Leland Conway on good government

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By Leland Conway

Recent surveys show a disturbing trend toward a politically ignorant American electorate. An exit poll on Election Day found that a majority of voters were uneducated on many of the most important issues facing America. Unfortunately for us, this is a terrible time to hand the future of our nation and our communities over to ignorance.

Kentucky is facing an enormous economic crisis. This is not altogether different from any of the other 49 states as our nation suffers from the worst recession since the Second World War. As clouds gather, our legislators are preparing to converge on Frankfort with one thing on their minds – money. They are absolutely determined to find new ways to “raise revenue.” Translation: Higher taxes.

Yet we cannot blame our legislators alone. Sure, they are en masse an ignorant group which lacks significant leadership. But ultimately we must look to ourselves to find responsibility for the mistakes that they are no doubt about to make. We elected them.

During the election cycle you heard many pleas to “get out the vote.” They claimed that voting is our most precious right as Americans. If that is so, then why do we treat this precious right the way we do? Why do we fail to recognize that every American right is comprised of two ingredients, the one being the liberty to do a thing, the other being the responsibility to do it to the best of our ability?

In the early days only property owners could vote. Called “Freeholders”, it was assumed that those who had carried the responsibility of owning land and making it productive would also be those who were most affected by government and would likely be educated when voting. Times have changed, and I am not advocating that only land owners should be allowed to vote, but I am in favor of some sort of litmus test that proves that anyone who is pulling the lever at least has some idea of the consequences of their decision.

For the time being I am willing to admit that the political climate doesn’t bear out the possibility of creating a voter test, so we must deal with this by controlling that which is in our power to control. Those of us who are concerned about limiting government and increasing liberty need to become far more active citizens. T o that end, I implore the readers of this column to become more engaged in civic life. From local to national it is imperative now more than ever that the citizens return to their rightful role of holding government accountable for its actions.

If you, like me, are becoming more disgusted by the bilge water coming from our elected leaders, then it is time to take a more active role in their decision making process. Close on the heels of an active citizenry follows good government. Or at least government as good as it can be.

A truly active citizen needs no assistance in communicating with their representative, so I won’t waste your time by giving you contact names and numbers. I will however point you to one very useful tool. All you need is internet access to keep a good eye on legislation being proposed in Frankfort this session. www.kyvotes.org is an extremely useful tool for keeping watch over the juveniles in the legislature – at least until we can replace them with someone who will better represent limited government and increased liberty.

In the current “bailout” climate, the voters may not be able to vote themselves a check, but we can bail out liberty by holding our leaders accountable.

Comments

  1. Bill Adkins says:

    There’s good news!! The electorate showed great intelligence in electing Democrats in November. They rated congress lower than Bush, and that’s saying something, and the cure was to remove Republicans from Congress and greatly increase the number of Democrats as well as elected a Democrat for president.

    See, it was the uneducated voters who saddled us with the Republicans in Congress and the now and forever Worst President in History, George W. Bush,all of whom worked hand in hand to deliver the current set of catastrophic circumstances.

    Yet the Republicans are stuck on one note from the only song in their hymnal, “Let there be no taxes, praise the lord.” But Americans have come to realize that the Republicans are selling a Ponzi scheme in that marketing ploy, a Ponzi scheme that makes Madoff look honest and virtuous.

  2. The question I would have for Mr. Conway is this; what evidence is there that 2008 voters are less astute than 1958 voters? It’s my experience that only a small fraction of the electorate stays informed on the issues and it has always been so. And even a good percentage of the “informed” portion of the electorate actually vote based on hyper-partisan nonsense as seen in the preceding Adkins post.

    The root problem isn’t so much the ignorance of the average voter as it is a political system which tends to attract and reward “professional politicians” who make a lifelong lucrative career out of pandering. To fix the system, this class of politician must be eliminated. Term limits is about the only tool that can move us in that direction. Unfortunately it is a much out of fashion concept these days.

  3. Bill Adkins says:

    Mr. Conway is far too young and uninformed to make the comparison between the 1958 voter and the 2008 voter, his branding the current electorate as ‘ignorant’ reflects his opinion of anyone who might disagree with him as ignorant.

