Representatives must rely on their judgement

David Mentz

Dear Editor,

As a “Johnny Foreigner” lucky enough to be residing in the world’s greatest democracy, I am again bemused by a recycled refrain, in use this time as part of the golf course debate.

Whether the Council’s decision is far-sighted or folly, I do not know. What I do know is that Glenwood’s forebears were wise enough to institute representative government.

Consequently I do not understand those who claim that if their elected officials reach a decision that is not in accordance with their own, then “democracy is being undermined.” Their counterparts are those officials who, come decision time, vote not from conviction but a desire to reflect that opinion split in the vote result.

May I reacquaint these people with the words of that great friend of the American peoples, Edmund Burke, in 1774:

“It ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union . and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention.

“But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you . or to any men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure . nor from . the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

Yours faithfully,

David Mentz


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