Thomas Jefferson and the Citizen Servant

By Colonel Mike Angley

Thomas Jefferson was America’s third President (1801 – 1809) and before that, the author of our Declaration of Independence. He frequently wrote about the role of public officials, oftentimes calling them ‘Citizen Legislators’ since his focus was mostly on those who became lawmakers. For purposes of this article, I use the term Citizen Servant to more broadly include those who choose to serve in any branch of government: legislative, executive, or judicial.

To Jefferson, a government ‘by the people and for the people’ must first be a government ‘OF the people,’ that is, one comprised of everyday citizens. In his day, the primary occupation was agricultural, so he tended to write about the farmer who would put down his plow and go to Congress to represent his local community. He spoke of ensuring our representatives were:

“…not office-hunters, but farmers… Such men are the true representatives of the great American interest and are alone to be relied on for expressing the proper American sentiments.” (emphasis added) –Thomas Jefferson to A. Campbell, 1797

The citizen-turned-legislator would return to his field in a few short years and live again among the neighbors he had just served. Talk about REAL accountability.

One thing Jefferson cautioned about repeatedly was the rise of the career politician, the ‘office-hunter’ noted above, essentially calling for term limits:

“I apprehend that the total abandonment of the principle of rotation in the offices of President and Senator will end in abuse.” –Thomas Jefferson to E. Rutledge, 1788.

 

But that’s exactly where we’ve come to today. We have devolved to a political class of careerists who know only one way to make a buck: advancing from one political job to the next, or staying stuck in incumbency status for multiple, successive terms without limits. They never return to the field to again pick up their plows.

Jefferson gave us the reasons why we must avoid the rise of a political class of careerists…corruption:

“Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on [offices] a rottenness begins in his conduct.” –Thomas Jefferson to T. Coxe, 1799.

To guard against this, he believed we needed to pay politicians paltry sums so that their focus would be to do the right thing for the citizens they represent, and not to fatten their own pockets.

“Our public economy is such as to offer drudgery and subsistence only to those entrusted with its administration–a wise and necessary precaution against the degeneracy of the public servants.” –Thomas Jefferson to M. de Meunier, 1795.

He lived this by example, as well:

“I have the consolation of having added nothing to my private fortune during my public service and of retiring with hands as clean as they are empty.” –Thomas Jefferson to Diodati, 1807.

How many multi-millionaire Congressmen can claim that? Most start out with broken bank accounts and manage to fatten their pockets in the millions on a civil servant’s pay. Not that they make bad money, it’s actually good (and with benefits befitting the monarchy our Founding Fathers reviled). But there’s no way anyone else making the same amount of money in the private sector manages to sock away as much cash in their coffers as public servants.

I am a candidate for Sheriff of El Paso County, Colorado, and I’ve made some similar points clear on the campaign trail as far as my race is concerned. First, I plan to be a Citizen Servant, and as someone who has written with the same disdain about politics as our Founders did, it’s not hard for me.

Once my two terms expire (I am term-limited, thankfully), I will go back to my field and again pick up my plow among my neighbors. In my case, it will be a pen to paper as I reenergize my writing interests.

Second, I am committed to cleaning up Public Corruption. It is in my Contract with the Citizens of the County, and a promise I continually make on the campaign trail when I go about and give speeches. Here’s one such recent speech: Mike’s Speech Before the Colorado Springs Republican Women’s Group

I will do my part as the People’s Sheriff, as a believer in the Constitutional Sheriff’s Movement, to serve as the people’s last check and balance against tyranny and government intrusion. I will clean up corruption, live by the example of Thomas Jefferson, and provide for the public safety while keeping my office accountable and transparent to the taxpayers.

If only all ‘politicians’ would actually to do the same.


Colonel Michael (“Mike”) Angley is retired from the United States Air Force, a published thriller author, and a conservative writer who fashions himself as Attila the Hun with a laptop. Mike wrote for Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government and Big Peace blogs before the Breitbart consolidation, receiving superb feedback and kudos for typically weaving in pop culture references with his far right perspectives. He enjoys writing about military affairs, national security issues, and politics and is an avid Second Amendment advocate. When he’s not writing, he’s busy annoying liberals with FaceBook posts and Twitter tweets that point out the obvious flaws and fallacies of the left.

During his 26-year USAF career, the Colonel was a Special Agent with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). The OSI is a sister agency to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and has an identical mission that includes felony-level criminal, fraud, and narcotics investigations as well as counterintelligence and counterterrorism operations. His USAF experiences spanned multiple regions around the globe with five command assignments and duties at foreign, regional, theater and national levels.

He is a seasoned counterintelligence and counterespionage officer from the Cold War era, and if you ask him he’ll tell you the spy-vs-spy days were indeed the heady, glory era of espionage. During the latter half of his career he focused on counterterrorism missions in the Middle East and the Far East and operationalized many of today’s concepts for this unique arena while working the sand dunes of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and a few other “choice” locations. When Colonel Angley retired in 2007, he was a Senior Supervisory Special Agent and was in command of all worldwide OSI matters at Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs, CO.

Mike Angley is also a published, award-winning author of three thriller novels in the “Child Finder” trilogy. His debut novel, “Child Finder,” received a glowing review from the Library Journal which placed it on its Summer Reading list in 2009. “Child Finder” and its companion sequel novels all won various awards from the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) and the Public Safety Writers Association. In 2012, Mike was named MWSA’s “Author of the Year,” largely for work on his third novel, “Child Finder: Revelation.”

As an avid user of social media, Mike can be found and friended on Facebook (mike.angley) and followed on Twitter (@MikeAngley). His website is www.mikeangley.com. Following his USAF retirement, Mike and his family stayed in Colorado Springs, CO where they enjoy daily, majestic views of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains.

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