We the People — Part 1

“The people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government and to reform, alter, or totally change the same when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.”
~Alexander Hamilton

By Alden Benton

There are less than 30 days until the national election on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. 

While most of our attention is focused on the race for the presidency, the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the United States Senate will also be selected.  In addition, there are myriad state and local elections to select those who would govern and to settle numerous policy decisions.

In California, where I reside and vote, voters have two important tools to keep their government in check: initiative and referendum.  The California State Constitution allows Californians, with a specified number of qualified signatures, to recall any state elected official.  The last time this happened was in 2003, when voters recalled then Governor Gray Davis and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

California also allows its citizens to enact new laws, force laws passed by the legislature onto the ballot for a public vote, or amend the state’s Constitution through the initiative process.  In the November 8 election, voters will decide the fate of 17 initiatives on a variety of issues facing the state.

This article is the first in a series to explain what each measure proposes to do, without the partisan noise and bias muddling the issues. 

As a disclaimer, I am a registered Republican in the deep blue state of California.  Those of you who know me, or have read my articles, know I have a conservative worldview. 

However, in my analysis of these measures, I will endeavor to stick to the letter of each measure in determining its potential effects.  Whether or not those outcomes are acceptable to my readers is their choice.

I fully subscribe to the motto of the old Scripps‑Howard newspapers, “Give light and the people will find their own way.”  That light is the truth, unbiased by personal feelings or political ideology.

Here are nine rules I follow during election season.  These rules help save my sanity, keep my friends, and cut through all the nonsense propagated on television, radio, and the internet.  These rules ensure that I reach reasoned conclusions about the candidates and proposals put before me.

  • Rule 1: Politicians and political commercials lie.
  • Rule 2: Throw away all political mailings (See Rule 1)
  • Rule 3: Stop listening to, or reading, the news (See Rule 1)
  • Rule 4: Forget the debates and forums.  They are all pre-planned, staged circuses (See Rule 1)
  • Rule 5: If you want to keep them, do not talk politics with your friends and family
  • Rule 6: The official titles of the initiative proposals are misleading or deceptive (See Rule 1)
  • Rule 7: Never read the arguments for or against a proposition (See Rule 1)
  • Rule 8: Always read the background and summary of the Legislative Analyst
  • Rule 9: If you want to know exactly what you are voting for, always read the text of the proposal (See Rule 1).

In Part 2, I will begin my analysis of the California ballot propositions.

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote…that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”  ~Samuel Adams


© 2016 A.L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
All Rights Reserved
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