Missouri Constitutional Amendments on Ballot November 4, 2014

West County Democrats

Resolutions on November 4 ballot issues –

to be voted on in the WCD general meeting Oct. 13.

(See Appendix for the ballot language.)

WCD Resolution on Proposed Constitutional

Amendment 2 – Nov. 4 ballot

Whereas: Proposed Constitutional Amendment 2 would allow evidence of

prior criminal acts, whether charged or uncharged, to be admissible in

certain crimes, and

Whereas: The introduction of such prior acts is intended to support the

victim’s testimony or show that the person charged is more likely to

have committed the crime, and

Whereas: The introduction of such evidence is likely to have the effect of

biasing the jury, and

Whereas: It is well-documented that victim eye-witness testimony is

unreliable, and

Whereas: It is also well-documented that when a person is wrongfully

convicted of a crime of a sexual nature, the damage suffered by that

person is considerable, and

Whereas: Convicting an innocent person allows the actual perpetrator of

the crime to remain at large and free to commit additional crimes,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT

The membership of the West County Democrats

opposes the adoption of Amendment 2 and urges

all Missouri voters to vote against this

amendment.

WCD Resolution on Constitutional

Amendment 3 – Nov. 4 ballot

Whereas: Research supports the importance of teachers and school

leaders as the principal components of student success in the K-12

educational system, and

Whereas: Student scores on standardized tests depend entirely on

student retention and understanding of the content of the tests, and also

depends on students’ willingness to answer standardized test questions,

and

Whereas: It is in the interest of the citizens of Missouri and their schoolage

children to recruit, hire, and retain the best new teachers for

Missouri’s public schools, and

Whereas: Continuing contracts (a/k/a “tenure”) for teachers is a principal

means of recruiting and retaining teachers who are deemed effective

during their three- to five-year probationary employment period, and

Whereas: The proposed amendment requires school districts to evaluate

teachers primarily on the basis of “quantifiable student performance data”

rather than the professional judgment of other teachers and

administrators, and

Whereas: The right to make teacher evaluation systems negotiable is

denied in the collective bargaining process, and

Whereas: The right of due process is severely and unconstitutionally

curtailed in “retaining, promoting, demoting, dismissing, removing,

discharging and setting compensation for certified staff,”

Be it therefore resolved that:

The West County Democrat Club opposes the

amendments to Article IX and urges voters to vote

“No” on Ballot Measure No. 3 in the November 4

general elections.

WCD Resolution on Proposed Constitutional

Amendment 6 – Nov. 4 ballot

Whereas: Proposed Constitutional Amendment 6 allows early voting for a

time period substantially more limiting than that proposed by an initiative

petition campaign, and

Whereas: This proposed Amendment permits early voting only in years

when the General Assembly provides funding, and

Whereas: This proposed Amendment does not guarantee that early

voting will actually be implemented on a regular and consistent basis, but

is dependent on the General Assembly for funding, and

Whereas: It is within the purview of the General Assembly to adopt laws

regarding early voting without recourse to a constitutional amendment,

and

Whereas: It is therefore unnecessary and inappropriate to amend the

state constitution in this manner,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT

The membership of the West County Democrats

opposes the adoption of Amendment 6 and urges

all Missouri voters to vote against this amendment.

WCD Resolution on Constitutional

Amendment 10 – Nov. 4 ballot

Whereas: The Governor already has the responsibility for proposing and

implementing a budget for the State, and

Whereas: The Legislature already has the responsibility for adjusting and

approving the budget for the State, including its revenue projections, and

Whereas: The Governor must often adjust specific budget items in

reasonable and prudent response to changing financial and programmatic

conditions, and

Whereas: Constitutional amendments should be reserved for public

policies of general importance, and not be used for operational disputes

between branches of the government, and

Whereas: This amendment, if passed into law, unduly restricts the

Governor’s rightful and reasonable prerogatives and responsibilities,

Be it therefore resolved that:

The West County Democrat Club opposes the

movement of House Joint Resolution No. 72 into

the Missouri State Constitution, and urges voters

to vote “No” on Constitutional Amendment 10.

APPENDIX

The following ballot measures have been certified for

the November 4, 2014 general election. (Source:

http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2014ballot/)

Constitutional Amendment 2

[Proposed by the 97th General Assembly (First Regular Session)

HJR 16]

Official Ballot Title:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that it will be permissible to allow

relevant evidence of prior criminal acts to be admissible in prosecutions for

crimes of a sexual nature involving a victim under eighteen years of age?

