You Did Not Hear This in the State of the Union Speech (2010)
A Representatives Role & The People
The people no longer feel like they are being represented by their representatives. The people have begun to feel that the elected view their position as a vote to be subjected to their rule, rather than a vote for them to act as a duly appointed representative. There is nothing in the word ‘representative’ that suggests a representative should ‘tell us how to live, tell us how we want to spend our tax money, or tell us what to do’. In fact, the word itself is supposed to indicate that ‘representatives’ act on the behalf of the voice of the person, group, or organization they represent. Our representatives are forgetting that role.
The people see the ear of our representatives tuned to lobbyists. Lobbyists are the voice of special interests. The one voice that time and again appears to reach the ear of our representatives appears to be the voice of the lobbyists, who are effectively representing for those who pay them, and not necessarily the people at large. The people are left with the perception that our representatives listen to the voice of those who give them money to campaign rather than to the people’s voice.
The people desperately seek a way to have their voice heard by their representatives. They have been promised transparent government and open processes, and that has not yet occurred. The people are painfully aware of the apparent closed-door and back room meetings that occur. The people find it hard to believe their voice is being heard through those closed doors. The people are already beginning to indicate, by vote, that no matter what party, that they simply want to be represented by their representatives.
A Representatives Role & The Party
Again, the people no longer feel like they are being represented by their representatives. The perception is that our elected representatives choose to be team players for their chosen party, rather than representatives to the people they are elected to represent. When the people see bills passing that have ALL the democrats voting one way, and ALL the republicans voting another way, we MUST question whether it position of the people at large that is being represented.
In addition, some legislation as currently being publicized appears to contain deals made by the majority to secure votes of those in their party. The people are wary of a legislative process that secures votes from a representative for legislation by exempting their constituents from the law being voted for, particularly when the exemption is being provided to people represented by majority party only. How many minority representatives, if given the choice, would gladly say “It’s OK if you pass this law, as long as it does not apply to me or my constituency". This indicates a desire on the part of the majority to go forward anyway, with a process aimed at securing votes from those on their team by whatever means necessary.
A Representatives Role & The Constitution
It has been noted that some bills contain clauses indicating that ‘the whole bill will not be deemed to be unconstitutional if specific parts of the bill are determined to be unconstitutional’. Our representatives ALL take an oath to uphold the constitution. Clearly they have reservations about the contents of some bills. Should they go willingly forward with legislation that is likely to incur additional taxpayer burden to pay for prosecuting or defending, or in other ways supporting the clearly anticipated judicial processes associated with whether or not our representatives even have the authority to pass the bill? That is the tax dollars of the people being spent there.
What You Did Not Hear in a State of the Union Speech
“I will support legislation that requires representatives to interactively reach out to, solicit, and hear the voice of their constituency. It is fundamental to our government process that representatives represent the people, that representation not be along political party (or team) lines, and that the representation be in accordance with the constitutional powers granted to the House of Representatives and Senate."
"I will veto legislation that is presented to me for signature that has 1) been passed on the basis of a vote along party lines, 2) contains amendments that are deals in place to secure votes from representatives, 3) contains within it clauses indicating lack of confidence in the constitutionality of the law being passed.”
You did not hear this since it would likely lead to an upheaval in how our representative process is conducted. That sort of change would be too much.
Even though we all seek change, it is my belief that our current frustration with politics and government is not just about any one issue, but is rather about how we exercise our representative democratic process. In short, it appears that our representatives do not represent, the party (or the dollar) rules, and the Constitution only matters if someone cares.
I was raised to believe that above all else our government was of the people, by the people, and for the people. Our perception seems to now be that government is of the commoner constituency, by the elected elite, for the benefit of the dollar flowing from the commoner to the elite. It is not about any one issue.