We The People Are Forgotten
“We the people…” seems to be a forgotten perspective in the U.S. Congress. We learned this past week that a new tax reform bill was pushed (rushed?) through the senate by the Republicans, giving legislators mere hours to consider.
Alan Fram, Marcy Gordon, and Stephen Ohlemacher of the AP Wire Service noted on Saturday that it was, “…a burst of eleventh-hour horse trading,” giving, “… a party starved all year for a major legislative triumph.”
Is it a fair reform? Sadly, few understand it. Few can provide answers. Details are still being decided as this blog is posted.
While fairness about who gets taxed and by how much and how is certainly a central concern, there’s much more that’s amiss. It’s disconcerting to hear that a governance process has been rushed. It’s especially so when the governance question (bill) concerns the one element that touches everyone’s lives.
The key concern, for me, is that the process sets aside a focus on the people in favor of a political party victory. This cancerous political perspective occurs on both sides of the aisle at various times. Further, the malady spreads when steps are taken to exclude scrutiny and discussion, as was witnessed last week.
The political cancer that kills due process can be excised if:
- Full deliberations are made
- All legislators have appropriate time to consider the bill
- All legislators have an opportunity to debate
- Political party wins/losses are not the primary concerns
Political Partisanship Hurts The People
Everyone needs active, healthy, and functional political parties (of all stripes) in our governance. When they are joined in a common purpose, we the people benefit. Partisanship should not decide a vote. It often does but it truly should not. The concerns of the people should be the driving and deciding force behind a vote. When that fails, to what or to whom are our legislators pledging their allegiance?
Today we witness and are subject to a great political divide in our Congress. Lines are drawn and allegiances are promised not to the people, but to a political party! This perspective fails: the country, the bill, and whichever political party it seeks to serve. It especially fails the people. While Congress was formed to entertain great debates for the general common good, dispelling a process that fosters this is simply wrong.
Fair Political Process Serves Us Well
Process is key! Our Congress is well over 200 years old. You’d think by now that the procedures used would be solid and fair. But they’re not. The governing procedures should be firmly in place to serve the people of this great nation. Can we even say, “Democracy” anymore?
Today, Congress should be embarrassed and ashamed. The people suffer when procedures are manipulated to serve a party, money, and politics.
The President Should Be The People’s Choice
This blog, as you know, is primarily about Equal Voice Voting. In order for Equal Voice Voting to become a reality, all political parties must come together and debate its merits. A truly nonpartisan approach is critical for this to happen.
Currently, political parties chalk up presidential election wins and losses on a state-by-state basis due to the winner-takes-all approach. The people are trod under in such a political process stampede. Much like casting a political party vote for taxing the nation (as we are now witnessing), sensitivities and sensibilities are skipped. A political party win is the ultimate desired consequence.
Rather, in selecting our nation’s president, two principles should stand out:
- All votes must count!
- All states must matter!
If our voting procedure does not address these two principles, for the benefit of the people, we all should be embarrassed and ashamed.
As you discuss tax fairness in the coming days, consider what governing procedures mean to you. Consider what it means for your vote. Consider what it means for, “We the people…”.