If more resources are needed to defend increased prosecutions additional costs

to governmental entities could be at least $1.4 million annually, otherwise the

fiscal impact is expected to be limited.

Fair Ballot Language:

A

“yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to allow evidence of prior

criminal acts, whether charged or uncharged, to be considered by courts in

prosecutions of sexual crimes that involve a victim under eighteen years of

age. The amendment limits the use of such prior acts to support the victim’s

testimony or show that the person charged is more likely to commit the

crime. Further, the judge may exclude such prior acts if the value of considering

them is substantially outweighed by the possibility of unfair prejudice to the

person charged with committing the crime. A

“no” vote will not amend the

Missouri Constitution regarding the use of evidence of prior criminal acts to

prosecute sexual crimes.

If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.

2

Constitutional Amendment 3

[Proposed by Initiative Petition]

Official Ballot Title:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

require teachers to be evaluated by a standards based performance evaluation

system for which each local school district must receive state approval to

continue receiving state and local funding;

require teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid

primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the

evaluation system;

require teachers to enter into contracts of three years or fewer with public

school districts; and

prohibit teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining regarding the

design and implementation of the teacher evaluation system?

Decisions by school districts regarding provisions allowed or required by this

proposal and their implementation will influence the potential costs or savings

impacting each district. Significant potential costs may be incurred by the state

and/or the districts if new/additional evaluation instruments must be developed to

satisfy the proposal’s performance evaluation requirements.

Fair Ballot Language:

A

“yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to require teachers to be

evaluated by a standards based performance evaluation system. Each system

must receive state approval in order for the local school district to continue

receiving state and local funding. Teachers will be dismissed, retained, demoted,

promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part

of the evaluation system. The amendment further requires teachers to enter into

contracts of three years or fewer with public school districts, with exceptions. The

amendment also prohibits teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining

regarding the design and implementation of the teacher evaluation system.

A

“no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding teacher contracts

and performance evaluation systems.

If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.

3

Constitutional Amendment 6

[Proposed by the 97th General Assembly (Second Regular Session)

SS SCS HCS HJR 90]

Official Ballot Title:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to permit voting in person or by mail

for a period of six business days prior to and including the Wednesday before the

election day in general elections, but only if the legislature and the governor

appropriate and disburse funds to pay for the increased costs of such voting?

State governmental entities estimated startup costs of about $2 million and costs

to reimburse local election authorities of at least $100,000 per election. Local

election authorities estimated higher reimbursable costs per election. Those

costs will depend on the compensation, staffing, and, planning decisions of

election authorities with the total costs being unknown.

Fair Ballot Language:

A

“yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to permit voters, in years when

the legislature provides funding, an early voting period of six business days prior

to and including the Wednesday before election day to cast a ballot in all general

elections. This amendment does not allow early voting on Saturday or Sunday.

A

“no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution to provide all voters with a

six-business day early voting period.

If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.

6

Constitutional Amendment 10

[Proposed by the 97th General Assembly (Second Regular

Session) HJR 72]

Official Ballot Title:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to require the governor to pay the

public debt, to prohibit the governor from relying on revenue from legislation not

yet passed when proposing a budget, and to provide a legislative check on the

governor’s decisions to restrict funding for education and other state services?

State governmental entities expect no direct costs or savings. Local

governmental entities expect an unknown fiscal impact.

Fair Ballot Language:

A

“yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution regarding the requirements

placed on the governor for proposing a state budget and for withholding money

appropriated in the budget passed by the legislature. This amendment prohibits

the governor from reducing funding passed by the general assembly without

receiving legislative consent, and provides certain other restrictions on the

governor’s ability to increase or decrease line items in the budget. This

amendment further prohibits the governor from proposing a budget that relies on

revenue from legislation that has not yet passed in the general assembly.

A

“no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding the requirements

placed on the governor for proposing a state budget and for withholding money

appropriated in the budget passed by the legislature.

If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.

[

May 17, 2013 Press Release from Chairman Morton Todd

General Assembly Republicans Put Rigid Ideology ahead of Fiscal Responsibility, Economic Growth and Missourians’Health Care

 

St. Charles, Mo. – As the General Assembly’s 2013 regular legislative session concluded Friday evening, the St. Charles County Democratic Central Committee voiced disappointment in the radically partisan priorities of the county’s Republican legislators.

