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I wanted this to sound far more reasoned and rational than this, but I'm afraid I don't have it in me.  I wanted to sit down and write a level examination of the role and responsibility of elected officials (cause let's be honest, it looks like several of our officials could use one) but this is too much; all of us, as a people, are facing yet another democratic cave to the administration.  Last time it was the lives of our soldiers in Iraq, this time they're selling out our civil liberties.  While I don't imagine the two are exactly equal, I had hoped the bitter taste of the first would've left our leaders less likely to sell us out yet again, rather than make the act that much easier.

 So here it is; a lesson for those who have forgotten, on the rights and responsibilities of our elected officials, and just what they owe to their people.

You were not elected by your contributors - when you're elected to office, you're placed there by votes.  Not ads, not sponsors, not patrons or allies or million dollar contributors.  No matter how great the powers that put you in office, it was the votes of people that got you there.  Those people with their votes - be they for you or against you - have tacitly endorsed the consent to be governed - pay attention to that phrase, for those few words are the very basis of our system of government.  By casting their vote, those citizens of the United States have made your their representative.

The voters are not beholden to you - Contrary to the deplorable image of government endorsed by men like Rudy Guliani, power does not come from the top down, and by voting we do not grant our elected officials the right to tell us how to live.  Rather - as the framers intended - we agree to abide by mutual rule; I trust my vote to matter as much as my neighbors' vote, and I consent to abide by the laws drafted by the representatives elected by the majority of our votes.

You owe us your honesty - implicit in the consent to be governed is the honest representation of your platform, your beliefs, and you intentions in running for office.  We accept the view is different once in office, and we understand your views may change as you are exposed to more information.  We also know when we've been had.  Don't make promises to get (re)elected only to abandon them upon swearing in.  Don't promise to hold people accountable only to spend every waking hour protecting them from the very investigations you promised to hold.  Lastly, don't say whatever it takes to get elected.  There's a reason politician has become a dirty word; if you're doing any of these things, you're the reason why.

You owe us your dedication - When we elected you, it was with the understanding that we are a representative government; you will be our voice.  As such, we have placed in you our trust, that we may not have the time to read legislation, the memos, bills, intelligence reports, or any one of a thousand documents that make up our Governmental Paper-Chase.  You, however - by running for office - have agreed to do exactly that; you have stepped forwarded and sworn that you will make said papers your daily bread and butter, that we may rest at night, assured that out there a light is on in some office as you and your staff pour over the mountain of paperwork to better understand the issues that affect our lives.  If your vacation is in jeopardy because you must stay in session to oppose a reprehensible piece of legislation, then your vacation suffers; most of us would make that call at our jobs, and we expect the same of you.

You owe us your judgement - When we elect you to office, we place our faith not just in your platform, but in your ability to govern.  When we cast our vote, we are endowing in you the power to make decisions on our behalf; you are there to listen to our voices, and then act as you think is right. If you want nothing more than to read the latest Fox News opinion poll or 'expert opinion' on CNN and let that be your only guide, then you don't belong on the ballot.  Representing us is your job; if all you can do is vote as the wind blows, then don't kid yourself that you're a leader, and don't run for office.

You owe us your courage - the day, the hour, the very minute you're willing to betray the beliefs you were campaigned on because you're afraid of how you'll look, you need to resign.
Period.
No ifs, ands or buts.
 If you can't be bothered to do what's right when YOUR CITIZENS LIVES AND LIBERTIES are on the line because you're afraid someone might call you names, you're less than a coward, you're an embarrassment to the United States.

Your power comes with responsibilities - Our system of government - no matter how well intended - makes mistakes.  When we elect you to office - be it mayor, governor, senator or president, we endow in you certain rights and responsibilities beyond mere legislation.  We grant our leaders the ability to right wrongs, and provide a source for redress.  Mitt Romney has suggested he is unwilling to commute prison sentences because a jury has already renderered a verdict.
 Mitt Romney is wrong; by our system of government, that is exactly his job.
 Some Congressmen have suggested that impeachment is wrong because no court of law has found the president guilty of a crime.
 Those Congressmen are wrong; Impeachment is the process for finding said president guilty.
if you are unwilling to use your power to address the very wrongs it was created for, then you don't belong in office.

You owe us a functional Government - our system has lasted this long by a fortuitous mixture of self-interest and ability to see the long view.  While the laws must grow and change with the times, the checks and balances must not.  What has stood for over two centuries has all but been undone in a few short years by men and women failing to understand these salient points; our legislators will likely be undoing this damage for years and years to come.  No matter how living our breathing our constitution, you can't un-ring a bell, and hat might be simple expedience to you becomes precedence to the next guy, and the one after that.  Please do us the courtesy of remembering this, the next time you're worshiping at the shrine of 'Fighting Terrorism.'

And for extra credit, an axiom for a successful free society:

  • Just Laws Create more freedoms than they abridge
  • Unjust Laws abridge more freedoms than they create.

 Next time you're reading / drafting / considering / even thinking about a piece of legislation, let this one axiom be your guide, and no matter how unforgiving the media, you'll be helping to build a better tomorrow.

Originally posted to jmkiru on Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 09:01 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    Any comments / feedback welcome.

