What’s your politician’s job?

14 May

3rd-congress-sizedWhat’s the job of someone you elect to office?

Is he or she supposed to represent their constituency and vote for what the people tell him or her what they want?

Or is their job to vote what they think is right, and you voted them into office to do that.

It’s not a simple question and there’s no simple answer.

We are a “republic” and a republic form of government is where we elect people to represent us in Washington.

When the Constitution was first enacted, there were no telephones, or telegraphs and the seat of government was days (or weeks) away by buggy or horse.

There was no way for the lawmaker to reach back to the home city or state to see what the people wanted.

They voted as best they could on the matter before them.

It’s different now.

Here’s our simplistic view of it all…

A republic is a state that does not practice direct democracy but rather has a government indirectly controlled by the people.

Here’s the confusion – what does “represent” really mean?

The reason this is important is what’s happening in Colorado right now.

Colorado Democratic lawmakers who recently helped pass some of the toughest gun-control laws in the country are facing the political backlash of recall efforts.

Some are saying they went against the will of the people.

The Democrat-controlled legislature passed bills that outlawed magazines holding more than 15 rounds and required background checks for all gun transfers.

They were signed into law in March by Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper.

At the same time, the Senate president, pushed a more far-reaching bill that called for holding owners, sellers and makers of assault-type weapons liable for havoc inflicted by their guns.

He pulled the bill when he realized he didn’t have enough votes.

Just trying to get the bill passed has upset a lot of people.

Two Petition drives are being organized to force all those people into recall elections.

The argument boils down to:

Are lawmakers supposed to vote for the will of the majority (measured some way) regardless of how they individually feel?

Or, are they supposed to vote their conscience because the people who put them in office agreed with how they felt about issues?

The America of 200 years ago is vastly different from the America of now.

We’ve pondered this over many a cocktail and still can’t agree.

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