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Law officers ignore meeting, and that’s good

Law officers ignore meeting, and that’s good

Sometimes a quiet no-show can be a really loud statement.

 

A few weeks ago, Cherokee County Sheriff Dustin Smith hosted a meeting of the controversial Constitutional Sheriff and Peace Officers Association. No sheriffs or law enforcement officers from Western North Carolina showed up except representatives from Smith’s department, and that’s a great showing for this region’s law enforcement officers. That should make this region’s citizens proud. This group does not deserve support of legitimate and serious law enforcement officers.

This association believes that sheriffs, as the highest law enforcement officer in a county, should be able to ignore federal authorities. Although it’s not clear on what specific issues they should be able to ignore, it seems most of them have to do with far-right theories about guns and the 2020 election and past COVID mandates.

It’s OK for folks to have their own personal beliefs. That’s what is great about this country, and it’s why we elect leaders at all levels to make federal laws, to pass state statutes and to enact local ordinances. But it’s a sheriff’s duty to uphold these laws, not randomly decide that certain laws are wrong and therefore declare the power to not enforce them. That’s not how it works.

Unfortunately, Rep. Chuck Edwards R-Hendersonville had one of his representative show up at this meeting and offer its founder, Richard Mack, a citation. That’s not a good look for Edwards.

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Again, we are all entitled to our beliefs, but none of us are above the law. This group and its supporters seem to think otherwise.

 •••

Town council and mayoral candidates in Franklin, Webster, Village of Forest Hills and Bryson City will all run unopposed in the upcoming Nov. 7 municipal elections.

Is that a result of voter apathy, lack of desire to serve, or are citizens just happy with status quo? That’s a question that’s tough to answer, but I personally hope it’s primarily due to the last of those three options.

Franklin Mayor Jack Horton offered that opinion when asked about the lack of candidates in the Macon County town that he leads. Horton, probably one of the most qualified mayors to serve Western North Carolina — he spent his career in local government, including stints as county manager in Haywood and Macon counties — said his decision to run for office is based on his desire to give back to his community.

“If you really have at heart, ‘what can I do for my community to benefit them with the talents and the training and the experience that I have, then I need to use that to benefit my community.’ So, this is a way of giving back. I think most people in Franklin like a lot of the things that the town council has been working on. Hopefully we’ll continue to do that.”

When one looks around the country, particularly at the federal level and the often asinine politics that are commonplace in D.C., it’s refreshing to see local leaders tirelessly working for those who pay taxes and not for themselves.

•••

Jackson County Commissioner John Smith’s comments regarding the LGBQT+ community are, well, extremely disappointing to say the least. 

Regarding a pageant organized by Sylva Pride a few weeks ago, Smith posted on a Facebook forum that the LGBQT+ community was the “perverted one percent.”

Really, are there elected leaders still grappling with the fact that people may have different sexual preferences and beliefs than they may have? Are there still people that can’t accept this reality?

Hopefully, despite his beliefs, Smith can find it in his heart to represent all the citizens of Jackson County, even those different from him. That is, after all, what he was elected to do.

•••

Had an email from an old friend this morning, someone I hadn’t heard from in years. He was an enthusiastic influencer in Haywood politics for a few years and one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. He sent this very relevant quote from George Bernard Shaw, a writer and thinker whose words are worth reading: “Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”

Indeed.

(Scott McLeod can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

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