Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This is democracy?

I've made my feelings about this issue already pretty well known, so what I'm about to write should come as no surprise. This situation is deplorable and every member of the NY State Senate should be embarrassed and ashamed.

The NY Supreme Court decided, rightfully, that it had no business getting involved in the legislative branch, and dismissed the case brought to it by the democrats. The judge correctly stated that the Senate should work out its issues on its own and it had no jurisdiction in the matter.

While this is the correct decision, it is also unfortunate. Without any means to right the wrong, it now appears that corrupt power grabs orchestrated by spiteful, insanely wealthy men who simply know how to line the pockets of people with no moral compass (yeah, I'm looking at you Pedro Espada. How do you even sleep at night?) can be achieved at will, and the ability to completely shut down a critical branch of government can be wielded by those who are more concerned with political and personal gain than they are acting for the people.

The Supreme Court judge (Thomas McNamara) in this case made a wise, albeit naive, observation: "The failure of the Senate to resolve this issue in an appropriate manner will make them answerable to the electorate." This should be true, but history shows us that it likely will not. Not if the elections are held at their regular intervals.

This is where the constitution of the State of NY needs to be amended to allow a provision that prevents this sort of thing from ever happening again. At no time should the legislative branch EVER, of its own will and volition, be able to challenge the power structure established by the electorate without the electorate being involved in the process. What has happened in this case is nothing short of anarchy. The electorate has been effectively disenfranchised. The power structure established by the will of the voting populace has been replaced by the will of a rich man and a corrupt senator. How is this democracy?

In my opinion, three things need to happen. First, the damned Senate needs to get back into session and start passing some of the local and state budgets that are in jeopardy otherwise. Democrats: you made your case and you lost. You were duped. You were swindled and cheated. Now get over it and get back to work. The taxpayers of NY are not paying you to stand outside the chamber pouting. Republicans: stop claiming some high ground victory for the State of NY. What you did was repugnant and with any luck will be made illegal in the future. You have turned your back on the will of the electorate of the state you purport to represent in an obvious power grab. You are nothing more than schoolyard bullies with a rich uncle (Gallisano). But, you got away with it. And so it goes. So quit grandstanding and find some common ground with the Democrats and get the hell back to work. Like yesterday.

Second, I believe the elected Senate has utterly failed its first responsibility to the voters of the State of NY. I call for the immediate dissolution of the senate at the end of the current session and for complete elections to be run this fall for new representation. Let the voters decide this dispute, and let them do it in a hurry. It's the only democratic thing to do.

Third, I demand, as a voter, that a provision or amendment be put in to the legislative branch bylaws, or the NY State Constitution , or whatever governing body is required, that at no time may the legislative branch be allowed to cast off its leadership and replace it ad-hoc without a referendum put to the people. The saddest part in all of this is that these Senators are acting alone, not out of the best interests of their constituents, but out of their own greed and political desire, and the voters had to stand by and watch, powerless to do anything about it. This is not democracy, and it needs to be fixed. What took place on the floor of the NY State Senate may not be technically illegal, but for the sake of the voters of the State of NY, it damn well should be.

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