Thursday, December 17, 2009

Republic or Oligarchy?

Our legislators are to represent "We the People" not The Republican party or the Democratic party or the Green party or the Libertarian party or any other party. That is why we have a republic and not an oligarchy.

Or so we think. If a candidate takes money from a political party, are they obligated to vote as that party would have them vote? The technically correct answer is, of course, no. But the real life answer is all too often yes.

When the parties are able to withhold financial and other resources from candidates in order to influence their vote, then there is a conflict of interests involved in a candidate's acceptance of party support.

  • When those who are running the parties have no problem with using the resources at their disposal to influence a legislator's vote, we have a problem.
  • When getting re-elected is more important than representing one's constituents faithfully, we have a problem.
  • When "We the People" allow these things to become accepted practice and question neither the ethics of the parties nor the ethics of the candidates/legislators, we have a problem.

The problem we have, when these things are true, is that we no longer have a republic. We do not have a republic, at that point, because the legislators have effectively sold their votes to the political party or group from whom they wish support. If they have sold their vote to a political party, then they are not representing us. If they are not representing us, but rather the party or group who assures them of re-election resources, then what we have, has become an oligarchy, ruled by those groups(the media, the political parties, etc.) who can command the most legislative votes.

When there is any question that a legislator's vote is dependent upon how that vote will affect that legislator's ability to get re-election resources from a political party, there is something dreadfully wrong with the republic. This is why we now have terms like RINO and DINO to describe candidates who do not share the values of the parties from whom they accept financial and other resources in their campaigns to be elected and re-elected.

It is a shame to us as a people that we have allowed our election process to be usurped in this manner. This is why so many call for term limits, because they think this will solve the problem by limiting the damage that can be done by any given candidate. The problem is, that since the root of that problem is not that the candidates and parties are behaving badly, but rather that "We the People" have been lazy in allowing the political parties and the media to choose our candidates for us, giving us an easy button in the form of term limits will no more solve that problem than putting bumpers along the sides of the road will keep people from driving recklessly.

We can do better. The people of this country have morals and standards. We must no longer stand by while political parties or other groups usurp our authority by purchasing the votes of legislative candidates. It is a lie that a candidate cannot win without the support of a major party and it has always been a lie. When We the People bestir ourselves to determine the best candidate on an objective basis, we will have a republic and not before. That is the true message of the TEA Parties, that We the People are done with allowing others to steal our authority over the political process in this nation. The parties would do well to pay attention and become honest brokers of the values and principles they purport to hold.

"He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. " ~Matt 13:22


Dr.D said...

Dear Mom,

I'm sorry to see you so down on term limits. I hear what you are saying, but I think that it is decidedly Utopian. In my mind, term limits are something that has real value and could actually (maybe) be done. We were able to get a term limits on the Presidency, and it was a very good thing. If we did not have that, I thing would have just recently elected the eternal emperor of the USA because he would run forever in rigged elections.

I believe term limits were very much consistent with the thinking of the founding fathers, except that they never thought it necessary to put it in writing. Who could afford to leave his farm for so long? would have been their view.

To say that we must have people of such integrity that we will all unite and throw the rascals out sounds lovely, but it will not happen in the next 50 generations. unfortunately, we have so little common ground today, we cannot even agree on what is right and what is wrong any more. But term limits, to 6 years or some such, we should be able to agree upon. It is not very philosophical, not abstract, pretty concrete.

Call Me Mom said...

I think we're going to have to disagree on this one.
Mr. Jefferson believed that the tree of liberty would have to be refreshed from time to time and I think this is one of those times.

Further, simply because term limits are more convenient than holding the people of this nation to a higher standard, doesn't make it proper. The larger part of American exceptionalism is based upon the quality of the people. I regard term limits as a way of throwing up our hands and admitting that we are no longer the equals of the exceptional people who founded this nation. That's not a point I'm willing to concede.

The MSM has done their job well to convince regular folks, folks who believe that God is representative of absolute truth, consistent justice and high standards of behavior, that we are the minority, but that doesn't make it true.

You said: "Who could afford to leave his farm for so long?" and that's the crux of the matter isn't it?
We need to elect folks who don't want to be there, not career politicians. Career politicians may be okay for Governors or state level posts, but not for national ones. If we want to get rid of the ones we have, we need to make it more costly for folks to serve in this capacity, not more lucrative.

This is a matter of personal responsibility. We have been deceived for so long by so many. We have allowed others to take up our responsibilities for us and now it is time for us to take up those responsibilities once again-or lose our freedom. If we are not willing to undergo the rigors of supporting our form of government, then we shouldn't have it. That is both the glory and the tarnish of the American Experiment. It must be proved that one deserves to be called by the label American. It is earned, not given.

Dr.D said...

Dear Mom,

Mr. Jefferson lived in a time when the United States was an almost totally homogeneous nation. The concept of American exceptionalism had much more basis at that time than it does today when we have allowed the US to incorporate anyone who can enter, whether legally or illegally, from whatever background whatsoever. I think that there is real doubt about the validity of this concept today.

You say, "The MSM has done their job well to convince regular folks, folks who believe that God is representative of absolute truth, consistent justice and high standards of behavior, that we are the minority, but that doesn't make it true." You are certainly correct that this does not make it true, but it does not make it untrue either. As to what is really in the hearts of people, it is very hard to say. What is less difficult to determine is what they will speak out about in public. It seems true to me that we have far fewer people today who are willing to stand up and defend the truth today than in former years. Their sense of conviction is weakened by a sense of fear, to the point that they are unwilling to stand up and be counted. I am pretty certain that this is the unpleasant truth. The TEA Parties attracted a lot of folks. There were huge numbers more who should have been there but were not for whatever reasons.

I am not really disagreeing with you, Mom, so much as I am pushing for what is possible, rather than insisting on what ought to be. Sure, I'd like to have just what you said. But until I can have that, I'd sure like to have term limits for a while until we get to the better state of affairs.

PS: I don't think we ought to have "professional pols" in state government either. It is the same problem. They need to move in and out in the same manner.