By Michael Law
While I appreciate the proviso in the title, I am an elected official, which makes it political. In addition to this, questioning the ethics of my actions as well as claiming that published information was not truthful makes it personal. But let us move to the meat of the argument: the accusation that my actions were unethical and therefore I must resign.
First, the only items that I have ever signed are my oath of office and the minutes to every board meeting that I have attended. But let us say for argument’s sake that what you say is true and that that was included in the oath. The first item of the oath is to the Constitution of the United States- to protect and defend it- an oath that I am sure you know well. “This Constitution…shall be the supreme law of the Land.” My allegiance is to the Constitution first. Justice John Marshall, in the landmark case of Marbury v. Madison, stated that rules, actions, or “a law repugnant to the Constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument [Constitution].”
The 1st Amendment guarantees that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” The Supreme Court has included every other level of government in its interpretation of this amendment, which includes the government of public schools. In short, even if you interpret the code of ethics to include my actions as being unethical, my actions are, in fact, in perfect harmony with the Constitution, thus, ethical.
Unlike a soldier, I am an elected official who answers to the electors. Soldiers are employees of the government and must answer to every higher ranking individual, up to the Commander-in-chief. There must be order in the military; otherwise it could not properly operate. Spouting off about the commander-in-chief or any other superior officer demoralizes fellow soldiers and compromises the chain of command. Despite this, an unlawful or immoral order does not need to be followed, and, in fact, must not be followed.
The same concept of an unlawful or immoral act not being followed applies. I believe that not maximizing taxpayer money, not being completely transparent about how taxpayer money is used, or how it will be used, is immoral. I believe that it is immoral to use taxpayer money that is supposed to be used for the academic education of children but is instead used for non-academic purposes. Every dollar must be justified to the taxpayer, showing that it is properly being used for the purposes for which it is intended.
Moreover, I believe it is immoral to continue to exact taxes from citizens who are themselves struggling to pay for the necessities of life. With 44% of our students being on free and reduced lunch, it is obvious that this struggle exists. Furthermore, what is not included in our economically struggling community is the plight of struggling farmers and fixed-income seniors. Continuing to exact taxes, when it is clear that a significant portion of the community is struggling is immoral.
My desire to strengthen families by lifting the tax burden on them, returning more responsibility for education into the hands of parents, rather than government administrators, demanding transparency and proper, academically-justifiable spending is ethical. Moreover, following the Constitution and acting on my inalienable 1st Amendment rights are ethical. I will continue to follow the dictates of my conscience.