“So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men”. Voltaire (1694-1778), French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher
On Tuesday, November 2nd, we will all go to the polls to vote. By that time I am sure we will all be weary of the campaign ads, articles, letters to the editor, and yard signs (I have promised my husband that all of ours will come down on November 3rd). I hope that you have had a chance to research those that are running for either political office or judicial retainer so you can make an informed choice on what future direction you want our government to take. In addition, there will also be a few initiatives on the ballot too, including whether or not to convene a constitutional convention and a new 3/8 cent option tax.
Regarding the Constitutional Convention, I am voting “YES”. Despite what the ads say, outside interests do not determine the delegates to the Convention – we do. And then we vote on the proposed amendments. The Iowa Constitutional Convention gives a powerful voice to the people every 10 years – I encourage you not to squander this opportunity for us to speak. Regarding the tax, I am of course voting “NO”. Do we really need to create another way for the government to squander our money? Regarding the judicial retainer, I plan on doing what I usually do every election cycle: I vote “NO”. And I always do so for the following reasons: 1) When questionnaires have been sent to judges in the past, they’ve followed the Iowa Supreme Court’s advice to not answer them. This leaves us with what the U.S. Supreme Court has called “state-imposed voter ignorance.” Since I am being asked whether to re-hire someone with my own tax dollars, I won’t hire him or her without knowledge of their motivation, experience, judicial philosophy, and constitutional interpretation. 2) If some judges are defeated, it may strengthen our ability to get them to answer future questionnaires on the above topics 3) I don’t know any of them well enough personally to be sure that they hold to the original intent of the U.S. and Iowa Constitutions 4) Judges are currently picked by an unelected committee (half of which are Iowa Bar Association members & half are appointed; currently 12 are Democrat and 2 are Republican). So, other than the retention vote, the judicial bench has absolutely no accountability to either the people of Iowa or to those we elect to represent us.
Basically it boils down to this: ultimately we are in charge. If we don’t like a law, we have the right to change it. If we don’t like a judicial decision, we have the right to change the constitution to override it. If we don’t like a candidate or a judge, we have the right to kick them out. No person or law is so sacred as to be above the will of the people. Any assertion to the contrary exposes a complete ignorance not only of our Constitution but of American history as a whole. “All power is inherent to the People” (U.S. Constitution), and the government “derives its powers from the consent of the governed” (Declaration of Independence), remember? The People will always have the final say.
Campaigns rely on the electorate to be trusting and ignorant. We can afford to be that way no longer. We have been shown that our trust has been misplaced, and that our ignorance is their bliss. Our loyalty now needs to be to our country first, and not to a particular candidate or political party. It is time that we undergo the hard work to return our government to its original intent – to be a servant of the people instead of their master. As Mark Twain once said, “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it”.
There is no reason to fear our future if we remain in control of it. We must take a stand to restore our Republic, or we will deserve what we get. The first way to do that is to vote.
After that, the hard part really begins.
“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th U.S. President