One of the main points of our representative republic is that we elect people who are supposed to, well, represent our interests.
While it’s a nice thought that we send folks off to Boise or Washington, D.C. with the mandate to do what’s best for We the People, it’s not a foregone conclusion that our legislators are actually true representatives.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen that our “representatives” don’t often think about serving us at all. A few weeks ago, some of our legislative “leaders” held so-called town halls on the other side of the state — but refused to take questions from attendees. Instead, citizens had to submit questions ahead of time, and the questions were vetted.
During the last election, some of the “representatives” running for office refused to engage in one-on-one forums with their opponents. Because why should they sit next to someone else so citizens can listen to their ideas and make an informed decision? The entitlement displayed by some of our “representatives” is astounding. When candidates refuse to engage in the marketplace of ideas, the foundations underpinning the Great American Experiment are eroded.
And, of course, our “representatives” are already gearing up to try to further restrict our initiative rights. It appears that some of our so-called leaders are so afraid of what their constituents have to say that they hope to gag us. They pretend to be worried about outside interests and big money influencing the process, but the reality is that all of the restrictions our “representatives” are proposing would actually make it so that only outside big money interests could get anything done.
The real motive behind moves to try and silence their constituents — or just ignore them altogether — is to maintain their own power and further their own interests. Legislators refused to act on access to affordable healthcare for six years. And now that citizens have taken matters into their own hands, our “representatives” are fighting us at every turn, trying to add expensive and less effective sideboards.
Rather than funding education at the level citizens want, our “representatives” routinely enact tax cuts that disproportionately help the top earners in Idaho — and do very little for working families. And then, when these tax cuts lead to revenue shortfalls, they wring their hands and virtue-signal “fiscal responsibility.”
The “leaders” in Boise insist that we can’t pay for community investment designed to benefit most Idahoans because “the money has to come from somewhere.” They prate about “principles” that prevented them from taking advantage of federal money to expand healthcare access. Meanwhile, their donors are reaping tax breaks, billions of dollars are given to special interests in the form of sales tax exemptions and some of our so-called representatives and leaders are happily taking federal subsidies that benefit them.
The bedrock of a representative republic is that We the People should be represented and our Constitution upheld. But none of this works if we aren’t paying attention. We need to hold our leaders and representatives accountable — before they succeed in silencing us for good.