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Op-Ed

Respecting the Constitution

James Madison wrote in Federalist 57: “The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust.” Hmm. Is there any politician running for office today who can meet Madison’s challenge and therefore be worthy of my vote?

Well, here’s what P. J. O’Rouke thinks of politicians in his new book, “Don’t Vote — It Just Encourages the Bastards,” “They are beggars at the door of accomplishment, thieves of livelihood, envy-coddling tax lice applauding themselves for giving away other people’s money. They are muck-dwelling bottom-feeders growing fat on the worries and disappointments of the electorate. They are the ditch carp in the great river of democracy.” Ouch!

Then there is the late great George Carlin who flips the, ‘If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain,” argument on its head. “Where’s the logic in that?”, Carlin asks, “If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote — who did not even leave the house on Election Day — am in no way responsible and have every right to complain about the mess that YOU created.”

So, out of respect for the Constitution, not to mention O’Rouke on the right and Carlin on the left, I won’t be voting for any politicians this year. Instead, I’ll be home writing a letter of apology to James Madison.

Published in the Joplin Globe on October 15, 2010

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