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.