Here are some outcomes I envision for having pledged true representatives:
1. Pledge signing true representatives will create trust among their voters, who outnumber many times over any amount of wealthy donors or lobbyists seeking their attention. Those voting for or against legislation will be more than 99% of ordinary citizens against the less than 1% of the wealthiest or corporate donors in a voting district.
For example, consider a hypothetical example for a community with a true representative who accepts the majority opinion of his or her constituents to pass or reject the popular $15 an hour minimum wage law. Most likely, its residents would vote for a $15 minimum wage law. This is because minimum wage workers, as well as other low wage workers making less than this amount, could all be involved. Especially young people like college students, recent high school graduates, and retired people trying to make ends meet on social security incomes alone. Now, note that the business owners in a community will represent less than 1% of the numbers voting for or against this proposal.
Can you imagine what would happen if voters demanded a voice in their representative’s decisions? Can you understand how this pitiful ratio of corporate interests would no longer play any significant role in political decisions for a community? Remember that my pledge of honor only allows the residents of a community to be involved in the decisions of their representatives. For example, a Walmart in any community will only have its employees and managers who live there voting for or against this law. If any Walton heirs live in a community where one of their stores is, they would have their one vote to pass or reject this $15 minimum wage for their employees.
2. Voters who have true representatives will inform friends, family and others in other voting districts about the benefits of having someone who proves they listen and respond to them. After all, every voter today with relatives or friends anywhere in the country can quickly contact them by phone, social media, or email. This will produce mounting pressure for incumbents or candidates for elections to sign the pledge, before their opponents do.
True representatives will be accountable to their constituents, unlike any of our private party politicians. No current politician today suffers any real accountability consequences for their conduct in office. At worse, they may be removed from office, to take political patronage jobs like appointments, or working with other politicians in their political party. Those at the federal level of government often end up being paid more as “consultants” or lobbyists for their corporate benefactors. However, their decisions for laws that created hazards for the health or financial welfare of their constituents cannot be prosecuted in any court, even if they made decisions that poisoned the water of their constituents, or allowed financial institutions to commit fraud against them.
Unfortunately, their decisions have often produced irreversible results for citizens in their voting districts. In many cases, health problems and financial hardships created by irresponsible law decisions often affect those in neighboring communities. Moreover, when they are made by corporate-influenced members of Congress, they can affect our entire nation.
3. For those of you who argue political issues with others, you can easily neutralize any controversial issue. Respect the opinions of others, instead of trying to convince them they are wrong and you are right. Just explain that both you and they are outsiders when it comes to issues you both feel passionate about. Both of you have no effective way to do anything about them, except to hope politicians will do the right thing. So let’s stop arguing about what a political party or politician does or doesn’t do. Point out that citizens should have the right to be involved in political decisions, not just standing on the sidelines after elections are over.
4. One of the most serious and growing problems we face today is the influence of the wealthy and corporate lobbyists on political decisions. This has led to increased taxes on the middle class, while severely reduced taxes on the wealthy and corporations. Why do our politicians keep reducing taxes on the wealthy? Maybe one reason is that an increasing number of politicians are wealthy individuals, and simply don’t want to pay more taxes themselves!
Having money influence political decisions, is the result of elected representatives making and accepting laws to promote this immoral conduct. What most of even the smartest and informed voters don’t understand is that the problem is not who is offering money. The problem is who is accepting it. For example, Citizens United has no relevance to money in politics, unless politicians take the money offered to them. If we elect people with personal integrity, this offering of money for favors will immediately be affected. The wealthy and corporations will think twice before giving any money to representatives who actually listen and respond to their constituents.
Let’ face the facts. Most Americans don’t understand how our government works. They cannot name most of the people representing them in government, or know what roles they play. Many politicians are quite happy with this. Then, all they have to do is make promises to them at election time to “fight and work hard” for the issues political polling identifies. Therefore, it’s up to us activists to put our politician’s feet to the fire. We need to stop wasting our time, effort and money with petitions, rallies and pleading with politicians. Instead, we need to educate other activists and politically active citizens in how they can use a more effective way to influence their officeholders. We can do this with a very simple pledge of honor to identify those who want to be true representatives of the people, and expose those who won’t.
If you belong to a political or civic organization, you must ask yourself why you are giving them money or volunteering your time. Do they support politicians who do not want citizens in their community to be involved in their decisions? See what happens if you ask them to have the politicians that they support sign our pledge. If they don’t want to do this, why exactly would you continue to give them your money or time?
Some of you must also ask yourselves why you are not signing this pledge and running for office yourselves. Anyone who is a resident and is 25 years of age or less in most voting districts is thoroughly qualified to run for office. Our US Constitution, state and local governments have few other qualifications for representatives other than residence and age requirements. Political experience or education are not qualifications for any legislative or executive office at any level of our government. Unemployed, or retired, you are usually completely qualified to become an officeholder. So why not give it a try?