By Sam Burnham
We're entering a new year with a lot of beginnings. This post will be the ABG beginning for this year. A lot of folks are trying to turn over a new leaf with different resolutions. There is also a new government coming together in Washington - a new president and a new Congress.
There has already been a little upheaval, complaining, accusations, maybe a few names called, one great big spitting contest and the circus hasn't been in town a week yet. The GOP started to eliminate an independent ethics panel that eveyone seems to have an opinion on, whether they understand anything about it or not. Then the same people who moved to eliminate the panel pulled a reverse and kept it in place. But the complaints have persissted.
There is a need for accountibility in our government. I believe that the vast majority of people who go to Washington, from both parties, are honest, ethical people who sincerely want to make a difference and improve this nation according to their idealology. But I also believe that there is something inherent in the power of our overcentralized government that tends to corrupt people after they have been exposed to the monster that Washington has become.
So many reforms are batted around these days with term limits likely being the most popular.
But there is one that remains overlooked. in the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was enumerating the grievances being levied against King George III. Among the list is found: "He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures." While George III was doing more than just placing power far from the people, the sentiments, and the result, are the same Our government has centralized power far from us. It has placed power far from our eyes and limited the number of representatives that can carry our voices to the seat of power. The power of state and local governments has been seized by the central government. The abil;ity of the people to hold their governemtn accountable has been diminished.
We saw the results of the presidential election in which the popular vote differed with the Electoral College. The immediate response was to repeal the Electoral College, the cornerstone of the republic, rather than take actions to make presidential politics less of an influence on our daily lives. Any one role that matters that much is placing too much power in the hands of one imperfect human being. Why not enfore the Constitution, limit executive power to the standards laid out in Article II, and restore the checks and balances inherent in the federal system the Founders established? If the election shrinks the influence of your state on the nation it's because we've removed too much authority from your state and placed it in Washington.
This is not a sustainable model of government. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people should be as close to the people as we can get it. That is the solution we need to be discussing.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire