A popular old bumper sticker goes something like this:
“Don’t criticize the farmer with your mouth full.”
Probably a bad idea to criticize much of anybody when your mouth is full — as your mother may have mentioned, that’s just bad manners.
But the point is well taken.
It should also apply to local government officials who decry state and federal “interference” but are only too happy to accept aid — particularly in the form of cash — from those same state and federal bogeymen.
Take Yakima County, for instance.
Despite all their talk of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “one-man rule” in ordering mask and vaccination mandates to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus, Yakima County commissioners had few complaints about the state Department of Commerce slipping the county an extra $1 million for homeless services last summer. That extra million was in addition to the $4.4 million the state gave the county in the last biennium.
And just last week, commissioners were trying to figure out how to put $48 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to good use. They’ve already received half of that from the American Rescue Plan Act, and now they’re talking about how it might help local public safety, affordable housing, economic development and quality of life projects in the next few years.
Imagine that. State and federal entities actually helping local ones.
It’s funny how often local politicians deride state or national oversight or assistance as socialism, welfare or even tyranny until someone offers them a check.
We’re certainly not opposed to local control. That’s the foundation of a democratic society.
But it’s worth mentioning that the same voters who elect local officials also get a say in who runs the state and federal governments.
That’s why we call it “representative government,” and it’s why we refer to elected officials and their staffs as public servants. We say that because they represent and serve us.
In effect, we are the government — because when we cast our ballots, we’re choosing who will do the public’s business. Ultimately, we are the government’s boss.
In this case, we should all be happy that some hefty checks are coming our way, thanks to the state and federal officials that we’ve helped hire.
So maybe it would behoove all of us — particularly some of our local elected officials — to remember that we’re all on the same side here. We might have our political disagreements, but whether they’re local, state or national, the people we elect to office all work for us.
Your mother might’ve mentioned something along those lines, too.