v'ܩ What Do You think The Role Of Elected Officials Should Be?
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What Do You think The Role Of Elected Officials Should Be?

July 31st, 2009

I have long been a believer that the role of elected officials should be to enact policies that they believe to be the best ideas, not necessarily the policies that the people want. To this end I think we should spend less time worrying about their political stances and more time focusing on their ability to think, on their compassion, on their core belief sets. After all, what someone believes about the important issues of today don’t tell us much about how they will respond to the important issues 12 months down the road, but their character can tell us everything we need to know.

I say this because it is clear from recent polling that the majority of Americans are not supportive of the current Health Care Bill. This, of course, hasn’t stopped Democrats from trying to push this Bill through and I find that to be a little bit admirable. I don’t want a legislature that bows to the whims of the populace at every turn out of fear of not being re-elected. I ant a legislature that enacts laws they believe are in the best interest of the United States, even when I don’t like the legislation. Fact of the matter is, the legislators have more information about all of these ‘hot issues’ at their finger tips than every blogger combined. They have entire staffs devoted to researching topics.

So I ask, what do you expect from your legislators? Do you want a Democracy or a Republic? Should we send every American citizen a ballot for every law? Should law makers be obligated to vote in line with the majority of their constituency? I’ll end with a small excerpt from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy In America:

“The people is always right,” that is the dogma of the republic just as, “the king can do no wrong,” is the religion of monarchic states. It is a great question to decide whether the one is more false than the other: but what is very sure is that neither the one nor the other is true.

Mr. Washington Smith told me yesterday that almost all the crimes in America were due to the abuse of alcoholic drinks. “But,” said I, “why do you not put a duty on brandy?”

“Our legislators have often thought about it,” he answered. “But are afraid of a revolt, and besides the members who voted a law like that would be very sure of not being re-elected, the drinkers being in a majority and temperance unpopular.”

Yesterday also another Mr. Smith, a very respected Quaker, told me: “The Negroes have the right to vote at elections, but they cannot go to the Poll without being ill treated.”

“And why,” said I, “is the law not carried out on their behalf?”

He answered me: “The laws have no force with us when public opinion does not support them. Now the people is imbued with very strong prejudices against the Negroes, and the magistrates feel that they have not the strength to enforce laws which are favorable to the latter.”

Author: T.J. Seabrooks Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
  1. Jeffrey
    July 31st, 2009 at 07:33 | #1

    This is too broad for me. “whatever is best”, is what is being forced down our throats right now. And if they think socialism is the best, then they are not doing their jobs and are attempting to radically change America. To paraphrase Jefferson, Government’s obective is to provide the people with freedom and the pursuit of happiness and nothing more.

  2. July 31st, 2009 at 08:03 | #2

    Obviously, if we disagree with their perspectives we should vote them out of office. I DON’T think socialism is best… But I do think we elect officials to vote for what THEY think is best. Maybe, if Americans did a better job of giving a damn about the characters and fundamental beliefs of their candidates we would end up with less idiots in office (Republican and Democrat).

    Remember, when you vote you say “I trust your judgment”…

  3. Jeffrey
    July 31st, 2009 at 09:38 | #3

    I disagree again. I vote on positions on policy not judgement. Their role in government is to reflect me (or the people they represent).

    To me it is the “what is best” attitude that has caused this elitist nature of the federal government. I don’t want the government to take the I know better than you stance on everything. Especially health care.

    The individual is dying in this country and a long with them, true equal opportunity and freedom.

  4. July 31st, 2009 at 11:01 | #4

    i agree and disagree. i think that voting based on character is the correct way to go, mostly because the issues talked about during the campaign aren’t actually going to be the big issues while they serve. That being said, I think that they are to be held accountable to what their constituents want. When they clearly don’t want something like the current health care, the lawmakers need to find a different solution. They must find a compromise. Otherwise, even if they think it is right, it won’t work. The reason? They will get voted out and it will be changed with the next Congress. Then it’s just a waste of time and money. The people’s opinion should be weighted heavily as they consider their decisions.

  5. rick
    September 21st, 2011 at 13:00 | #5

    Members of the house and senate can’t manage their own checkbooks. Each and everyone of them played a role in getting us into the current deffecit. Don’t cut my retirement benefits or Social Security. They can cut their own and pay down the deffecit themselves. Hold these members accountable for their actions.