On what should our electd officials base their decisions?
Decisions are made each day by our elected officials at all levels of government. Many of those decisions are not easy in fact they can be difficult in choosing what decision to make. Much legislation is being generated in legislatures at the state and federal government levels and while the impact of them is different it does not make them any less difficult.
Many states and the federal government are facing difficult financial decisions in their efforts to provide the necessities for the citizens of their state and for the citizens of the country. Each state has responsibilities handed down by the Constitution and the responsibilities identified in each of their individual state constitutions. While there are common responsibilities the needs of citizens in each state and the way they handle them may or will likely be different dependent upon where you live.
The current culture in Congress and perhaps the culture in some states involving the decision making process often focuses on the position of their political party rather than upon the content of the legislation. In some and perhaps many cases legislative proposal are voted on without reading the proposal and often based upon someone on their staff’s opinion of the proposition. While this may not necessarily be a bad process our elected officials must depend upon their conclusion not one of their staff.
Decisions made by any one of us should be based on our analysis of the content and what we feel our decision should be made. We must actually read a document before we can draw a conclusion. The same should process should be in place by our elected officials. Along with analyzing legislative proposals for their content they must also determine if the proposal is in agreement with the applicable Constitution related to their responsibilities.
Must legislation and action by all levels of government are not always in agreement with our rights under our Constitution both nationally and at the state level. Constitutional government is what we have in this country and any actions by our elected representatives should be based on the rights in these documents. Making decisions based on party policy is not the way government should be operating but what is right for the individual states and for the country.
Politics is a subject which is not well respected by the public based on numerous polls taken over the years. This is in large part I believe is due to the political culture currently operating at various levels of government. The path on which our country is headed today and perhaps some states in the decisions being made has for the most part lack common sense.
It is known that there are hundreds if not thousands of legislative proposals which must be evaluated to determine whether to support or reject them. Our politicians need to create a smarter process so that honest evaluations can be made in conjunction with constitutional responsibilities. If legislation being proposed at any level of government has no specific connection to the applicable Constitution the proposal should be rejected.
It is true there are some grey areas or subjects which are not specifically identified as a responsibility of the federal government. Some responsibilities have been assumed by the federal government and not left to state governments as dictated by Amendment 10 to the Constitution. This is not necessarily a bad thing in all cases but actions taken by the federal government regarding specific issues when it is clearly not their responsibility can lead to an overreaching government. We have seen evidence of this in many areas through laws passed by Congress and the regulations created to support them.
The question which is the point of this article is that our elected officials must take a stand when actions are being taken which are not in agreement with the Constitution. This is sad to say has not been occurring in recent years and it makes no difference which political party is in power. There are individuals who are looking out for us as is their responsibility but there are not enough of them to make a difference in the way government operates. We elect individuals to stand up for our rights as identified in the Constitution and actions including legislative proposals which contradict with the responsibilities given the federal government should be rejected. Granted there can be exceptions to some actions but they should be exception rather than the rule.
There needs to be a change in Congress this election year. The political culture cannot continue. We must select the best individuals to serve us in the next Congress by replacing some individuals and reelecting others. Those we elect should honor the Constitution in all their legislative decisions and when the proposals have not constitutional basis they should flatly be rejected by both political parties. In fact they should never reach the full house or the Senate. Committees evaluate legislative proposals and while I feel all proposals should have their day in court some are so outrageous that they deserve no such stature. This kind of decision must be based what is right for our country in accordance with the responsibilities of the federal government. Sometimes one line is inserted in legislative proposals which have no relationship to the subject of the legislation to give it constitutional support. If an amendment has no relationship to the proposal being presented it should be voted down.
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