‘Life liberty, pursuing happiness’ in Thorndale
David Barkemeyer
Milam County Judge

I looked over as Mayor Billy Simank walked into the room from an appointment with a client, plying his trade as a real estate broker.

I had just finished giving the small crowd of Thorndale citizens an update on county government “goings on” and school superintendent Casey Callahan was in the middle of a discussion of how he was going to cope with the recent budget cuts made by our Texas legislature.

Next justice-of-the peace Gary Northcott, retired career Alcoan, explained the new things being done in his office to do a better job of fine collections, followed by Sheriff David Greene explaining things his department is doing to be as efficient as possible while still taking care of our law enforcement needs. David has been in law enforcement around here all his adult life, from game warden to constable and now sheriff). Then came Jef f Muegge, a Thorndale High graduate who has been in the precinct ever since, as well as being a local farmer and rancher and is now Precinct 4 commissioner, telling about the things he and his crew are doing to try to improve our roads.

Finally Mayor Simank and city manager Keith Kerling got a turn to talk about the good things going on to maintain and improve the city of Thorndale.

If that’s not government “of the people, by the people, for the people”, then I don’t know what is.

Thursday night Margia and I sat in the crowd gathered at the school auditorium to watch the crowning of the town beauties from Miss Toddler to Miss Thorndale 2011 followed by a weekend of barbecue cookoff, dominoes, softball, country music, and family fun.

And if that’s not “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, then I don’t know what is.

This is what makes America great and this is what keeps America great. Back in the 19th Century, Alexis Tocqueville came to the United States to try to figure out why the French revolution had failed while the American Revolution succeeded and democracy continued to thrive. Some of the things he observed were:

The A mer ican system was rooted in Christianity, it grew out of an agricultural base and ownership of property, Americans were self reliant and had a long tradition of self government.

He said that they seem to understand that self government begins with the moral government of self.

In America, government was not something that was imposed from above, but something that grew from seeds planted on local ground.

He observed that in the township the force of free people resides, people know each other intimately, and govern themselves directly in the affairs that touch their daily lives.

Americans’ character shaped their Constitution, it wasn’t their Constitution that shaped their character. Self government was a necessity before it became a theory, arising from the practical needs of the people.

He concluded, “In America, liberty is an achievement, the result of individuals learning to rule themselves.”

I believe in places like Thorndale, Texas, not Washington D. C. freedom and liberty still has a chance.

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2011-06-30 digital edition

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