    Now, evidence in your post, solarity, would brand you as ignorant because you make assertions without backing them up — for instance, why do you call my post ‘hyper partisan?’ After almost two decades of Republican extremism, are you offended because I criticize your disaster, the Republicans? Why? C’mon, take a stab at it. I’ll enjoy it. You won’t.

  4. Solarity,

    Bill is correct in his statement that I cannot compare 1958 voters with current voters because I wasn’t alive at the time. However, being young does not disqualify one from making a statement, comparison, or inferrence as long as you have knowledge of history and its context. Mr. Adkins can no more say that I can make such a comparison than he can say that he can make the same comparison of voters in 1776 – none of us were there.

    That being said, here is part of the evidence you seek on this election: http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.cfm?ID=1642

    I’m not trying to be partisan in using this link – I have no allegience to a party but rather to principle – but John Zogby is widely regarded as accurate if not leaning slightly to the left.

    While the poll points specifically to Obama supporters, I have observed the same tendencies of McCain and Bush voters. Mr. Adkins badly misses the point of my column because he cannot see outside his own partisan blinders.

    I never mentioned Bush in my article, nor am I aiming to bolster one political party over another. My point – irregardless of the education level of 1958 voters – is that we have a major disconnect in this country between those who govern at our pleasure, and those of us who elect them.

    I agree with you regarding term limits and advocate them often on my radio show. (News Radio 630 WLAP, everyday from 9AM-Noon.) But I am also determined to spread the message that we as an electorate need to take more initiative and be more involved in the process of government. The alternative to this is to allow government to continue on its current path without our consent. Does anyone here think that’s a good path?

    I realize Mr. Adkins is stuck on partisan – but he doesn’t seem to suggest anything to solve the catastrophic problems that we face. My proposal is that we take action and that we demand transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility – regardless of party. Is that such a bad solution as to warrent suck criticism from Mr. Adkins?

    Leland Conway

  5. Bill Adkins says:

    Now don’t crawfish on me, Leland – first you accuse the electorate of being ‘ignorant,’ implying that in the last election the ‘ignorant’ made a poor choice in electing Democratic legislators, governors and a president. I, on the other hand believe the choice of Democrats to replace the disasters of the Republican Party –to include doubling the national debt in 8 years, a likely $2 trillion deficit this year, diplomatic and military blunders across the board for years, the revelation that the myth of Republican superiority in national security is just that, a myth, corruption, the housing crisis, the Wall Street Crash that has stripped 57% of its value in the last twelve months – to be extremely intelligent, even a step towards self preservation. In my opinion ignorance would be demonstrated in a vote to stay the Republican course.

    Then you move to the subject of Kentucky, another poor example when you consider that Ernest Fletcher delivered a bankrupt Kentucky to Steve Beshear, even after Ernest traveled from one end of the state to the other handing out giant checks in an effort to bribe tax paying voters with their own tax dollars smelling of pork. Certainly after the Fletcher disaster revenue is high on the priority list.

    For Kentucky and the nation to progress we must recognize that the Republican Mantra of no taxes, fighting reasonable and intelligent revenue methods, i.e. Casinos and the cigarette tax, is the promotion of the failed trickle down theory that is in reality a Ponzi scheme marketed by the Republicans with the same result as Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, a lot of people get screwed.

    But curious is that you seem to promote the idea only those with property are responsible enough to vote. Now, who does that benefit? The haves to the detriment of the have nots. and note how the haves benefited when congress handed out $700 billion with hidden trillions coming from the fed. But see how the same congress and leaders attacked the working man in the form of the UAW, Mitch and company collaborating in a scripted play to destroy the union. Funny, Elaine Chao, Mitch’s wife, has been Labor Secretary for 8 years and presided over the greatest loss of jobs since the Great Depression – doesn’t Mitch have a conflict?- heckuva job.

    Certainly the have nots know that they should vote in their interests as well as the common interests, don’t you think?

    Voter tests were tried, btw, in the South.

