As the government rises in power, elected officials seem to lose sight of their role as public servants. Soon, their political agenda emerges as they seek to legislate their own interests, sometimes against the preferences of the people. When it came to a religious veterans monument, the municipal council of a tiny Iowa town began to do precisely that. Unluckily for the arrogant council members, the people were about to remind them for whom they serve.
The first order of business for the Knoxville City Council this week was to consider a monument for slain troops, which drew one protest from an aggrieved atheist because of its religious meaning. An armed soldier kneeled before a cross, which only represented a gravestone of a fallen comrade.
Taking command of the situation, the council resolved to hold a vote on the ostensibly contentious monument. To appease a vociferous minority, the council decided 3-2 to remove the exhibit, claiming that it must be removed if it may offend someone’s sentiments. Only 24 hours later, the authorities who voted to demolish the monument realized they had made a grave error.
Outraged locals gathered the day after they decided to take down the soldiers monument and voted out the three council members who voted in favor of removing the exhibit. April Verwers and Carolyn Formanek were voted out of office after rejecting the townspeople’s warnings, with neither receiving more than 15% of the vote, while David Roozeboom opted not to run for re-election, saying that he understood he would be ousted anyhow.
Knoxville residents weren’t shy about expressing their displeasure with the three council members. Indignant residents objected directly to the authorities’ choice to prohibit the exhibit due to its claimed objectionable intent.
The council admitted to eliminating the monument based on a single citizen’s complaint. The city must remove the installation in Young Park or risk legal action, according to the anti-Christian organization Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Unfortunately, the city caved in to the individual’s threat, reluctant to risk a protracted and expensive legal struggle.
But the locals were not ready to give up their right to support such a memorial because of the threat. Many people believe that the city should not favor the minority over the majority. Doug Goff, a resident, was pleased with the attendance on Tuesday.
In addition to voting out the rebellious council members, the community came together to create 2,000 little white crosses in yards to protect the monument and its support for US servicemen. Hundreds of residents also showed their support for a permanent memorial in the park during a demonstration.
The voters followed through on their promise to take action, demonstrating to the nation how to tackle elected politicians who no longer reflect the will of the people. Amazingly, they were able to band together for a single goal.
Obviously, the inhabitants demonstrated that regardless of how vociferous or forceful the minority becomes, they will not be swamped. Undoubtedly, the city’s new council members are aware of this and will act appropriately.
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