Monday, August 23, 2010
“The Tenor* of Elections”
by John Alexander Madison
August 23, 2010
You don’t have to like it, but elections have turned into very ugly and distasteful annual exercises in ‘democracy.’ It is happening everywhere, even in Colorado. Often, it is no longer about leadership, nor about ideas, nor about character, nor core values, nor the greater good. It is all about politics, a modern day circus replete with clowns (candidates of all stripes) who, in many respects, are as distasteful as a carnival sideshow.
Politics is, after all, about power, about controlling agendas, about winning (at all costs). The sad truth is what has evolved…a proven formula for success in politics is to attack your opponent first, putting him on defense. That’s the truth but few seem concerned about the truth…and as Jack said “you can’t handle the truth.”
What happened to the concept of a citizenship legislature, “one made up primarily of citizens who have a full-time occupation besides being a legislator? James Madison wrote that legislators should be ‘called for the most part from pursuits of a private nature and continued in appointment for a short period of office.’ Legislatures considered to be citizen legislatures include Wyoming, Oregon, New Mexico and Idaho. Many states, by contrast, have a professional legislature.” (Wikipedia)
Short periods of time? According to a 2009 report, there were eighty-six citizens having served in Congress for least 36 years. Senator Robert Byrd sat atop that list at 57 years, 176 days. Strom Thurmond, Daniel Inouye, Ted Kennedy, and Ted Stevens each endured (or benefited from) over 40 year of public service. In fact, if you stick around Washington long enough you will get a building named after you (Russell, Cannon).
“Poor” Joe Biden ranked seventy-second on the list with just 36 years, 12 days. I say “poor” because Vice President Biden has consistently been listed as the poorest or second-poorest member of Congress. Of course, we know how they do math in Washington when reporting net worth… ”please check here if your net worth is between $250,000 and $10 million. Poor Joe, indeed.
Strangely missing from this list are any Congressmen from the first 150 years of this country’s existence who understood the concept of a citizen legislature. I wonder how many years James Madison, my distant relative, served in Congress.
The idea of citizen legislators has, in fact, morphed into a new breed…career politicians who have nothing but their own self-interest and preservation in mind. Perhaps we can save a conversation about term limits for another day.
What a concept, a citizen legislature, offering oneself for the greater good, at great personal sacrifice, to serve in a temporary capacity in service to those who elected you. Wake up America, or is it too late?
The citizens are fed up with our government, especially in Washington, D.C. but also in Denver, Colorado. Entrenched politicians are like dinosaurs and, hopefully, they will soon become extinct. The “establishment” in fact does NOT know what is best for us…the people do. We’ve seen it for over a year now. In 2008, a majority of Americans voted for “change they can believe in” but now they want to change it back.
The T.E.A. Party and the 9-12 groups around the country no longer are satisfied with being the silent majority. They both represent non-political movements based on principles and values. How refreshing. They were the silent majority, but they have awaken.
The silent majority has been referred to as unspecified large majority of people in a country who do not express their opinions publicly. The term was popularized by U.S. President Richard Nixon in a 1969, speech in which he said, "And so tonight—to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans—I ask for your support."
And, so today, my fellow Americans, I too ask for your support.
With the 2010 Primary Election season just behind us many are asking “what happened in Colorado?” Did he/she really win/lose? There are winners and losers in every election. But what is most fascinating, especially for political pundits, is the post-mortem, the analysis, the second guessing of ‘if only…”
However, the results are in and what lies ahead after Colorado’s August 10th Primary is an opportunity to take back our government, step by step.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams
Some say it is too late, some say America as we know it is doomed. It’s all over and ‘the fat lady is about to sing.’ But wait…not so fast.
The November 2, 2010 U.S. Senate election is not about Ken Buck or Michael Bennet. The Governor’s race is not about Dan Maes or John Hickenlooper.
The November 2010 election is about principle. The November 2010 election is about values. The November 2010 election is about taking back our government from entrenched politicians who believe government is the answer. I’ve got news for you, government is not the answer. And those who believe that are wrong.
The silent majority has come alive and they are speaking loud and clear. No more politics as usual…they will elect citizen legislators who truly believe in the limited role of government.
That is why I believe they will elect Dan Maes, a candidate of the people and by the people, as their next Governor…and Ken Buck to the U.S. Senate.
John Alexander Madison is a weekly contributor to The Jeff Crank Show blog site on KVOR radio. He posts every Monday morning at: www.jeffcrank.com
*Tenor (noun)…the drift of something spoken or written