    Anyway, the bums have been kicked out – Congress was rated lower than Bush – and that’s lower than whale manure – and the American people sought to cure that Congress of those low ratings by kicking out Republicans and replacing them with Democrats. Certainly now, as it was with Republicans when they had power and then they squandered it by screwing the pooch in so many ways, it is up to Democrats to pick up the ball and not fumble it the way Republicans did.

    Finally, as to your not being Partisan, come now – don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining. You didn’t have to mention Bush, he’s a root problem in the present day – to not discuss him in the mix is to ignore the large gorilla in the room. Americans voted against his third term (or rather Jimmy Carter’s fourth term) in not electing McCain and that sad second choice Palin.

    No, I didn’t miss your point, it was quite clear. And I think I addressed it just as clearly.

  6. Bill Adkins says:

    An aside not to do with politics – you’re from Arizona or at least lived there for awhile. Do you know my cousin, Hank and his family?

    http://www.nau.edu/library/speccoll/exhibits/traders/oralhistories/blair-h.html

  7. Anonymous says:

    No Bill, I don’t know you cousin, but my best friend works in social services (He’s a dyed in the wool liberal native American) in Tuba City. I almost went to NAU, but decided on Asbury instead. (Much to your chagrin I am sure)

    -Leland

  8. Anonymous says:

    By the way, my father helped build the Hospital in Kayenta. I’ve spent quite a lot of time in that area.

    -Leland

  9. Leland says “But I am also determined to spread the message that we as an electorate need to take more initiative and be more involved in the process of government. “

    Almost by definition anyone who routinely listens to talk radio is an informed individual. At least as compared to the vast majority who don’t. As a talk radio host you are, for the most part, preaching to the choir. I admire your desire to improve the electorate but, in keeping with the preaching theme, you haven’t a prayer. Some folks enjoy staying informed on public affairs and a lot of people don’t and thats just the way it is – and always has been.

    The world is full of reasonably intelligent people who are chock full of silly nonsense; folks who truly believe that the Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, et al, are going to lead us into prosperity for instance. They are delusional of course but their hatred for the other team is so vitriolic that they are incapable of seeing the incredible shortcomings of their own team. There is NOTHING you could ever do or say to cause them to re-evaluate their positions. Mostly because they have decided to support “their team”, right or wrong. THey have moved past reasoned analysis and debate and are essentially cheerleaders. Why bother to argue with them?

  10. Bill Adkins says:

    As opposed to what, Solarity? People like you? The world is full of reasonably intelligent people who are chock full of silly nonsense; folks who truly believe that the George Bush, Mitch McConnell, Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, John Boehner, et al, are going to lead us into prosperity for instance. They are delusional of course but their hatred for the other team is so vitriolic that they are incapable of seeing the incredible shortcomings of their own team. There is NOTHING you could ever do or say to cause them to re-evaluate their positions. Mostly because they have decided to support “their team”, right or wrong. THey have moved past reasoned analysis and debate and are essentially cheerleaders. Why bother to argue with them?

    Hmmm – when you look at it that way, I see.

  11. To the best of my knowledge I haven’t stated what team I’m on. Only that I’m not on the Reid, Pelosi team. Your rather kneejerk response to any criticism is a good example of exactly why debate is generally pointless.

  12. Bill Adkins says:

    I quote, “The world is full of reasonably intelligent people who are chock full of silly nonsense; folks who truly believe that the Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, et al, are going to lead us into prosperity for instance.” And you state,”To the best of my knowledge I haven’t stated what team I’m on. Only that I’m not on the Reid, Pelosi team.”

    Call it kneejerk if you wish, but if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and smells like a Republican, what am I to conclude?

    BTW, if you think debate is pointless, why are you here?

  13. Your world sure seems pretty black and white. Everyone is either a dem or a repub. Criticize one and you must be the other. I don’t care for vanilla ice cream. No doubt you would assume that I must therefore be a chocolate lover. One cannot have a rational debate with an individual who holds such ridiculous preconceptions.

  14. Bill Adkins says:

    Debating you is like trying to nail jello to a wall, solarity – you’re not a Democrat and you’re not a Republican. And now you bring up ice cream. Must be a Libertarian, or are you one of those who follow Lyndon LaRouche? Rational debate requires you to take a position – are you qualified to do so?

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