Sunday, October 22, 2017
Alas, voter turnout (about 10% of registered voters, and less than 2% in some areas) was even worse than my previous pessimistic prediction (Please see my September 20th facebook post).
Was this lack of voter interest and participation yet another indicator of an ongoing and growing lack of voter confidence in and even dismay with the elected leadership of both major political parties?
Were the upstart 2016 presidential campaigns of Donald J. Trump and Bernard Sanders early barometers of a swirling and spreading storm of citizen calumny about this leadership?
Are the majority of our citizens not only voting with their feet and walking away from our political leaders, but also now disdaining and disregarding our representative form of governance?
Where were you on election day?
I don't know.
I'm just askin'.
Postscript: Visit www.facebook.com/LarryDKump and chime in on my October 22nd, 2017 reposting of my letter to the editor of "The Journal" daily newspaper, with your response to my question regarding the timing of West Virginia's "special elections". My inquiring mind needs to know!
Editorial note: Please see my other posts about good governance issues on this website and also on Facebook (www/facebook/com/LarryDKump). Please share this message with others, asking them to go and do likewise with still more others!
Monday, October 9, 2017
“When I first was a candidate for election to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 2010, it was my sincere promise and firm conviction to always stand up and speak out on behalf of more taxpayer friendly and less intrusive government. That has not changed, nor will it ever!"
"Seventy-five (75) different Republican and Democrat legislators, in the one hundred (100) member West Virginia House of Delegates, previously cosponsored legislation with me. Even so, I never have been and never will be someone who goes along, just to get along. Simply doing what’s right is the best of all rewards.”
“While continuing to carefully listen to the whole gamut of citizen concerns, my grass-roots championing has been and always will be in compliance with our divinely inspired Constitution, the well-spring of our American Excellence."
"Accordingly, I will continue to strive to pursue and protect our individual liberty, personal accountability, and personal empowerment. It is the pursuit of these principles of good governance that will give us meaningful tax reform, protect retired senior citizens and working Mountaineers, defend our personal right to bear arms, provide for the local accountability of our schools, and safeguard our personal property rights and family values."
"Moreover, West Virginia's state government treasury currently is severely stressed. Times also are too hard for far too many Mountaineers. That's why we need tax reform, but not more tax burdens.
A better way is to restructure our already ample state budget, by reforming our tax system and state government programs. Among other things, this could and should lead to improved highways, reduced (not increased) gasoline prices at the pump, better broadband and cell phone access, and even the elimination of state taxes on our social security benefits.
Also, the discouraging aftermath of drug and alcohol abuse can and should be reduced by reforming our current draconian laws, which make it so difficult for the repentant and redeemed to re-enter the workplace, thereby becoming self-sufficient and tax paying members of our communities."
"Of course, government transparency and accountability also are essential for this to happen."
"Meanwhile, I pledge to continue my own personal and public practice of integrity, accountability, and transparency. As always in elected office and in every other aspect of our lives, character counts!”
Mr. Kump has over forty (40) years of extensive experience and skills in public policy and administration. He also is a kinsman of founding father Patrick Henry, Town of Hedgesville founder Josiah Hedges, and former West Virginia Governor Herman Guy Kump.
West Virginia House of Delegates District #59 includes the northwestern area of Berkeley County and the northeastern area of Morgan County.
Please join the Mountaineer League of Extraordinary Citizens!
Accordingly, and to make a difference on behalf of good governance in West Virginia, send your personal contribution ($100 to $250 is suggested, but whatever you can afford will be appreciated and helpful) to:
“Friends of Larry D. Kump”
P.O. Box 1131
Falling Waters, West Virginia 25419-1131.
For further information about Larry: Read the "Kump Biography" at this website.
Also, visit him on Facebook at (www.facebook.com/LarryDKump).
Contact Larry in person at (304) 274-3104 or email him at email@example.com.
Cash contributions will not be accepted. Also, West Virginia law does not allow campaign contributions from West Virginia public employees (However, this does not include public employees' spouses or other family members). All contributions over $250 must include your home and mailing address, occupation, and the name of your employer. No Primary election contributions over $1,000 per person are allowed.
Please share this news with others, and also ask them to go and do likewise!
