Saturday, March 3, 2007


We need to take our country back! For far too long our legislators in Washington DC ( of both major parties), have failed to act in the best interests of the citizens who elected them. The electorate has been effectively shut out of the process because our Legislators and Executives respond more and more to the influence wielded by large corporations and well-funded special interests. Our government has become a seriously flawed, self-perpetuating organism that determines for itself which hands will feed it, and thus which hands will have its fealty.

There is a simple answer to why this is so. It is because the Legislative and Executive branches of our government make their own rules of conduct. Once in office, they operate as they see fit, and as things stand now, there is nothing of a practical nature that we can do about it if we disagree with their methods. The influence of special interests on policies , regulations and laws will never be mitigated, much less eliminated, because it has grown so pervasive that there is not a majority anywhere in either branch with the will to change.

So, what can we do? Simply this-force them to play by OUR rules, not theirs. Since WE ELECT these people to govern FOR us, WE certainly have the right to establish the rules governing every aspect of those elections.

I am not suggesting at all that we take over all law-making functions, as that leads to the very real danger of "tyranny of the majority". What I am suggesting is that we assume for ourselves the right to have national issues voting on everything that affects, directly or peripherally, how national elections are financed and conducted, including term lengths, recalls, multi-party access, voter access to the polls, and if our elected officials shall be permitted to take any form of compensation except for the salaries we provide.

Issues voting, defined in this narrow way, will not interfere with the constitutional duties of either branch of government, but instead will reinforce the right of "government BY the people", making it responsible to the electorate by giving us the means to control the entire process through which they are elected.

Other attempts to establish a national referendum have been made in the past. These previous efforts at "Direct Democracy" were, in my opinion, too far-reaching and extremely cumbersome. Citizen control of the election process is much simpler is scope, easier to understand,and should have a much better chance of overcoming any legal hurdles. For background on "Direct Democracy", I refer you to the website for
For the legal arguments supporting their effort, either follow the link to the Hastings Law Journal or do a web search on Hastings to find the article.

Signatures of voting age citizens equal in number to 50% of the votes cast in the last Presidential election should validate this initiative, and establish it as law. Among the things that should be incorporated into this first initiative would be the rules for establishing an independent agency or commission which would be responsible for writing and distributing issues petitions, printing ballots, scheduling votes, etc. They would also have oversight responsibility, with guaranteed funding and staff to perform their functions. They would be given subpoena and prosecutorial powers to enforce compliance. Non-compliance would have consequences; fines and possible imprisonment, and for government employees, expulsion and loss of pension as well.

The initiative would also set the percentage of votes cast in the previous election cycle that would be required on any issues petition before it could qualify for ballot status (10,20, 30?).

We would gain the ability to vote on such issues as:
1) public financing of all Federal elections-mandated or optional
2)paper ballots or electronic voting
3)limits of individual donations
4)limits on lobbying, influence peddling in any form-closing loopholes
5)whether or not corporations or other entities, who have no voting rights, should be allowed to exert influence on our elections.
6)easing ballot access requirements for third-party candidates
7)runoff elections
8)instant voter registration
9)legality of PACs, 527's, etc. and restrictions
10)tax status of religious entities and affiliated organizations who engage in politics
11)candidates access to media
12)rules of campaign debates
13)allowable forms of political advertising
14)lengths of terms not already set in the constitution
15)anything else relevant

Most people realize that the political party holding control of our government will change back and forth over time-now it's the Republicans, then the Democrats, then the Republicans again, and so on. That is as it should be. People from all across the political spectrum recognize that different ideologies must be represented in our government if it is to remain vibrant and healthy, and operate to our benefit. However, the majority of people also now realize that neither their votes nor their will have a substantive effect on how our government conducts its business any longer.

The reaction of the electorate to this knowledge runs from outrage to frustration to malaise, and it's clear that a majority sense the need to reclaim a participatory voice. There has never been a better time to vigorously pursue the idea of national issues voting, as it it truly a non-partisan concept.

We , the people, allowed this slow dis-enfranchisement to happen because we did not act. Now we must act in concert to re-take our rightful place as the true government of our country. Even if this effort fails, the debate itself may identify other avenues for positive change. Our voices will at least be heard, loudly and clearly.

Is there anyone, any organization, with the skills and commitment to take on this idea and develop it?

ADDENDUM: Just in case you don't really understand the effects of big money on our legislators, here is a highly illustrative article from the Louisville Courier Journal:

Is Mitch McConnell a venal slime? NAWWWW!, but how long do you think he'd last in an honest government?

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