Are you frustrated with politicians because they don’t seem to pay attention to you after they are elected? Actually, they don’t have to.

Let’s look at some political facts of life:

  • When politicians take office, they have no obligation to listen or respond to their constituents. In addition, citizens have no right to interfere with the decisions they make for them while they are in office. This fact was verified by the Supreme Court in 1984: 465 U.S. 271 1984 “Nothing in the First Amendment or in this Court's case law interpreting it suggests that the rights to speak, associate, and petition require government policymakers to listen or respond to communications of members of the public on public issues.” In other words, you can protest and petition as much as you like, but only hope they will listen or respond to you.
  • Our politicians are immune from criminal or civil prosecution for any laws they pass that create irreversible consequences to our health, safety or financial welfare. The only option for citizens is to plead with them to do the right thing, and wait until the next election to hold them “accountable”.

Knowing these undeniable facts, many voters may still prefer to have politicians make decisions for them. However, for those who are concerned about the waste, fraud and abuse of rights in our political system, and want to do something about it, please keep on reading.

To continue, only politicians can decide who pays or who doesn't pay taxes, and the rights we have or don’t have as citizens. They do this directly through laws, or indirectly through judges they appoint or run for office with the support of their political party corporate donors. Consider abortion, gun rights, immigration, or health insurance. Some citizens are passionate about these issues and take ideologically opposing sides on them. However, only our politicians decide whether to address them, or ignore them.

  • Whether you take the side of a progressive or conservative, Democrat or Republican, you will always be an outsider, if you rely on politicians to make decisions for you.

Do you want to elect people who will respond to you after they take office? Then you must vet and elect true representatives who will pay attention to you. One way to do this is with a pledge of honor. A simple pledge can provide a way to easily determine if any incumbent or candidate for office claims to want to represent their constituents. It can clearly identify those to support or replace at the next election.

This pledge gives all citizens of voting age direct influence on the decisions of their elected officeholders through polling. It enables them to quickly find out if their representatives are listening and responding to them, with undeniable evidence of their voting record on laws. This polling is very different from asking voter opinions about policy positions or plans with ideas to address issues. This is because policy positions do not determine who pays, or doesn’t pay taxes. Laws do. Ideas to promote or preserve citizen rights are only ideas. Only laws can support or reject these ideas. If an incumbent or candidate for office states policy positions or plans, always ask them what laws have they written or sponsor to actually fulfill their ideas.

  • Political platforms, policies and plans with ideas to address issues are meaningless rhetoric, unless they identify laws to fulfil them.

If you think your Democrat, Republican, or Independent officeholders listen and respond to you, hand them a copy of the pledge. Ask them and candidates for the next election how many of their constituents will they contact to get their opinions, before they vote on legislation. Most officeholders have thousands to millions of constituents, like congressional senators and state governors. Can anyone identify even one of their representatives ever asking them about their opinion on a piece of legislation before they voted on it, and show the polling results?

You now have another choice to make for those representing you. You can continue to decide to elect politicians, based on their promises, and have them make laws for you to obey. You can exercise your First Amendment rights to join protest marches, sign petitions and call officeholders to complain to their staff. On the other hand, you can elect representatives who will listen and respond to you. Why let politicians make decisions for you, instead of having representatives make decisions with you?

Click on “The Pledge” to examine it, and then click on "Pledge Outcomes" to understand how it could eliminate money in politics. We need to stop using outdated reform tactics, and use our 21st century technologies for a change. We need to start a movement that demands that citizens have transparent information and involvement in the decisions their representatives make every day they are in office.

Dominick Palella