Our Founders were very wise.
“The natural progress of things,” said Thomas Jefferson, “is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” That’s why they created a system of checks and balances to keep government under control and protect our freedom.
One important check is the citizen initiative. The initiative process which only 23 out of 50 states enjoy allows citizens to gather petitions to require a vote on a law or constitutional amendment. The initiative prevents legislators from monopolizing law-making power, giving the people ultimate authority. Without the initiative, many states would never have passed campaign reforms or tax cut measures.
Legislators in virtually every state refused to abide by the popular clamor for term limits. Today, 18 states have passed term limits laws, all but one with the initiative process. But some question whether the people can be trusted passing laws directly. If the people can be trusted to elect representatives, why can’t we be trusted to decide issues?
This country’s strength has always been the good sense and the common decency of the average American, not an elite in Washington or the state capitals making decisions for us. Our founders supported a representative form of government not to keep the people out of decision-making, but because we couldn’t all afford to abandon our jobs and travel to the capitol. The whole purpose was a government where ‘We the People’ rule. That’s why we cannot allow our legislators to hold a monopoly on passing laws.
The initiative process puts the people in charge, and that’s the American way.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.