By: Rob Jones
“The equal rights of man, and the happiness of every individual, are now acknowledged to be the only legitimate objects of government. Modern times have the signal advantage, too, of having discovered the only device by which these rights can be secured, to wit: government by the people, acting not in person, but by representatives chosen by themselves, that is to say, by every man of ripe years and sane mind, who contributes either by his purse or person to the
support of his country.” – Thomas Jefferson to A. Coray, 1823
“We of the United States are constitutionally and conscientiously democrats. We consider society as one of the natural wants with which man has been created; that he has been endowed with faculties and qualities to effect its satisfaction by concurrence of others having the same want; that when, by the exercise of these faculties, he has procured a state of society, it is one of his acquisitions which he has a right to regulate and control, jointly indeed with all those who have concurred in the procurement, whom he cannot exclude from its
use or direction more than they him.” – Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, 1816
I love being able to research, read, and understand our Founders, by their own words. As the above quotes hint, todays column is about Self Governing, our responsibilities, and ultimately the responsibility of our elected officials to represent us, not themselves. I got the idea for this column from a news story about WV Senator Joe Manchin, who says that he’s “keeping his options open for 2016″. He is considering another run for Governor of WV. Manchin previously served one full term and part of a second, before leaving for the senate.
Jonathon Kott, Manchin’s Communications Director, said Thursday, “Senator Manchin loved being governor of West Virginia, and has made no secret of his frustration with partisan gridlock and dysfunction of Washington. He is fully committed to his job as senator and fights every day to improve the lives of the people he is honored to represent. Senator Manchin is leaving all his options open for 2016, and will continue to look for the best way to bring common sense to Washington.”
Senator Manchin was elected to the senate seat of long time WV Senator Robert C. Byrd, also D-WV, in 2010, after Sen. Byrd’s death, earlier that year. Open Congress, part of the Sunlight Foundation, released a recent analysis of votes, found that 41 of 51 Democratic senators listed, voted with the Democratic majority at least 90 percent of the time. Manchin ranked at the bottom of the list, with 72.8 percent of the time. Manchin has gained exposure on the national stage for his willingness to cross party lines, which has become rarer in the increasingly polorized senate. He consistantly expresses interest in developing better communications and cooperation between Democratic and Republican members of the senate.
On the surface, 72.8 percent might not seem like a bad thing, but think about that. Manchin still voted with the Democratic majority three fourths of the time! The only real help he’s offered the Mountain State, with his votes, has come from votes relating to the coal industry, which he knows not only gets him elected, but is vital the economy of West Virginia. Manchin has sided with the Obama administration on important issues, such as Obamacare and gun control. Issues that West Virginians don’t take well and showed our displeasure with, by a landslide vote against Obama for his second term, voting instead for a convicted felon serving time in a Texas prison.
Manchin talks a great game. He smiles on cue, shakes the right hands, and says what he needs to, to get re-elected. He’s a politician, plain and simple. I, for one, don’t buy into all of that. I’m not concerned with playing the game. I’m concerned with real issues facing the people of the Mountain State. My main two issues are Obamacare and gun control. Two issues that Manchin has repeatedly sided with the Democratic majority.
On Obamacare, Manchin expressed how the Affordable Care Act would help the poor and seniors of West Virginia. Talk’s cheap, Senator Manchin and that idea has turned out to be great for the poor, who have yet another handout at the wallet of the working man, in “free” health insurance. First of all, it’s only “free” for those taking the hand outs, while the rest of us have to work harder to pay the increased premiums for our own insurance, which is inferior to the coverage that the majority of us had before, as well as add to the coffers to pay for the insurance of others. Good idea for the people of WV? I don’t think so, Sen. Manchin.
On gun control, Sen. Manchin came out in support of harsher gun control laws, until the people of the Mountain State expressed our anger, disappointment, unhappiness, and the loss of his coveted triple A rating from the NRA. Miraculously, Manchin then back peddled, changing his original statement, looking to save face with his voters at home and the NRA. Always the politician, but rarely for the will of his constituents.
Unfortunately, Manchin, as with most of our elected “royalty”, ignore the people. They all have forgotten that they work for us. We do not work for them. We elect these men and women to be our collective voice. To speak for us, yes, not themselves. Democrat or Republican is meaningless here. Once elected, our representatives are supposed to speak our minds, our wants, our desires. Even if those things are against their party lines. We are supposed to have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. What we have morphed into is government, for the people, by the government. To hear these elected representatives talk, we should be happy that they decide for us all. We should thank them for deciding what’s best for us. Sorry, but I say not only “NO!”, but “HELL NO!!”. I’ve lived forty-three years as free man. I eat what I want, speak my mind, help my fellow man as I can, and work hard to earn a living and raise my children. For those forty-three years, I’ve not needed any extra input from Uncle Sam, nor, at this point, do want any. I’m fine as I am, thanks.
For Washington, D.C., my thinking is frowned upon. The federal government now wishes to wedge themselves into more and more of my life, more and more of my children’s lives. Each of us were raised with the values, morals, and beliefs of our family. We grew up, had families, and pass those values, morals, and beliefs on to our children. For many of us Mountaineers, that boils down to God, Country, Family, and Friends. We were raised to believe in God. We were raised to love America and support and protect her and the red, white, and blue. We were raised to love and protect our families and friends. Government has no need to tell us these things, spy on us hard working men and women, or accuse us of being guilty until proven innocent. I’m no domestic terrorist. I’m no right wing extremist. I’m no racist. Nor are any of you. We’re men and women who want a better America for our children and grandchildren. Nothing more, nothing less. God Bless You! God Bless West Virginia! God Bless America!
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