Authorized by "Friends of Larry D. Kump"
Friday, October 6, 2017
*Montani Semper Liberi!” (“Mountaineers are Always Free!”) is our official State Motto. Oft times, our elected officials struggle to understand and preserve this precious liberty. Also, my friend Tom Price, while lamenting the efforts of our West Virginia elected officials to impose even more taxes upon us, recently exclaimed, "Montani Semper Impensa!" (Mountaineers Always Pay the Fee!)
*“Vandalia” was the first name suggested for West Virginia, as part of a proposed 14th colony, which also included Eastern Kentucky and Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The first name proposed for the current State of West Virginia was “Kanawha”, although that proposal did not include the current Eastern Panhandle as part of West Virginia.
*The West Virginia “State Fruit” is not our elected public officials. It is the Golden Delicious Apple.
*Romney (Hampshire County) and Shepherdstown (Jefferson County) fiercely contest which was the first incorporated municipality in West Virgina, but Hedgesville (Berkeley County) was third.
*Civil War General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was born in West Virginia.
*The Grandparents of famous frontiersman and hero of the Alamo, Davy Crockett, lived in Spring Mills (Berkeley County). Their home still stands, just a few scant miles from my home in Falling Waters.
*“Pepperoni Rolls” were created by West Virginia coal miners, as a handy meal to take with them into the depths of coal mines. West Virginia Delegate Joshua Nelson authored a resolution naming pepperoni rolls as the official West Virginia State Food in the 2013 session of the West Virginia Legislature.
*The smallest state park in the United States is “Berkeley Springs State Park”, which is right smack downtown in the West Virginia town of “Bath”. Nope, the name of the town of Bath is not Berkeley Springs. Berkeley Springs only is the name of the Post Office which serves the town of Bath.
Also, visit www.facebook.com/LarryDKump for information about good governance issues
Please share this message with others, asking them to also go and do likewise!
Thursday, October 5, 2017
He also has over forty years of prior legislative and public administration skills and experience.
These skills and experience includes management expertise in managing large budgets and meeting payrolls. This expertise is on both the management and employees' side of the table in multiple jurisdictions throughout our nation. He also has drafted and gotten legislation passed into law, often against formidable opposition.
Larry is no stranger to hard work. He began work at age twelve (managing two newspaper routes at the same time), worked at a local shoe store at age 16 (every day after school and on Saturdays), and then continued working at a number of full and part-time jobs to pay for his college tuition. He even found time to be a local radio personality.
This proud father of David & Sarah graduated from Frostburg State University with a Political Science Major and a Minor in Economics. Other areas of concentration included Social Science, Business Administration, Economics, Philosophy, and Geography. He later returned to Hagerstown Community College to receive an Associate's degree, which included a concentration in Criminal Justice.
He worked in bank management, trained as a CPA, was the Legislative Aide for the Pennsylvania Senate Republican Leader, and even was accepted as a candidate for MENSA membership.
This grass roots leader and Constitutional scholar then went on to be a Labor Relations Specialist for the Maryland Classified Employees Association (MCEA), an independent public employee advocate organization.
After working for MCEA, Larry accepted the position as the Executive Director of the Indiana State Employees Association (ISEA), another independent public employee advocate group. He reorganized ISEA's structure and budget, and he frequently lectured at Indiana University and Purdue University post graduate classes on public administration practice and theory.
This kinsman to founding father Patrick Henry and former West Virginia Governor Herman Guy Kump (1932 term) also is related to Town of Hedgesville founder Josiah Hedges.
He also previously served as Regional President of the Assembly of Governmental Employees (AGE), overseeing public policy advocacy issues from Illinois to West Virginia.
His other activities included serving as a leader of the Foundation for Advancement for Industrial research (FAIR), the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), and many other public service organizations.
Moving to West Virginia in 1989, he graduated at the top of his class from the Maryland Correctional Professional Staff Academy as a Maryland Prison Case Manager and also then served as a court expert witness, employee training coordinator, cognitive development trainer, employee critical incident stress counselor, and certified mediator.
He also worked part-time during the evenings as a sex offender group therapy facilitator.
Serving in numerous MCEA elected offices, Larry drafted legislative proposals for the Maryland Legislature and testified before various Legislative Committees.
In 1991, he also successfully organized a coalition of Berkeley County neighbors to block plans for sewage effluent discharge across their privately owned properties by an out-of-state developer.
After witnessing the overwhelmed facilities and woefully inadequate parking at the local Falling Waters Post Office, he contacted and persuaded the national postal authorities to build a new Post Office in 1993.
Larry has been an Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and the Better Business Bureau.
