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Monday, April 09, 2007

Referendum on the Horizon

We like what Death Knell has to say on the referendum:
The referendum retains power in the hands of the people of this country. That is where it originates and that is where it should remain.

Once the process is initiated, however, we take upon ourselves the responsibility of carefully reviewing and researching the question before us. The legislators who voted on it initially certainly put in the time and effort to understand this voucher system. We owe it to ourselves to do the same.
Best of luck to all citizen legislators. May the discussion be respectful and informative, and may the final decision be a good one for our children and grandchildren.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVE DEMOCRACY! I LOVE CHECKS AND BALANCES! WHAT A COUNTRY! OUR FOUNDING FATHERS WERE BRILLIANT AND INSPIRED!

4/09/2007 6:29 PM  
Anonymous Union Thug said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/09/2007 7:21 PM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

Union Thug:

How about reposting that opinion, minus the name-calling?

4/09/2007 9:57 PM  
Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

I also believe that the Founding Fathers were inspired. They knew that there were two kinds of tyranny from which a freedom loving people needed to protect itself against:

1) Tyranny from above--the elite.
2) Tyranny from below--the mob.

The system of government the founders designed sought to find the right balance between these two concerns. Thus, they provided the country with a form of democracy known as a republic, where eligible citizens elect a small number of individuals to represent them in the government. They purposely did not provide the country with the kind of democracy where each person (acting under the influence of the latest wind of doctrine from newspaper editorials, television commercials, neighborhood gossip, etc.) would run the country by way of opinion polls.

The evidence of this purposeful design of the Founding Fathers, to limit the power of frequently reactive and poorly informed individuals at the grassroots, is evidenced by their provision within the Constitution for the Electoral College and an upper house of the Congress where Senators were appointed by the individual state legislatures. So, to truly keep power in the hands of the people, as the Founding Fathers saw it, we must sometimes keep power out of the hands of the pitchfork and torch bearing mob.

My problem with the referendum process is that, too often, it feels like mob action. And, as a Mormon, it is in my DNA to fear the mob.

I personally hope that our citizens rise to the occasion and vote to retain the voucher experiment, as well as the small amount of money that the state is chipping in for the Real Stadium infrastructure. I believe that the legislation providing for both of these things was wise and measured. I am very grateful to our leaders for acting as they have done. Hopefully, such wisdom will withstand the day of trial looming before us.

4/10/2007 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Voice of Utah said...

Good old Framers. They did a wonderful thing when they vested legislative power for the state not only in a senate and house, but jointly in the people of the State of Utah (via the initiative and referendum processes). When they adopted Article VI of our state constitution, the framers, who had more recent experience with mob action, apparently did not fear the "frequently reactively and poorly informed individuals at the grassroots" level as much as our present legislators do.

I have said before, if Utah voters are poorly informed, it is up to the legislature to remedy the problem through greater transparency and outreach, rather than declaring themselves all-knowing and saying, "How dare you mere mortals defy us?" They are making very good progress with increased internet access, online legislative histories, etc., but we all know that much of the real debate still goes on behind closed doors, both in secret sessions of the GOP caucus (the de facto legislature), and with lobbyists.

It is unfortunate that the citizenry has grown to distrust its own legislature to this extent, but it is a reality. When we start doubting whether a bill went through because our representatives truly educated themselves about it or because Overstock.com wanted it, there's a problem. Right now, to many of us, the referendum process seems to be the only message that actually reaches legislators.

P.S. I love reading your stuff, AW, even when we disagree (I think that happened once, didn't it?). We ought to do lunch some time and have a pleasant debate on this stuff. Or maybe a group of civil bloggers.

4/10/2007 4:51 PM  
Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

Dear Voice of Utah,

You know that I love you and your blog.

Ethan Millard's SLCSPIN deservedly won City Weekly's "Best Local Political Blog" designation. (The Senate Site is another one of my favorites.) However, if City Weekly had an additional category for "Most Humorous Local Political Blog" I think you would have won hands down. You have great wit, wicked beyond all measure, but great.

I hope you keep up the good work, because we need to have both civility and fun in politics. Otherwise, we take ourselves too seriously, lose all perspective, and actually start hating our brothers and sisters on the other side of the isle. That kind of politics is what inspires suicide bombers. It is blind, and it is evil.

Thanks for not being blind, and thanks for being my friend.

As for meeting for lunch, I would love that, but my identity is supposedly a secret. I like to think of myself as Peter Parker, and Alienated Wannabe is my version of Spiderman. (Why are you laughing? I am serious!)

I have not even revealed my true identity to Republican blogger friends such as Mark Towner and Micah Bruner, because I want them to have deniability whenever I cross the line. And, as you know, I do that from time to time.

Take care and God bless!

Your Friend,
A.W.

4/11/2007 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Voice of Utah said...

I'm just glad that you use your power for good...

VoU (another secret-identity poster--Hey, hope we're not the same person!)

4/11/2007 6:26 PM  
Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

"...With great power comes great responsibility..." -- Uncle Ben (not to be confused with the delicious brand of rice) Parker

4/12/2007 7:25 AM  

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