 

“In 18 weeks in Jefferson City, Republican supermajorities defined their idea of thoughtful legislation by approving bills that were fiscally irresponsible, blatantly unconstitutional and totally inexplicable,” said Committee Chair Morton Todd. “The only people who came out ahead were the Republicans’ biggest donors.”

 

Moreover, Republicans repeatedly refused to consider the state’s best and easiest way to grow the economy: expanding Medicaid in order to return Missouri tax dollars to Missouri, generate $9.6 billion in new economic activity and provide health coverage to 300,000 additional Missourians.

 

“Despite more than 60 state and local business groups, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and the St. Charles County Economic Development Center, endorsing Gov. Nixon’s plan to strengthen Medicaid, the Republican supermajorities put politics first and repeatedly blocked this middle-of-the-road measure,” said Todd. “But what’s worse is that Republicans’ inaction directly leads to lower quality health care by removing $4 billion from hospitals’ bottom lines.”

 

The St. Charles County Democratic Central Committee represents the Missouri Democratic Party in St. Charles County and performs functions as required by the laws of the State of Missouri, the Charter and By-Laws of the Democratic Party of the United States, and the Constitution and By-Laws of the Missouri Democratic Party.

###

Motivating Generation Y

Motivating Generation Y

Political apathy has always been a problem among young voters, and maybe it’s just because I’m a young voter myself, but it seems like more of a problem today than it has ever been in the past.

Admittedly, youth voting has been on the rise in the last couple elections. In 2008, the percentage of young people voting (ages 18-24 in this case) rose to 51%, the highest turn-out since 1992. However, that is still a far cry from the above 25 voter turn-out, which was 67% in 2008.

You might be wondering why, if young voting is on the rise and young voters are stereotypically apathetic to the politics of the world around them, this is a problem. Two main reasons: 1) Voting is habit-forming 2) Voting does not necessarily reflect civic engagement

The earlier a citizen learns about voting and the voting process the more likely they will be to vote. Somewhat like learning a new language, the earlier it is introduced to you, the more likely you are to learn it well and make it a part of you.

Despite the emphasis I made on the importance of voting. Voter turn-out does not necessarily reflect civic engagement. Our teachers are always saying, “VOTE!” but if you don’t know what the issues are or anything about the candidates I don’t recommend it. An informed citizenry is the best citizenry.

The first step in solving a problem is to understand it. There are several reasons young people do not vote, some are the same reasons as their older non-voting counterparts, but some are unique as well. These young non-voters do not believe their vote will make a difference, they believe all politics is corrupt, and they believe politics is elitist and does not affect them. Of course, there are countless other contentions, but these will be these are the primary ones.

So, how can we get young people involved in the democratic process? Simply talking to young people with an open mind is the best approach. Hear their complaints and do not try to tell them what to think, but allow them to draw their own conclusions. Don’t forget to let them know that they can make a difference and their vote does count. The rest of us know it’s true, but they don’t seem to. Finally, don’t give up on them. Sometimes all they need is a little nudge in the right direction.

 

 

“Is the System Broken?” PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 03 Oct. 2012. <http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/features/july-dec00/brokensystem.html>.

“Youth Voting.” CIRCLE. The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, 2010. Web. 30 Sept. 2012. <http://www.civicyouth.org/>.

15 Tips for Motivating Gen Y in the Workplace.” Anna Ivey Consulting. Savvy Grad LLC, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2012. <http://www.annaivey.com/workplace_advice/15_tips_for_motivating_gen_y_in_the_workplace>.

Republicans Deny Workers Right to Religious Freedom

On Sept. 12 the Missouri General Assembly overrode the veto on Senate Bill 749. The text of the bill can be found at this site.

 No employer, health plan provider, health plan sponsor, health care provider, or any other person or entity shall be compelled to provide coverage for, or be discriminated against or penalized for declining or refusing coverage for, abortion, contraception, or sterilization in a health plan if such items or procedures are contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of such employer, health plan provider, health plan sponsor, health care provider, person, or entity.

