to the editor from this week's Chronicle:
Back in Review #8, the impact a single individual might have on events
around him was discussed. The example given was the stalemated "tug-of-war"
which occurred during an '80's "Powder Puff Night" at Prairie High School.
In that event, the tardy appearance of a senior was all that it took to
end the stalemate, giving the victory to the seniors and frosh on one end
of the rope! This was cited as a good example of the impact a single individual
can have on a contested situation.
For a more significant historical example of what one individual can
accomplish, we take a look back in history to the time of Davey Crockett,
whose fame was forever immortalized in the ballad containing the line "killed
himself a bear, when he was only three!"
In addition to his fame as a frontier's man, Crockett also served in
the U.S. House of Representatives. As reported in a historical account
entitled "Not Yours to Give" the following incident occurred while Crockett
was in the legislature.
Seems that Congressman Crockett, in a burst of compassion, had joined
a majority of other representatives in appropriating $20,000 for the relief
of some burned out families in the Georgetown area. A fire had occurred
in the winter and had left many families totally homeless and without even
food and clothing.
Campaigning for reelection later on in his own district, Crockett ran
into a polite but irate constituent by the name of Horatio Bunce. In the
lecture which followed, Crockett was bluntly told that the money given
"Was not yours to give."
A brief summary of this historical lecture follows: "It is not the
amount, Colonel Crockett, that I object to. It is the principle." Bunce
goes on to say that government should never have in the first place, excess
money to give. Only that which is budgeted for specific purposes. But more
important, "the power of collecting and disbursing money at one's pleasure
is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man..."
Taxes "...reach every man in the country no matter how poor he may
be. So you see, while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing
from others who are possibly worse off than he."
"If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to
all...and thus are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may
believe...is a charity, and any amount you may think is proper"
"You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for
fraud and corruption and favoritism on the one hand, and for robbing the
people on the other."
Bunce continued, "No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity.
Individual members may give as much as they please, but they have no right
to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose." (Concluded next
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