Below is essentially what I read at the January 1, 2010 Reorganization Meeting of the Township of Berkeley Heights Council:
Each year, usually on January 1st, when the Berkeley Heights government is reconstituted, at least two individuals take the solemn oath of office to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States and that of New Jersey. Is this oath to be applied daily during the term of office as the standard? Or is the oath merely an utterance of words to be spoken and promptly forgotten. This is an extremely important issue. Consider the following two examples.
Last year, during the debates about the so-called "health-care reform," the following interchange was reported.
"CNSNews.com: "Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?"
Pelosi: "Are you serious? Are you serious?"
CNSNews.com: "Yes, yes, I am."
Pelosi then shook her head before taking a question from another reporter. Her press spokesman, Nadeam Elshami, then told CNSNews.com that asking the Speaker of the House where the Constitution authorized Congress to mandate that individual Americans buy health insurance was not a "serious question." "You can put this on the record," said Elshami. "That is not a serious question. That is not a serious question."
The commentator who reported this interchange added the following: "One can expect members of the House of Representatives to be foggy on matters of constitutionality, although their two-year terms ought to allow them to become experts on the subject. Should Senators come to their jobs as Solons prepared to repel any and all usurpations of the Constitution? Yes. Willing and able to uphold individual rights and the sanctity of private contract? Yes. It is in the nature of the title and the concomitant responsibility of the office. Most senators, however, do not come to the job with anything near a tenuous knowledge of their function. And many of them assume their seats in the Senate with a contempt for the Constitution that may as well be ignorance."
This first example shows a contempt for and a denigration of the Constitution by a member of Congress. How is this relevant to the governance of the Township of Berkeley Heights?
During last year's campaign, in answer to the question "Why do you not recognize and support individual rights?" one member of the Township Council at that time replied, in essence, such an issue of individual rights rarely comes up at our level of government. This was the reply, when very shortly afterwards a question arose about the direct violation of property rights and no attempt was made to modify the initial answer. Thus, it is just not true that issues of individual rights, and what is subsumed under that concept, rarely come up in Berkeley Heights.
Thus let me reword the commentators' questions and observations:
Should members of the Berkeley Heights Township Council come to their jobs as Solons prepared to repel any and all usurpations of the Constitution? Yes. Willing and able to uphold individual rights and the sanctity of private contract? Yes.
It is in the nature of the title and the concomitant responsibility of the office. Thus, I expect each and every member of the Berkeley Heights government to do just that, and take seriously the oath of office to the Constitution and apply it daily as the standard. In addition, every member of government, at every level, is expected and obligated by the solemn oath of office taken to protect and defend our rights as free and independent individuals.
In closing, let me identify the commentator referred to above. He is Ed Cline, author of the Sparrowhawk series of fictional books. This series of six books follows two young Englishmen of very different backgrounds from their youth in England to their journey to America and their subsequent participation in the American Revolutionary War.