This is a clear violation of the freedom of religion. It forces workers to live by the religious view of their employer in order to support their families. There have been exceptions in past for religious institutions, but that is not the case this time. This clearly says “No employer.” This is a law that is plain and simply designed to give employers more control over the lives of workers. Why should employers have control over the religious life of the people that work for them?

The doctrine of the Episcopal Church (the Church of the majority of founding father and the National Cathedral) is “We affirm that issues such as birth control are matters of personal informed conscience.” But if an Episcopalian works for a business owned by a  Catholic they may now be required to live by their employer’s religious beliefs. This is clearly a violation of the worker’s rights! The only Party in Missouri that still believes workers have rights, is the Democratic Party.

How about you, do you think that your employer’s rights end where yours begin? If so you  should join us in standing up for the Middle Class.

 

The MO Legislative Session, You Be the Judge

THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION…YOU BE THE JUDGE

If the session’s top priority was indeed job creation, we fell short. There was work to be done, and we missed the mark in the substantive areas that will move Missouri forward: Job Creation, Education, Healthcare, Fair Employment Practices and Moving People out of Poverty.

Did you know that our public school teachers’ salaries rank 41st in the nation? While we did not cut dollars out of K-12 education, we did, underfund it by $439 million. We ignored the disparity between hold harmless and formula school districts, and while there was legislation to address it, we did not move it forward.

In the critical Turner v. Clayton decision, it was the courts, not the legislature, which took the next step.  The ruling essentially stated that the transfer of students from unaccredited districts to accredited districts would amount to an unfunded mandate which would violate the state’s Hancock amendment. The decision is subject to appeal.

Did you know our Missouri state workers’ salaries are ranked 50th in the nation? These are people who guard our prisons, work with seniors and the disabled and serve the public throughout our state. The legislature passed a much-needed 2% raise for those making up to $70,000 per year.

Health care provisions through the affordable care act are already creating savings for our seniors on prescription medications. Young adult children are allowed to remain on parents’ insurance plans until age 26.  Children and many adults with preexisting conditions are able to purchase insurance and receive needed treatment.  Healthy living is encouraged through access to no co-pay preventative services.  While many of us have been able to take advantage of these new provisions, the legislature continues to work to undermine these welcome changes.

This session, we have taken a stand that temporarily blocks our state from moving forward in the creation of an insurance exchange. Specifically, “no department, agency, instrumentality, or political subdivision of this state shall apply for, accept or expend federal moneys related to the creation, implementation or operation of a state-based health insurance exchange or a federally-facilitated health benefit exchange unless such acceptance or expenditure is authorized by statute or an appropriations bill.” (Read the bill) An exchange will provide transparency. As you buy your insurance, isn’t it reasonable and helpful to be able to compare coverage…provision to provision? The legislature turned away approximately $100 million over the next two years which was to be used to upgrade our computer systems. Why? Because the funding would come from the federal government! And, because it might aid in upgrading our systems to allow us to implement the Affordable Care Act Exchange Provision. I believe that this federally-designated 100 million dollars is our money…yours and mine. The legislature thumbed its nose allowing these hard-earned dollars, our hard-earned dollars, to go to some other place or some other state.

Attacks on workers through reduction of culpability for work-place discrimination and lessening protections for whistle blowers were bills that moved forward.  A female Senator who felt disrespected led an effort to end a bi partisan educational program helping women considering public service.  Either through inaction or infighting, little that deals with the needs of our times moved to the fore for the tough decision- making required in tough times. The flurry of bills that gained traction in the eleventh hour included many designed to score political and talking points for upcoming elections in a year beginning the decade of newly formed house and senate districts.

And so, the end of this session was welcome. Based upon where we have been, it is clear that we need to start anew.

From Jill Schupp

State Representative in the old District 82 and unopposed for re-election in the new 88th district.

And with that, nothing was accomplished.

And with that, nothing was accomplished. Last Day of the MO House Legislation Session 2012

 

 

Republican Myth No. 4: No matter how much the wealthy make, they shouldn’t pay more taxes; after all, they earned it.

Republican Myth No. 4: No matter how much the wealthy make, they shouldn’t pay more taxes; after all, they earned it.

America has already tried lower taxes and less regulation on the rich. It was called the 19th century; and as Dr. Phil would say, “How’d that work out for you?”

As one reporter wrote, “There should be a new bumper sticker for the conservatives, ‘Repeal the 20th century vote GOP’.”

