Now and then, we need to be reminded of how radical a document was the Declaration of Independence. Consider this paraphrase and adaptation of its opening lines:

A decent respect to opinions of our residents merits a reminder that government was instituted among men, deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed. And when government becomes destructive of these ends, the people have the right to alter or abolish it and institute something new. Prudence has shown that governments long established should not be changed for transient causes. Experience has shown that mankind is prone to suffer the status quo than to right themselves through change. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations occurs, it is their right, their duty, to throw off such government. Such has been the patient sufferance of the Davidson electorate, and now necessity constrains them to alter the system.

We must hold the elected incumbents – and town manager – accountable for:

1. Imposing upon the citizens of Davidson without a referendum a very large debt when purchasing a cable TV system that now threatens to undermine the future viability of local government to meet the needs of its residents.

2. Attempting to unilaterally extend the terms of elected office, without a referendum, that would have cheapened the value of the voting franchise, while attributing the idea to another appointed “independent” study group.

3. Raising taxes or fees to compensate for gross past misjudgments, subject to direction or guidance from an unelected town manager.

4. Creating a less transparent decision-making process that has included closing to the public regular town board meetings – or meeting informally behind closed doors – shielded by a sometimes-impenetrable government bureaucracy.

Therefore, be it resolved the citizens of Davidson reserve the right to replace all the incumbent officeholders and elect an entirely new set of representatives, who may then choose to critically review the “comprehensive plan” for the development of Davidson and re-examine the council-manager form of government that, as practiced, has permitted the devolution of too much power to bureaucrats.

Bearing in mind the importance of recruiting able candidates to replace the incumbents, let us do so and on Nov. 8, throw out of office those who have forfeited their responsibility to govern. Davidson can fire a shot heard in every town in the land: that government that is supposed to be closest to the people can be returned to the people’s control.

– William E. Jackson Jr., Davidson