    "All who think cannot but see there is a sanction like that of religion which binds us in partnership in the serious work of the world." -- Ben Franklin

    by jmkiru on Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 08:52:22 PM PDT

  •  Well said, thank you !!!!! n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joyful

    "Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you. They are unique manifestations of the human spirit." Wade Davis

    by cfk on Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 09:21:25 PM PDT

  •  Maybe an addendum: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joyful, java4every1

    "Your poll numbers are in the hole because we elected you to protect us from all threats, foreign AND DOMESTIC. We perceive the Bush administration and its flunkies in Congress and in the Justice Department as the number ONE threat to this country and to its Constitution. We did not elect you to do the bidding of this band of rogues, or to grant them even more powers. We elected you to STOP them."

    How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

    by rhetoricus on Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 09:40:45 PM PDT

  •  /clap (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joyful

    It would be such a wonderful thing if more citizens in this country actually bothered to care about what goes on.

    A good lesson in civics that really sinks in would be such a great thing!

    I really wish it did not feel so much like dreaming of a version of Never-Never Land sometimes.

    Kudos on thos diary!

    It's like going through a sewer in a glass bottom boat. We're in this shit but clearly above it!

    by Kalakzak on Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 10:02:13 PM PDT

  •  Maybe you got all that stuff, (0+ / 0-)

    but just didn't like the results?

    •  it is possible, I just don't think so (naturally) (0+ / 0-)

       Most of what I read attributes the two votes that provoked my ire (the iraq war funding, and the FISA gut) to not wanting to appear weak on terrorism / not supporting the troops.  Quite frankly, I get the impression many reps are selling out their stances for political capital / they're 'picking their fights', only every move seems to be both poorly played and lacking in an appreciation of consequence - to say nothing of not gaining any capital, when you give the president 6 more months in Iraq, it sends the message that you'll bend, and it's quite likely going to cost 300+ American lives.  When you give in and move warrant approval from the FISA courts to A.G., you're only setting yourself up for more abuses.
       From where I sit, neither of these are in doubt, and neither is for the best. In both cases, many of those who capitulated campaigned strongly on how this is exactly what they intended to fight.  Considering the reports I read suggested that few people (if any) had even read the FISA changes, I don't see how this is very appropriate.
       The November '06 mandate could not have been clearer: you need to stop this.  Everyone seemed to understand that at the time; I'd love to know what changed.

      "All who think cannot but see there is a sanction like that of religion which binds us in partnership in the serious work of the world." -- Ben Franklin

      by jmkiru on Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 05:56:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Amen (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joyful

    I hope they get an earfull from their constituents. My representative always votes the right way! No complaints here.  I am very proud of Robert Wexler, he is for the people, and stands up to power. He seems misplaced in a crowd that votes what they want, not what they were elected to do.

    DKos helped Ciro Rodriguez. He voted yes!  He should get no more support from now on!  Keep track of the traitors, the constitution trashers.

    I hope this will be an issue tomorrow.  Our democracy is being put to the test, and they have capitulated before king George!

  •  Well stated! (0+ / 0-)

    Congratulations on making the Rescued diary list or I wouldn't have seen it!

    This last vote was so discouraging. Your words expressed how we feel so eloquently.  Thanks.      

    We need to change the wind.

    by Naniboujou on Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 04:25:04 AM PDT

  •  Less Gov't please! (0+ / 0-)

    Let's push to cut down on Gov't.. They can't run anything. We need to look at the DMV for an example.

    Simplifying the bureaucracy is the first step, then move to close down all gov't departments that the private sector can run better.

    •  Having been in the private sector for 15 years... (0+ / 0-)

      I submit for your consideration that the private sector is not in fact a cure-all for  inefficiency, group-think, corruption, and bureaucracy.  I've frankly seen abuses of everything from power to common sense to good taste even (when your CEO loses you a quarter billion dollars in one year, don't give him a porsche as a bonus - it's tacky).

       Much as I did say in the first comment 'all comments / suggestions open', might I ask how this is on topic? :)

      "All who think cannot but see there is a sanction like that of religion which binds us in partnership in the serious work of the world." -- Ben Franklin

      by jmkiru on Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 06:03:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Privatization, WRONG! (0+ / 0-)

      No way.  These are nothing but franchises of BushCo.

      No way - it's a failed experiment.

  •  Excellent Post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dikyzr

    First of all, this was an excellent post.  It did indeed sound reasonable and rational.  And you hit the nail squarely on the head when you mentioned campaign contributions.  Our elected representatives are nothing other than corporate whores, "Prostiticians" if you will.  No matter what you perceive your first issue to be, the environment, the war, civil liberties, immigration, I would respectfully suggest that campaign finance reform is in fact your first issue.

    Second, BBros is an idiot, perhaps a refugee from some republican website, espousing a long-discredited right-wing ideology straight out of republican think tanks. Government works just fine when it is free of corporate interference, and it is the responsibility of government to create favorable conditions for the citizenry.  Where the people are the sovereign, the government should have their collective interests at heart, a condition unambiguously antithetical to an enterprise whose motive is profit.

    •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

      after reading your comments and thinking about Campaign Finance Reform, I can honestly say I felt a slap-forehead moment.  Well spoken.

      "All who think cannot but see there is a sanction like that of religion which binds us in partnership in the serious work of the world." -- Ben Franklin

      by jmkiru on Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 06:05:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No names please (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for calling me an idiot..
    Perhaps you could give me an example of one of these fine institutions doing a great job-  smarty pants.

    I am not a republican- I am Canadian. And we set a fine example of government inefficiency.

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