The 19th century gave us sweat shops, child labor, treacherous working conditions, toxic dumping, and poverty for most Americans. Only when unions and the need for higher skilled workers required a fair share of the pie did the phrase ‘a high tide raises all boats’ have real meaning. Now the high tide is leaving most of us drowning on the shore.

As the graphs below will show the 21st century Robber Barons are doing very well. Between 1917 and 1981, the upper 10 percent took 31 percent of all the wealth created. By the Bush years, they took 100 percent. it is time for us to stand up to the Republican scam.

 

Income Growth 1917-1981

 

Income Growth 1917-1981Income Growth 1982-2000

 

Income Growth 2001-2008

 

 

 

 

Republican Lie No. 8: It is class warfare to tax the rich any more since almost 50 percent of Americans pay no income tax.

Why is it so many Americans do not pay income tax? It’s simple. Too many Americans are paid too little. Recent government statistics show an appalling 50 percent of American workers make less than $27,000 a year. How can they pay an income tax when they make so little?

Our minimum wage is approximately 33 percent of the average US wage. Canada’s minimum wage is 44 percent of their average wage, and most of Western Europe averages 50 percent or more. In addition, all the other countries have universal healthcare. 

In the past 35 years, the percent of all income for the upper 1 percent has gone from 8 percent to 24 percent. Meantime, in the last decade, the average wage for the rest of us has gone down $2500 per year. Yet, the wealth squeal like stuck pigs when Democrats asked they be taxed at the rate Newt Gingrich agreed to.

Americans would gladly pay their fair share of the taxes, if they got their fair share of the wages and had healthcare benefits.

Republicans only want to talk about income taxes, but the poor pay a disproportionate amount of their income to regressive taxes such as sales, gasoline, liquor, cigarette, and fees. In addition, the largest tax the poor pay is Social Security which is also regressive because of the cap.

Republicans, led by House Speaker Steve Tilley (R-Perryville), want to do away Missouri’s income tax, and replace it with a sales tax of over 11 percent.  Republicans say that will make us like Tennessee. God forbid!

In Tennessee, the top 1 percent only pays about 3 percent of their income to state and local taxes, while the bottom 60 percent pay almost 11 percent.  In addition, Tennessee has had higher unemployment than Missouri in 8 of the last ten years. Add the fact Tennessee’s average wage is over $2000 a year less than Missouri’s, and you can count your blessing you live in Missouri.

American owes its workers more than the party of the rich wants them to have.

Republican Lie No. 7: Obama is responsible for the increase in gas prices

Michele Bachmann blames the gas price increase on President Obama, and promises to lower gasoline prices to under $2 a gallon.  Once again Republicans throw out promises they cannot fulfill. Here is the truth:

  1. Exxon Mobil’s CEO testified to Congress that oil would be selling for $65 a barrel instead of $100, if it weren’t for commodities speculators. Obama’s every attempt to stop these speculators has been thwarted by oil owned politicians like Roy Blunt.
  2. Big Oil Blunt, as he is affectionately known, is one of the leading recipients of oil and gas money according to  Center for Responsive Politics. A large portion of that has come from the oil barons, the infamous Oklahoma Koch brothers.  The Koch brothers are funding all the anti-union fervor in Wisconsin. Remember Roy, we are judged by the company we keep.
  3.  With the U.S. using 26 percent of world oil production and having only 2.2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves, ‘drill, baby, drill’ is a misleading mind opiate for the misinformed. The longer we wait to develop alternative sources, the more dependant we become and the more severe the recession.
  4. Former Shell Oil executive John Hofmeister, author of “Why We Hate the Oil Companies”, points out that China is wisely buying up world oil fields in order to secure long-term price stability for their energy. Meanwhile, the US is subject to the volatile day to day fluctuations of commodities markets where a bomb going off in the Middle East one day can mean $10 more for a tank of gas the next day. Yet, any attempt to reform our ‘rich get richer’ trade system is a third rail to Ed Martin and the wrong wing Republicans beholding to Wall Street and the oil barons.

The world is fast approaching the end of fossil fuels.  The country that is first to implement a system of alternative energy will automatically become the world leader.

Republican Myth No.3: You will lose your doctor under a single payer plan.

In order for people to actually lose their doctor, the doctor would have to make fewer appointments during the day. So, the alarmist warning of poorer care and less access to your doctor is simply false.

