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A New Era of Accountability and Grace

Updated: May 8

Accountability has been a virtue that humans have struggled with since the beginning of time.

A great, age-old example of this is when Cain rejects the criticisms that he received from God for his lack of efforts, and then continued down his path of resentment rather than changing for the better.

God reminded Cain that his destiny was a matter of choice when he said to him “Sin is like a predatory cat that crouches in your doorway, and leaps at you at will, but if you only wanted to- you could master it”. Of course, when things are going badly for you, and you are playing a causal role in it, there is nothing more horrible than someone revealing to you in a way that you can’t deny, that you are responsible for your own actions! Or as many around here would say much more simply: you reap what you sow.

It’s no mystery as to why we struggle with accountability- it calls for one to admit that they were wrong, and to take responsibility for doing that wrong... which is no easy thing to do under most circumstances. It’s especially not easy to do when in a leadership position. But regardless of its difficulty, leadership requires that one has the capability to check their ego, and to understand their own capacity for wrongdoing. It requires that they acknowledge their obligation to correct course when they have strayed from the path of faithful service to those that they are leading. This trait in a leader is what makes the difference between them being honored and remembered as a hero, or being disliked and recalled as a tyrant.

That is why I was very impressed when, at the last County Commission meeting, Mayor Dewitte stated that he recognized the county powers act (23-8-1) was a mistake, and then accepted full responsibility for it. That kind of accountability requires integrity and humility, and for that he should be commended.

It was refreshing and encouraging to see from a government official in this day and age! He also fairly pointed out that we all make mistakes, but the difference between him and us is that we don’t have 58,000 people watching over us and criticizing us for those mistakes. Understandable, and I can see where that would add some pressure to daily life! But, in all fairness, I will point out that I suppose that kind of baggage comes with a voluntary leadership role over 58,000 people, that has a six figure salary attached to it- that is paid by those 58,000 people.

You see, it’s the perfect trade off- one that was strategically designed in our system of government by the framers to maintain peace and order: we gift individuals the power to make decisions for the whole of society- and pay you to do it, and all we ask in return is that we are represented accurately and get to watch very closely that you do so!

This is what brings such balance between the citizenry and their representation when things are working the way they are supposed to, here in America. It is what makes us special in the world- a beacon of freedom- as we are the only ones who set it up like this on the entire planet! It’s what makes us free, and not ruled.

And so, the United Citizens of Hawkins County was very happy to see that (almost) all of our local government representatives had heard our call for protection of Constitutional rights at the last commission meeting, and voted accordingly. Our community was very relieved to see The Listening to the People resolution passed, and that the vast majority of our representatives displayed their intent to serve us faithfully and protect those sacred rights!

The only exceptions being district 6 commissioner Larry Clonce, who voted to not support Constitutionally guaranteed private property rights, and District 2 commissioner Tom Kearn, who abstained from voting.

Mayor Dewitte recently wrote an article in The Rogersville Review that seemed very promising, and demonstrated a sound understanding of the relationship between government representatives and the people that they serve.

We at United Citizens of Hawkins County were very excited to see a positive call for collaboration between citizens and local government coming from Mayor Dewitte, and we are very motivated to work with our local leaders to facilitate the best outcomes for Hawkins County!

Mayor Dewitte also reiterated something that UCHC regards as one of the foundational principles for our organization: respectful discourse and graceful exchanges! We believe that maintaining a positive energy, and presenting our positions firmly, but in a respectful manner, is the best course of action to secure and preserve freedom for our great people! Bright days ahead, Hawkins County!

Dane Chisholm

Published in The Rogersville Review - Oct 9, 2023

Dane Chisholm is a Hawkins County resident, avid outdoorsman, farmer and a combat veteran having served as a paratrooper in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. He can be reached at

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