One of my favorite mental images of how the founding documents and the U.S.government are supposed to work is as a bookcase.
The founding documents and the government could be seen as a framework, a structure to ensure things that are important and that need to be accessible have a home.
I think of the founding documents as the owner's manual not only for putting the bookshelf together but the job description of the librarian.
The government is the bookshelf. Our elected representatives are the librarians. The books on the bookshelf are our rights and the rule of law we establish to protect those rights.
The people (citizens) own the bookshelf. The books were given to us (natural rights) by a mysterious and anonymous library founder and patron. We have added books of our own that are derivative of those original books.
The people hire the librarians to make sure that everyone has access to those books. Think of the library board as our elected office holders. Think of the government employees as the folks pushing the carts between the bookshelves, tidying up, organizing, putting everything in it's place so the next person can access it.
I love libraries and books. I love the idea of going in, and looking for I want to read and know about and do. On my time, at my place, in my own interests.
There are the library and librarian rules so that I don't interrupt or interfere with others using the library as well. Libraries are sacred places where individuals can all come to get but be focused on their own interests and concerns. Where we respect each other's study and research though we may not choose to read the same authors or books.
As a people, it is our responsibility to ensure the library stays open. It is our responsibility to ensure that our representative board members are engaged in following the instructions and making sure that everyone has access.
When the board gets out of line, creating new rules that overstep their job description or not paying due diligence to the job they were sent to do, it is our job to replace them with someone who will stay within the job description and not be lazy or abusive.
Everyone loves and appreciates a well cared for library that is inclusive and accessible. It's easy to turn a blind eye and let someone else handle the oversight of the board and the library.
The ultimate responsibility of, for and to the library is us, the people. We are the oversight committee of the library and the board. If we do not pay due diligence and know what the instruction manual says to keep the bookshelf in good condition and that the books are properly shelved and the lights stay on and the doors stay open and that everyone can get their own library card. If we the people do not do that job, then it is us who have failed the library.
It is us who have wasted such valuable gifts that gave us the instruction manual and the place to build the library and the resources to get everything needed to run it.
The instruction manual and the gifted resources are not at fault. It's those of us who decided we don't need to read the manual and just ignore it or try to redesign it for our own purposes as opposed to being there for everyone in the community.
I love our library. I'm willing to read the manual, know how it's supposed to be put together and work. I will be active in the oversight of the library board and trying to keep the library open and accessible for the whole community.