Thursday, April 16, 2015

What does it mean to be a legislator?

What does it mean to have representative government?

Are these two issues something that should coexist?

There are that many definitions available for the phrase “representative government.”

Article 1, section 1 of the Washington state Constitution says: 
Article I Section 1 SECTION 1 POLITICAL POWER. All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.
It seems to me that article of the state Constitution is pretty straight forward: if, as the state constitution claims, all political power is inherent in the people… then it's the legislature's job to represent the majority opinion, desire, and will of the people who elected them. In this most recent legislative session, it seems equally straightforward that those we've elected have no inclination or desire to even remotely legislate, or vote, on behalf of the districts or peoples they were sent there to represent.

All of which begs the issue: why? What happened? What's different this year… From say, two years ago?

does anyone reading this, believe that for example, those who voted for this gas tax ran on such a political platform either for their election or reelection?

I don't.

Even in the district is conservative as the 18th district, a heretofore heroic figure like our senator would never have dared to run on a platform where she would indicate that she would vote a massive increase in our gas tax while supporting the application of a bogus emergency clause, and supporting the absence of a referendum clause.

I don't believe that the members of the legislature have suddenly discovered that their responsibilities have changed. So, why is it all different this time around?

I totally get the people can formulate an agenda. I totally get that once elected, all too frequently, the title, the power, the incest since being elected… no matter how strong you are, pandering can frequently cause those we've elected to lose sight of what their charge really is.

You can rest assured that between the end of this session and the end of the next session all of those who voted to betray us, who legislated to betray us, who forgot all about the command that they vote the will of those they represent, will do a 180. And they will do that 180 in the hopes that we will forget all about these betrayals of this session.

The problem with that is that every time we refill the gas tank on our cars or our trucks… every single time… will serve as a reminder: that when we needed them to do their jobs, which is to represent our will, they effectively told us to fuck off.

Of course, our responses to all that are rather limited. For those of the Steve Stewart ilk, it doesn't matter what we want, what we think, or the votes we've expressed at the polls. For those lowlifes, the only thing that matters is that we we're stupid enough to vote for them.

Rest assured, that is not a mistake I will make twice.

What makes all this problematic is simple: if they betray us now over the issues confronting us and them, if a gas tax is going to be rammed down our throats without asking us, if those who fought so hard and so long to kill the CRC, suddenly find themselves in a position where they're going to bring back some version of it again without asking us… It will only be a matter of time until they betray us all again.

That is certainly not the kind of thing that we will soon forget.

So many out there are romanticized by party labels. How many times were we told in the run-up to the election last November that "oh my God, you have to vote Republican, because if you don't vote Republican, our problems will never be solved, so put aside your differences, suspend your disbelief, become sheep… And write in everything with an R after its name."

Well… How'd that worked out for us?

Millions of Americans across this great country, took that advice. What we have the show for?

Has our illegal alien issues been resolved? Our veterans suddenly, miraculously, receiving better treatment than those who are here illegally?

Are illegal aliens still allowed to attend state colleges and universities as if they were not here illegally, crowding out US citizens who are here legally?

Is it any different with the Veterans Administration than it was 10 years ago? Are we treating these broken kids that come back from Iraq and Afghanistan any better now than we were treating our Vietnam veterans when they came back from that hell hole?

How's getting rid of Obama care looking these days? If I didn't have the VA to fall back on, I would have to pay $9000 a year in insurance premiums for insurance that effectively wouldn't do a damn thing to help until I had spent a total of $18,000. Like that's affordable.

Locally, does any politician actually listen or give a damn about what the people want?

Are we being ignored, for example, on the issue of bus rapid transit? Of course we are… But why?

Each year, my ballot gets smaller and smaller when it comes to the issue of those I will vote for. Each year, those allegedly, for example, Republican... do their best to forget that they've ever heard the word. And as I have pointed out repeatedly, both sides of the political aisle want us to jump off the cliff… The only continuing question seems to be: do we sprint off the cliff the way the left wants us to… Or do we merely stroll off the cliff the way the right wants us to?

Ultimately, the job of a representative, is contained within the title: represent. At no time does that mean that you as the elected official can substitute your judgment for the judgment of the people that put you in the office. And if you think for one moment that you believe that you can do that?

Then you are in fact voted off my island. And you only get one shot. If you betray me once you will never get another opportunity.

That line from the movie Gladiator comes to mind: "what we do in life echoes through eternity."

What you do when we placed our trust in you… What you do with that trust… When you abuse your position of authority… That echoes through eternity.

And we will never forget.

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