena to see the great good that can be accomplished by honest men and women. It is quite an impressive sight. Even more remarkable is the realization that each of us can make a significant difference, and at that moment, what we do matters.
What can we do together this year to make Alabama even better?
Happy New Year!