A cancer survivor, this independent thinker and advocate of citizen empowerment also is a member of the Hedgesville Ward (congregation) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).
Larry is a strong believer in rock solid fiscal discipline, enhancing family values, and strengthening individual liberty and personal responsibilities.
Gravely concerned about those who are elected to represent us, Larry continues reminds friends and associates that our government belongs solely to the citizens, and that too many forget that one of the major sources of our nation's greatness simply is its citizens.
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
It was in the late 1960's when I first saw a film of the slide show version, when I was a political science undergraduate student at Frostburg State College in Western Maryland.
It since then has been remade into an animated video version.
Regardless of the politics and Canadian nationality of Tommy Douglas, Mouseland's message rises above fractious and feckless political partisanship, both then and now, with a cry for each and every one of us to stand up and be responsible for our own personal accountability and empowerment.
Click here to watch the video, and decide for yourself if these principles make as much sense to you as they do for me.
Also, pass this along to all of your friends, family, and associates by clicking on the envelope icon at the end of this entry. Even better: Ask them all to go and do likewise!
Regardless of where you live, do your part to support the quest for "Jobs & Prosperity", "Personal Liberty & Family Values", and "Returning Government Back to the People".
Until then, may God bless you all real good!
Working together to Stay Independent,
Larry D. Kump
Postscript: Visit the other posts on this website and also www.facebook.com/LarryDKump for more of this about that!
Addendum: Send your contributions for my election to:
Friends of Larry D. Kump
P. O. Box 1131
Falling Waters, West Virginia 25419-1131
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
" Delegate Kump,
I have looked forward to the information you put out to the people you represent.
I have looked forward to the correspondence, back and forth, with you.
I have come to know you on simple terms as down-to-earth, straight forward, and sincere towards the area and people you represent.
All of these are very rare qualities for someone in your position, by far.
In today's society, it is almost unheard of for anyone to care at all about much.
For one person to care so much, about so many, is more than commendable.
I only hope the residents for whom you worked so hard for are lucky enough to have another representative of your caliber.
You will be missed!!! Greatly!!!
Please don't quit writing.
The information you share with me and the friends I talk with are of great importance to all of us.
It would be a shame not to have your wisdom and experience anymore.
As retired law enforcement, we have had to deal with so much loss throughout our lives. Constants are few and far between.
Like the North star, you are a constant to me and the few friends still left around.
Always, always be safe in future journeys and please don't ever stop your communications.
Support and Prayers Always,
Footnote: Please visit www.facebook.com/LarryDKump for more about good governance issues! Also, please share this post with others, asking them to go and do likewise.
Postcriptum: Contributions to my election campaign should be sent to:
Friends of Larry D. Kump
P. O. Box 1131
Falling Waters, West Virginia 25419-1131
Thursday, September 21, 2017
There is only a handful of people, both current and past, who have truly "served" as honorable employees of the people of our State and not simply marched to the tune of the "exploiters".
You sir, know who those people are, and I count you among them.
I hope to soon see you in the ranks of "current" again.
Thanks for your service.
Please share this message with others, asking them to also go and do likewise!
Then, visit www.facebook.com/LarryDKump for more about good governance issues.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
The leadership and people of Hedgesville are dear to me.
Accordingly, Hedgesville Mayor Mary Keller-Pile's personal paean of September 7th on my behalf (www.facebook.com/mkellerpile) deeply touched my heart:
"Larry D. Kump has decided to run for WV House of delegates 2018. Formerly a two term WV delegate #59.
You can read his biography at www.LarryKump.us. (@ This website)
Contributions can be made:
"Friends of Larry D. Kump
P.O. Box 1131
Falling Waters WV 25419
I wish him luck, for he will do great things for WV! "
Footnote: The photo in this post is of Hedgesvile's historic Mt. Clifton hotel (no longer in existence).
Addendum: Please share this message, inviting your friends and associates to visit my facebook posts (www.facebook.com/LarryDKump, asking them to also go and do likewise with even more others!
Monday, September 11, 2017
I am so proud of you; I could just bust a button.
I was telling some of my co-workers how you are just a breath of fresh air!
You are definitely not the typical politician. Please consider this is an extremely high compliment!
But also know that I appreciate those who sacrifice and serve, because I know it is not an easy job.
First, your intro of the 3 B's was perfect--Be Sincere, Be Short, Be Seated--that got everyone's attention.
