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Sometimes, we like to point out to those around us that we live in a republic, not a democracy. Those who enjoy standing up and extolling the virtues of democracy will get no argument from us, but there actually is a difference. Representative government, such as we have in these United States of America, is a republic where elected representatives made decisions regarding public policy. If it was a pure democracy, everybody in the county, state and nation would be entitled to vote on every item of public debate. That would be tiring, cumbersome and very ineffective, to say the least. Public forums would be held constantly to see what the majority believes should be done. Nevertheless, we are puzzled that some individuals appear to have taken public decision-making to a new level. Not only has this group decided that a duly-elected county commission member should resign, they have apparently even managed to select his replacement. Never mind, apparently, that the voters put Buster Stowers in office. The public, as the saying has gone, be damned, evidently. The group’s leader, who oddly enough lives out of state yet fights for “change” here, says Stowers is suffering from ill health and should give up his seat by resignation. She did nothing, apparently, to check with Stowers about the matter, although she does say that she spoke with Stowers’ wife before initiating a petition seeking his removal. We have heard that Stowers, who has suffered from some ill health, is markedly better and plans to complete his six-year term. The suggestion from Versie Sims, who lives in Ohio but pays taxes here, is even more remarkable when one considers that even courts are reluctant to remove public officials because of the sanctity of those chosen by the people. Trivial matters like the fact that Stowers was elected by the people seem to make little difference to Sims. She sees a “brief window of economic opportunity” and wants to install Steve Priestley, recently defeated in the Democrat primary, in Stowers’ place. We can trust Sims when she says here “heart is in the right place” regarding this matter. She says she doesn’t want to get bogged down in Lincoln County’s old-style politics. Yet, we think her judgment is fatally flawed. Nobody has the right to demand that an elected official give up his or her position and be named an “honorary” public official. Nothing in the law or practice allows such a thing. Further, Priestley lives in the wrong magisterial district to serve in this position. State law allows no more than one member of a county commission from any magisterial district. President Charles McCann already resides in the same district with Priestley. Thus, Priestley is ineligible to serve. Can we ask for a timeout long enough to consider what is going on here? The people elected Buster Stowers. He is THEIR commissioner. He is not accused of being guilty of any high crimes or misdemeanors. He has simply been ill. Nobody has a right to demand that he resign.

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