How much should our opinion matter? I think my opinion should count a lot, especially when it’s well informed, which is usually.
No doubt you feel the same way. When it comes to representative government, our opinions certainly should be important. Not all-important, of course. We want representatives who share our values, but we want them to rule by principles, not just by polls.
But sometimes public opinion should carry a great deal of weight, even if our representatives have a different opinion.
Foreign policy is one example. Should our congressmen be making life-and-death commitments for us around the world, against our will, without the support of the very people who will have to pay the ultimate price for the policy?
According to a recent survey by Rasmussen Research, most Americans think the U.S. should commit to the military defense of just four nations Canada and Mexico on this side of the globe, and across the pond, Great Britain and France.
Yet for one reason or another, the United States currently has troops in more than 100 countries. And we are committed to defend scores of allies. A lot of us were very skeptical of the bombing in Kosovo. But our doubts didn’t stop our representatives from giving a green light to the action. When troops are sent abroad, life and limb is at stake.
In a situation like that, our representatives had better listen to what the people have to tell them. Don’t you think? That’s my opinion, anyway.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.