Sunday, February 27, 2011

An Open Letter to US Law-makers

Dear US law-makers,

I have been closely watching the recent events in Wisconsin, Ohio, California (my home state) and New Jersey. It seems to me that many of you have forgotten how democracy is supposed to work.  Let me refresh your civics lessons.

Democracy is a form of political organization in which all people, through consensus (consensus democracy), direct referendum (direct democracy), or elected representatives (representative democracy) exercise equal control over the matters which affect their interests.

Often democracy is influenced by lobbyists or special interest groups who through financial promises or disruptions, attempt to push their own agenda.  This is an important part of our democracy.  It may seem that this letter opposes those groups, however, it does not.  I myself am a member of such a lobby and recognize their role in our democracy.

Now that the civic refresher is over, I will get to the heart of the matter.  You have all been elected to represent your constituencies. The US citizens who have voted for you, sent you all to fulfill a mandate.  Your jobs are to travel to your respective capitals have an open debate about issues concerning your jurisdictions, and then represent your constituents in an open vote on those issues.

Sometimes the vote will not go the way you want it to.  That is OK because the vote will always represent what the majority wishes.  This is how a democracy works.  It begs repeating.  You will not always get what you (or your constituents) want.  The beautiful thing about democracy is that what you do get, is what the populace wants.

Often you will get, what seems like, a large crowd demonstrating for or against an issue.  That is their right and duty under our democracy to do so.  In such instances, you may go back to your constituents and have an open discussion with them, or exercise your already given-to-you mandate to vote what you believe your constituents sent you there to vote for.  They will let you know in the next election if you did a good job or not.

I urge you all to go back to the work our tax dollars are paying you to do. Holding democracy hostage, is shameful, childish and un-American.  The vote may not go your way.  Its OK.  Its what the populace wants.  That is democracy.  That is what makes the USA great.

Christos Kalantzis

PS. This letter is not in support of any party.  I am neither a Democrat or a Republican.  I am not a citizen, yet, of this great country.  I am a Green Card holder and pay my taxes. This is a pro-democracy letter.  The fact that Union benefits is currently the hot topic, as of this writing, is irrelevant.  My words are just as valid if this was 10, 5, or 2 years ago.