Friday, January 16, 2009
Term limits LD 108
As it is essential to liberty that the government in general should have a common interest with the people, so it is particularly essential that the branch of it under consideration should have an immediate dependence on, and an intimate sympathy with, the people. Frequent elections are unquestionably the only policy by which this dependence and sympathy can be effectually secured.
Alexander Hamilton Federalist papers # 52
I recently had the good fortune to read the 124th Maine State Legislatures proposed LD108 a RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Change the Terms for State Senators and Members of the House of Representatives to 4 Years.
As we the general populace, suffer the cruel and bitter consequences of the failing economy, and are focused upon those personal interests closest to our existence, those who we have elected to represent our combined interests have decided the time was ripe to try this again. For lest we let our memories fade through worry this very bill has been tried before. But I'll not go overmuch into the particulars of that history for it serves no purpose in my present argument.
I fully believe that the current two year terms of service are more than sufficient to fulfill the purposes of representing the Maine citizen. Who among us has not had occasion to wonder at seemingly "out of touch" proposals and ideas that filter down to the masses? Have we not all felt that those very same legislators are too far distant from their constituents and that they understand not the real woes and needs of the voters? If you find yourself with no examples of such wonderment as you look back at the past two years, then I daresay you have just been released from some kind of institution, or that your care and concern for our democracy is minimal.
The proponents of four year terms are simply undermining the principle put forth by Alexander Hamilton that the representatives should have " an immediate dependence on, and a sympathy with the people." Which can only be fostered and maintained through Frequent elections. Though Mr. Hamilton was speaking of the US House of Representatives at the time, if we look closely at the Maine State Constitution we can see that it's form mirrors the Federal Constitution quite closely. The ideas and theories used to create the Federal Constitution, being sound and well thought out, must have been agreeable to the citizens and Legislators of Maine when they wrote their own or they would not have chosen to copy the forms so closely.
If, the philosophy behind Maine's choice of Constitutional Articles, was so influenced, which I believe it was, by the writings and beliefs of such men as Madison, and Hamilton, then LD 108 not only turns it's back on the first Maine Legislature but that too of our founding fathers.
To what good will a further distance of two years be to you the voter of Maine if this resolution comes to pass? I say no good or benefit will you derive from such a scheme, for those who are already so far removed from the every day existence of the populace will become even more distant. They will need not to look to you, their employer, for guidance, acceptance nor will accountability for misdeeds and poor work be a worry to them.
As it stands right now, the only true power each and every voter in Maine has to influence the government which rules above him or her is the vote. The power to vote into office those we wish to represent our interests and to remove those who through laziness, deception or even simple misfortune have failed to look after their constituents. I for one am loathe to give over that power, or even to delay the use of the only tool I have available to me to further Democracy.
I will be writing another piece concerning the supposed reasoning behind LD 108 and it's Proponents. Stay tuned.... this bloody mess is going to get very big and nasty when all is said and done.
Alexander Hamilton Image compliments of http://www.foundingfathers.info/