But then, when you said "Thank God for Mississippi!" (referring to the only State who's worse off than West Virginia), I nearly fell off my chair!
You spoke the truth!
Why don't some of these career politicians get it?
Why aren't they listening?
We do have many problems to resolve.
We need more sensible and honest people like you in office!
Your life-long friend!
Postscriptum: Visit www.facebook.com/LarryDKump for more about good governance issues for West Virginia, and share this post with others, asking them to also go and do likewise!
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Saturday, August 5, 2017
Finally, Michael, the Archangel, found him resting on the seventh day.
Michael asked God, "Where have you been?".
God smiled with deep satisfaction and pointed downward through the clouds, saying, "Michael, look what I created!".
Puzzled, Michael asked, "What is it?".
"It's a planet", replied God, "and I'm going to call it Earth, and it has balance."
"Balance?", said Michael, "What's that?".
God then explained, pointing out the different areas of Earth.
"For example, this area is a place of great forests, but this other area is covered with rocky mountains. Over there is a region of many lakes and streams, but over here is a broad grassland.".
He continued, "This area is hot and humid, but over here it is cold and covered with ice.".
Michael, impressed with God's handiwork, then pointed to one particular spot and said, "What about that area?".
"That's West Virginia, the most glorious spot on earth. There are beautiful mountains, rivers and streams, lakes, forests, hills, and plains. The people I've placed there are good looking, modest, intelligent, and humorous. They are sociable, hard-working, high achievers, peaceable, and producers of good things.".
Gasping in awe and wonder, Michael then asked, But what about balance? You said that there would be balance.".
God ruefully smiled and explained, "Over there, just East of West Virginia is Washington, D.C.. Wait until you see those people and that place!".
For information about good governance issues, take a moment to visit www.facebook.com/LarryDKump, and ask others to go and do likewise.
Thursday, August 3, 2017
Thursday, June 1, 2017
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Go get 'em!Yours for better governance, Larry D. Kump Footnote: Some folks have confused and conflated this legislation with the "Common Core" issue. While I also am opposed to Common Core mandates, Delegate Ron Walters' proposal (bill) is not about Common Core. It is about structurally streamlining and improving our West Virginia educational system. Visit www.facebook.com/LarryDKump!
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Previously, I saw a little frog, as I was walking into the West Virginia State House.
The frog greeted me, and asked me to pick it up.
I did, whereupon the frog told me that, if I kissed it, it would turn into a beautiful woman.
I immediately put the frog and my pocket, and continued on my way.
The frog then cried out from my pocket, asking me why I didn't kiss it.
I told it that I'd rather have a talking frog.
- Former West Virgina Delegate Larry D. Kump (2010-2014)
Davy Crockett & the "Sockdolager"
From The Life of Colonel David Crockett,
by Edward S. Ellis (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1884)
Crockett was then the lion of Washington. I was a great admirer of his character, and, having several friends who were intimate with him, I found no difficulty in making his acquaintance. I was fascinated with him, and he seemed to take a fancy to me.
I was one day in the lobby of the House of Representatives when a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support – rather, as I thought, because it afforded the speakers a fine opportunity for display than from the necessity of convincing anybody, for it seemed to me that everybody favored it. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose. Everybody expected, of course, that he was going to make one of his characteristic speeches in support of the bill. He commenced:
"Mr. Speaker – I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him. This government can owe no debts but for services rendered, and at a stipulated price. If it is a debt, how much is it? Has it been audited, and the amount due ascertained? If it is a debt, this is not the place to present it for payment, or to have its merits examined. If it is a debt, we owe more than we can ever hope to pay, for we owe the widow of every soldier who fought in the War of 1812 precisely the same amount. There is a woman in my neighborhood, the widow of as gallant a man as ever shouldered a musket. He fell in battle. She is as good in every respect as this lady, and is as poor. She is earning her daily bread by her daily labor; but if I were to introduce a bill to appropriate five or ten thousand dollars for her benefit, I should be laughed at, and my bill would not get five votes in this House. There are thousands of widows in the country just such as the one I have spoken of, but we never hear of any of these large debts to them. Sir, this is no debt. The government did not owe it to the deceased when he was alive; it could not contract it after he died. I do not wish to be rude, but I must be plain. Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much of our own money as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."
He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.
Like many other young men, and old ones, too, for that matter, who had not thought upon the subject, I desired the passage of the bill, and felt outraged at its defeat. I determined that I would persuade my friend Crockett to move a reconsideration the next day.