Under a single payer plan, all that happens is a doctor’s staff would fill out a standard form adhering to set rules, instead of having to keep track of thousands of different insurance companies policies, each having their own unique set rules applying to their unique forms. 

Bottom line is, Americans are paying $300 billion a year to insurance companies that do nothing to improve our health.  America’s healthcare cost is 17 percent of our Gross National Product, and no other country’s healthcare cost is more than 11. The majority of that difference in expense is our archaic use of insurance companies as a delivery system.

We are the only country that makes a profit on people getting sick.

Government is not the enemy

Many on the Republican side are propagating the lie that government is the enemy. If so, we are on a path of self destruction because the government is us.

Ask the good citizens of devastated Joplin or flooded northwestern Missouri: Do they want the federal government to be inconsequential in rebuilding their lives? Or do they want any relief money they receive be off set by cutting needed aid to others, as Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) cruelly wants to do?

Construction in St. Charles County

Ask the over 10,000 construction workers hired in Missouri, as a result of the $500 million of Obama stimulus money: Are they against big government doing big things?

Ask the 600 thousand senior citizens of Missouri: Do they believe Congressman Todd Akin is right that Medicare is unconstitutional or agree with Texas Governor Rick Perry that Social Security is a ‘Ponzi scheme’?

Thirty years ago, Ronald Reagan famously said, “Government is not the solution to the problem. Government is the problem.”

Hypocritical words from a man who grew up in rural Illinois, where most of the farm community around him operated on government rural electrification programs. In addition, in Reagan’s youth, many of the nearby farmers lost their land to the cruel fluctuation of the commodities market. Today, small farmers are kept alive during hard times by the market calming effects of agricultural price supports put in place by the same government Reagan and Republicans rail against.

Even though Texas has over 3,200 miles of federally funded interstate highways, 16 major military bases, the Houston Manned Space Center, a 1000 mile border and coast line manned by federal forces, and need for federal assistance during drought and disasters,  Governor Ricky Perry wants to make the federal government “as inconsequential in our lives as possible”.

If we eliminated the hundreds of thousands of “inconsequential” government jobs added to Texas’s economy, Perry’s bragging about Texas job growth would ring hollow. 

What Americans want is not an inconsequential government. What Americans want is an efficient, caring government. Let’s not forget: Only government can truly do big things. We here in St. Charles realize this since the interstate highway system started right here.

Why are Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, of Arizona, ripping government interference while they drink water and light their homes from Hoover and Glenn Canyon dams? Much of the Southwest would be home only to Saguaro cactus and rattlesnakes if it weren’t for the federal government.

The same is true of all the Southern ‘states rights’ advocates who get their water, electric and flood control from the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Sara Palin’s hateful speech against the federal government is completely two-faced because no state takes a bigger federal handout than Alaska.  The federal government spends over $15,000 per person yearly to keep Alaska afloat. Remember the “bridge to nowhere”?

Or, what about government bashing politicians from the lightly populated arid  Western states? If it wasn’t for the federal government, there would be no interstate highway system traveling thousands of miles though states where jackrabbits out number people 100 to 1. Nor would there be farming in their almost desert-like land, if it weren’t for federal water reclamation and irrigation projects.

In addition, no American is safe from tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, massive fires, and other calamities. Whether in Joplin, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, or  Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, Americans look to the federal government for help in times of crisis.

The truth is: Government is us. It is our son or daughter defending us in a far-off land. It is our brother-in-law, the fireman, our brethren in church, the policeman, and our neighbor, the teacher. It is the mailman delivering a letter to us for only $.44 that the ‘man in brown’ wouldn’t touch for less than $7.00. It is the Boeing employee machining a part for an F-18 fighter, and the construction worker building our bridges, highways, and schools. All of them deserve more respect than the unwarranted criticism Republicans heap on them.

It is too easy for us to just blame someone else, like the Tea Party does. No personal responsibility on the behalf of Tea Party folks. Can it be Tea Partiers were deceived by George Bush and brought this recession on with their vote for the wrong man?

Americans need to take responsibility for the government they created.  In a nation that was born of compromise, it is our fault if we elect those who are completely unwilling to yield, even on the smallest point.

It is time we all became informed, active, and accountable. What America needs is good competent government – not a stubborn, my way or the highway Tea Party’s simplistic “no government”.