Which Electeds Will Make Sure This Isn’t Ohio’s Budget Process?

I’ve been there and done that when it comes to being handed a budget with less than 24 hours to review it before being asked – and pressured – to vote for it. I didn’t vote for it then, and I wouldn’t and I won’t under similar circumstances anywhere else. And I’d say – and did say then – many of the same kinds of things North Carolina State Senator Jeff Jackson said a couple of months ago when the supermajority in his state’s senate chamber pulled this stuff.

It’s hard to pick a pertinent part of Jackson’s remarks because they are such a great example of telling it like it is. When you need to show what speaking truth to power and truth about power looks like and reads like, this is the video and transcript to present. It goes a little something like this:

Most people don’t know this, but Democrats were completely excluded from the budget-making process. Well, like it or not, we represent millions of North Carolinians. By excluding us, you exclude all of them. You’re telling millions of people that you don’t care what their representatives have to say. And at the same exact time, you’re telling those folks to trust your judgment, trust your priorities, and trust this budget. What you’re really telling folks is that when it comes to setting priorities for this state, you don’t need to hear from half its citizens. No negotiation. No give and take. No exchange of ideas. No true competition among ideas. No collaboration. No conversation. No listening to each other. No learning from each other. This isn’t a budget. This is an ultimatum being delivered to millions of people across the state.

You may feel like you have a real debate over this budget, but you didn’t. Republicans in the senate and Republicans in the house do not comprise a two-party system. You thought you were having a debate, when you were really just talking to yourselves all along.

Here’s the full video – it’s only a few minutes and worth every second:

Possibly the most common way in which we think of holding electeds accountable is by going to the ballot box. But we should never forget or let lapse the reality that the people we elect take an oath to hold the system accountable every day after they swear to do so. And in a state like Ohio, so lopsided in partisan political representation, that’s exactly what our elected Democrats need to be doing: holding the political majority accountable to the democracy that is supposed to govern us all – not their ideology.

Maybe you read what I read today – that government dysfunction now tops the economy as the number one concern of voters (you can see the Gallup detail here). I think this is an excellent sign which I read to say that people are fed up with how democracy has been disabled and taken offline. We need to bring it back online, checks and balances and all, and public servants like Jeff Jackson, who demand that it be allowed to function, are exactly the kinds of electeds Ohio, for sure, needs now.

8 thoughts on “Which Electeds Will Make Sure This Isn’t Ohio’s Budget Process?

  1. Good morning Jill,

    Just one more reason for draconian term limits. I favor one term, in any one office, with a strict prohibition against running for any office while in office.

    As long as public office is a pipeline to wealth, or at least comfort, out of office, then people who will benefit from favorable legislation/budgets/executive actions will continue to fund those who they believe will improve their financial position and the rest of us be damned.

    Do all you can to make today a better day,

    Jeff

    • Hmm, I read the logic you put forth, as a reason for term limits, as a reason we need transparency and campaign finance reform, or public campaign financing, not necessarily term limits.

      I have never been a supporter of term limits because I think it makes it easy for voters to not pay attention or to tune out because they think, “We have to wait until the term limits are over before we get new/better/different representation.” I’ll make that my next blog post – how often this issue came up while I was running.

      • Jill,

        My concern with transparency and campaign finance reform, or public campaign financing is that these attack the symptoms without addressing the core cause: political careerism. There will always be those who devote their lives to locating the loopholes and attempting to close one only opens two more somewhere else.

        We can, however, remove the profit from the political equation by eliminating the careerist.

        Public service, in my view, ought to just that, service, a kind giving back to society (in much the same way I view military service) and not a career choice. Citizens ought to have lives outside of politics before they choose to devote additional time to the public sector.

        I think we’ve applied enough band-aides on top of band-aides on top of band-aides in the campaign finance boondoggle and we need to move on to sewing up the wounds in the body politic.

        Jeff

        • I actually don’t like term limits. You have a bunch of newbies that don’t know what they’re doing the first year or two, and have no idea of the importance of compromise in politics. Now limits on campaign funding, that’s something to get behind.

          • Good morning Joyce,

            I don’t think anyone gets elected to political office without being fully cognizant of the central importance of, and need to, compromise; that is, after all, the quintessence of politics in a democracy.

            As for campaign finance reform, we’ve tried that route for how many years without coming even close to the desired result? I think the time has come to stop piling the sandbags higher and work toward lowering the flood waters.

            Do all you can to make today a better day,

            Jeff

            • Jeff, people do get elected to office who prioritize not compromising over compromising – and they get elected for taking such stands. This is part of what I’m aiming at because it’s a direct attack on the way democracy is supposed to work and the state senator featured in this video is calling out other tactics that completely undermine democracy.

              I also find it highly inadvisable to give up on campaign finance reform. But I understand the impulse.

              • Jill,

                That’s true, you’re absolutely right. People do seek office and do get elected by expressing a no-compromise stance. They even get re-elected (Michele Bachmann and Mitch McConnell come to mind), but that does not mean they are no less aware of all the facets of political compromise and engage in compromise when their agenda demands they do so.

                At what point do we say, then, that campaign finance reform is broken beyond repair? When do we call in the demolition crew and start rebuilding?

                Jeff

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