Editorial

The will of the people is just a myth, not being heard

ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” story. It is an editorial by the editor.

“Let the will of the people be heard.” — Albert Parsons, 1886, just before he was hanged in the Haymarket Square, Chicago.

“I don’ trust gummint. I trust the people.” — President George W. Bush.

I’m sick and tired of the growing body of evidence that our lawmakers and government officials care not a whit about the will of the people.

The latest example is Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ edict that the federal government will step up prosecutions of people who grow, transport, sell and use marijuana in states that have legalized the substance. So much for the Republican Party’s mantra of states’ rights.

Sessions is deliberately ignoring the will of the people in as many as 29 states that have legalized medical or recreational use of marijuana, in nearly all cases by a vote of the people. He is making his personal opinion trump (pun intended) the opinions of a huge majority of citizens proven at the polls.

Even worse is that Allegan County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Kengis last week publicly punched his ticket into membership of the Flat Earth Society by stating his opposition to any kind of marijuana dispensing facilities in the county.

Voters in Michigan in 2008 spoke loudly in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, with 63% in the affirmative. The State Legislature since then has done its darndest to make it cumbersome and difficult for caregivers and patients. Many have maintained voters in 2008 didn’t understand what they approved. Horse hockey! When voters don’t understand a ballot issue, they turn it down.

This comes on the heels of Congress approving a tax overhaul that even the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office insists favors the rich and does little for the middle class and the poor and bloats the budget deficit by another $1.4 billion over 10 years. So much for the party of states’ rights and fiscal responsibility.

Virtually every poll I’ve seen about this tax plan shows overwhelming public opposition. Some data shows “The People” not in favor by a 2-to-1 margin. But it appears Republicans like Congressman Fred Upton are counting on the voters to forget all about it at the polls next November and keep electing the same bozos year after year. Congress has an overall approval rating nationwide of less than 15 percent, but it doesn’t matter when we forgive OUR bozo.

Not long ago the State Legislature approved a law permitting wholesale fireworks use and abuse by common folks, all in the name of money. The polling I’ve seen on that law is that at least 60 percent of the public would like to see it rescinded because of the nuisance and neighborhood dangers.

About 15 years ago, Dick and Betsy DeVos spearheaded a state-wide ballot issue to allow public tax dollars to be used for private and Christian education, a voucher plan. It was defeated by a 70% to 30% count. Yet, public funds going for private education is increasing, owing a great deal to President Donald Trump’s appointment of Betsy as Education Secretary.

In all of the above cases, and there are many others too numerous to mention, government is ignoring the will of the people and lurching forward hell-bent on having their personal agendas satisfied, or in most cases, doing the bidding of their wealthy benefactors rather than “the people.”

To be sure, as philosopher Jean-Jacques Russeau once wrote, “the will of the people can err,” as in the foolhardy approval in 1994 of term limits for state offices. The proof is in the pudding over the last 23 years. We haven’t had a state representative in these parts fit to sit in Paul Hillegonds’ chair since he was retired in 1996.

But we collectively so often speak so highly about doing the will of the people and politicians, businesses and corporate CEOs spend a lot of money on marketing and advertising to persuade the unwashed masses to agree to their point of view. And still it takes shenanigans and chicanery to ensure politicians and their allies get what they want.

In the words of Ranger Rick, “The rotting of America from within continues…”

1 Comment

  • Surprised you didn’t include the GOP majority MI legislature’s recent propensity to attach a spending item to laws so they can’t be repealed by a ballot initiative.

    The same GOP Majority has made any ballot initiative more difficult by increasing the number of signatures required in a shorter amount of time.

    Currently the MI GOP is ready to go to court to keep a recent successful petition effort to require state legislative districts be done by a non-partisan commission off the 2018 ballot.

    And so it goes

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