Thursday, March 4, 2010

Principles vs Politics

There once were two basic philosophies of representative government:
1 - An elected representative was strictly that, a representative of the people who was to act and vote according to the wishes of his constituents.
2 - His constituency elected him because of his wisdom, experience, knowledge, and education. The people trusted him to decide what was best for the people and the State/nation.

Soon, the parties to which elected officials belonged became a power unto themselves. Using that power, they began to direct the voting of the members of their respective parties to achieve the ends of the party rather than of the people. Each major party has its leaders who "whip" its members into line on all major issues. There is little tolerance for independence and principle. The goal is party power -- not liberty.

Occasionally we see a few representatives show a bit of independence, but that is rare. Such principle-minded representatives (ie Ron Paul) become quickly outcasts in the legislative community.

Because of this party loyalty and lack of principle, opposition to wrong-headed bills is largely invisible or weak or altogether non-existent. Simply making a short speech on the floor of the House or the Senate is not enough effort. Attaching a few small amendments to bad bills is not enough effort. Simply casting a "no" vote was not enough effort.

We commoners (whom state and federal legislators purportedly represent) expect and demand every congressman to fight for what is right and oppose all that is wrong. Instead, because politicians rarely stand on principle, legislators compromise on nearly everything. Compromises always move the state and the nation in the wrong direction.

I am disgusted that many congressmen accept bribes (earmarks/pork) from party leaders in exchange for their votes. I am disappointed that a majority (perhaps all) of congressmen and state legislators owe their loyalty to their party and to party leaders and not to the US and States Constitutions which they have sworn to defend.

Recommended book:
When I Was a Kid, This Was a Free Country
When I Was a Kid, This Was a Free Country

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