Previous engagements preventing me from seeing Crockett that night, I went early to his room the next morning and found him engaged in addressing and franking letters, a large pile of which lay upon his table.
I broke in upon him rather abruptly, by asking him what devil had possessed him to make that speech and defeat that bill yesterday. Without turning his head or looking up from his work, he replied:
"You see that I am very busy now; take a seat and cool yourself. I will be through in a few minutes, and then I will tell you all about it."
He continued his employment for about ten minutes, and when he had finished he turned to me and said:
"Now, sir, I will answer your question. But thereby hangs a tale, and one of considerable length, to which you will have to listen."
I listened, and this is the tale which I heard:
Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. When we got there, I went to work, and I never worked as hard in my life as I did there for several hours. But, in spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them, and everybody else seemed to feel the same way.
The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done. I said everybody felt as I did. That was not quite so; for, though they perhaps sympathized as deeply with the sufferers as I did, there were a few of the members who did not think we had the right to indulge our sympathy or excite our charity at the expense of anybody but ourselves. They opposed the bill, and upon its passage demanded the yeas and nays. There were not enough of them to sustain the call, but many of us wanted our names to appear in favor of what we considered a praiseworthy measure, and we voted with them to sustain it. So the yeas and nays were recorded, and my name appeared on the journals in favor of the bill.
The next summer, when it began to be time to think about the election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up, and I thought it was best to let the boys know that I had not forgot them, and that going to Congress had not made me too proud to go to see them.
So I put a couple of shirts and a few twists of tobacco into my saddlebags, and put out. I had been out about a week and had found things going very smoothly, when, riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly, and was about turning his horse for another furrow when I said to him: "Don't be in such a hurry, my friend; I want to have a little talk with you, and get better acquainted."
He replied: "I am very busy, and have but little time to talk, but if it does not take too long, I will listen to what you have to say."
I began: "Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and – "
"'Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.'
This was a sockdolager... I begged him to tell me what was the matter.
"Well, Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the Constitution to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is."
"I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question."
"No, Colonel, there's no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?"
"Certainly it is, and I thought that was the last vote which anybody in the world would have found fault with."
"Well, Colonel, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away the public money in charity?"
Here was another sockdolager; for, when I began to think about it, I could not remember a thing in the Constitution that authorized it. I found I must take another tack, so I said:
"Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did."
"It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think 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. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution."
I have given you an imperfect account of what he said. Long before he was through, I was convinced that I had done wrong. He wound up by saying:
"So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you."
I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:
"Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it full. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said there at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot."
He laughingly replied:
"Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way."
"If I don't," said I, "I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say, I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it."
"No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you."
"Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name."
"My name is Bunce."
"Not Horatio Bunce?"
"Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me; but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend. You must let me shake your hand before I go."
We shook hands and parted.
It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.
At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.
Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.
I have told you Mr. Bunce converted me politically. He came nearer converting me religiously than I had ever been before. He did not make a very good Christian of me, as you know; but he has wrought upon my mind a conviction of the truth of Christianity, and upon my feelings a reverence for its purifying and elevating power such as I had never felt before.
I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him – no, that is not the word – I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if everyone who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.
But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted – at least, they all knew me.
In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:
"Fellow citizens – I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only."
I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation as I have told it to you, and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:
"And now, fellow citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.
"It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit of it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so."
He came upon the stand and said:
"Fellow citizens – It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today."
He went down, and there went up from the crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.
I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.
"Now, Sir," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday. I have had several thousand copies of it printed and was directing them to my constituents when you came in.
"There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men – men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased – a debt which could not be paid by money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."
Thursday, February 16, 2017
As the 2017 session of the West Virginia Legislature now enters into the intensity of the final weeks of the session and is dealing with the need for many urgent and needed reforms, some legislator behaviors have remained unchanged.
There still is great propensity for our elected legislators to spend much of their time on the floor of the House of Delegates and State Senate, sponsoring irrelevant resolutions and making silly speeches. This includes dedicating bridges, roads, and even turn lanes to constituents back home, and also to making a great show of introducing various guests.
And so it was that these issues continued in my musings as I was reading "Emma and Joseph" (1999, Covenant Communications, Inc.) when the words describing Joseph Smith's visit to the United States Congress seemed to leap off the page (page 215):
"There is a great deal of wind blown off on the occasion of each day...."
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