Folks, 2017 will be a year of uncertainty. Fear. Turmoil.
But all of that faded away when the mustachioed man in the camo-sleeve pullover strode to the Hutchinson city council microphone.
You could tell: he was here to Make Hutchinson Great Again.
“I’m sure you’ve all received my petition in the mail. I’m here to formally represent that petition,” he intoned with a deep, reassuring voice. All signs pointed to this guy having some major grievance with the city council–but honestly, I could listen to him narrate movie trailers all day. His voice was that soothing.
But I’m sorry, you were saying something about tyranny?
“Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. And the government role is to protect our rights, not to find exceptions,” he murmured, like some sort of Ken Burns documentary.
“Your opinion is your theology, and any opinion contrary to the fact I set forth is contrary to our basis of governance. That is why I am requesting repeal of the tax for the support of the sports arena. We’d like to see the city council repeal all ordinances that are destructive of the life, liberty, property, and prosperity of the people of Hutchinson.”
There was a dramatic pause as the John Williams musical score in my head stopped playing.
“Thank you. We appreciate it,” Mayor Jon Daveline casually replied. Then, cheerfully, “next item, please!”
The city attorney leaned forward in his chair, giving the audience an exclusive view of the hyper-expressive sign language translator.
“There was a bill passed by the Kansas legislature moving elections to the fall–and requiring an extension of your terms,” he announced. As a smirk spread across his lips, he added, “so let me be the first to thank you for your additional months of service!”
Everyone laughed, perhaps a bit TOO hard.
“This extends your terms from April of this year to January 2018,” he elaborated. “For those whose terms would have expired not in 2017 but in 2019, your terms are extended to 2020.”
Not everybody was elated.
“I mean, they [the voters] might want us out in April and we’re here for another eight months,” Councilmember Jade Piros de Caravalho observed with a mournful chuckle.
“So…the changing of the guard will not occur until WHEN?!” exclaimed the mayor half-jokingly.
“You’re stuck!” Councilmember Nancy Soldner clucked.
At this point, Camo Sleeves jumped uninvited back up to the mic. Cue the music from Braveheart.
“The city does retain the right to stand up and say we will not comply with any law the state comes out with,” he urged them defiantly. “You do have that right. You don’t have to comply with their laws.”
Mayor Daveline shifted uncomfortably, no doubt realizing that the Civil War started over something similar to this. “We’re…gonna take the advice of our city attorney here–”
“The law is often the rule of tyrants,” Camo said firmly. “That’s just the way it is.”
The color had drained from the city attorney’s face. “Uh…the authority that a city has is granted to it by the state of Kansas. If they didn’t grant us the authority…we couldn’t exist.”
Final thoughts: It’s a tough call…they didn’t stand up to tyranny. But they did avoid an inter-governmental apocalypse. I give these council members 8 out of 10 camo-sleeve pullovers.