September 16, 2019

Trust Your Elected Government Representative?

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AHEM!

An op-ed found on the Maine Wire, says that making laws through the referendum process is not a good way to do it, and lists some of the reasons why this might be so. Unfortunately, the author doesn’t offer a precise solution but does intimate that placing trust in the representatives that got elected as being the best solution. “When we elect lawmakers, we expect them to weigh various proposals. Recognizing that a first draft isn’t always the best, we empower the Legislature to amend bills, sanding off rough edges and trying to fashion the best solution to the problem at hand. They don’t — or at least, shouldn’t — capitulate to an advocacy group simply because that group has a lot of money or yells the loudest.”

From my perspective, the entire process of electing representatives and making laws is flawed and corrupt. The author’s perspective also appears a bit idealistic and probably is rooted in his own connections to the political system. However, to think that wealthy political influencers can control the law making process through the referendum process and such corruption is immune via the legislative process is naive. It’s the only thing that drives all laws in this country.

A troubling part of this process is when political activists begin demanding changes to how the system works when things aren’t going their way or they are feeling threatened. Often overlooked in the emotional action and reaction is that changes to processes work in all directions and often comes round and bites you on the backside.

To suggest doing away with the referendum process, relying solely on elected officials, is both foolish and dangerous. Doing so would further eliminate the right of people to petition the government. Is that what we really want? When’s the last time you saw an elected politician refuse to “go along to get along” in order to carry out the majority wishes of his or her constituency?

It seems in Maine over the past few years, a lot of noise has arisen about the signature gathering process to get referendums onto a ballot. And now we hear suggestions that the process is a terrible way of making laws. Isn’t the real problem a matter of finding a way to keep the referendum process for Maine, or any other state, within the political processes of that state, as well as discovering, somehow, ways to control the flow of money?

Government is dangerous enough without handing them another free pass to disregard the wishes of the voters. Unfortunately, we live in a Socio-Democratic society where all it takes is 51% of the people to force the rest to live by their rules. This may be a terrible political system to live under but I assure you that having no recourse than to simply allow government officials to dictate terms more than they already do, is an even worse suggestion as a possible solution.

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