Staff Column: Rantings and Ravings
Our legislature has decided to make sure we refer to ourselves as a republic rather than a democracy.
In the Pledge of Allegiance we all pledge allegiance to our republic, not to a democracy. "Republic" is the proper description of our government, not "democracy."
A republic and a democracy are identical in every aspect except one. In a republic the sovereignty is in each individual person.
In a democracy the sovereignty is in the group. In other words in a democracy the majority rules. Fifty one percent gets to decide and the minority only gets a say if allowed by the majority.
So I do agree that we should be acting as a republic, but I have to say, it is beginning to feel more and more like our elected officials act more like a democracy every day.
After the elections we heard that working together would be the way to get things done. But we are right back to the old "do it my way or else" hostage mentality. Our government is going to shut down in a few days because of this.
How is this helping us get back on our feet as a country?
We are in a budget crisis all over the country. Both state and federal budgets are stressed and our elected officials are right in trying to find a way to put us back in the black. But we did not get here overnight and it was not a result of just the last two years.
I hear murmuring that state workers are paid too much and have it better than the private sector. Yet studies have shown for the most part the rank and file state worker are below their comparable counterpart in the private sector for wages.
As in many areas of both public and private jobs, there are excessive salaries at the top. And yet when questioned about that, we hear the same mantra, "We have to pay them well or we will lose them to some one else."
About once a year I go and ask my boss for a raise. I have not had one since right after I started. But as much as he recognizes my worth he is unable to honor my request and I stay anyway because I like what I do.
I respect his position and understand that the money is not there because he has had to endure pay cuts when the profits go down. I have not.
I also would not want him to give me a raise to keep me if it meant he would have to cut salaries of anyone else to do so. Or to cut job positions to make sure I got a raise.
Our elected officials tell us all we have to tighten our belts, yet none of them have put forth legislation to cut their pay and benefits in the manner they are claiming that others must do.
Is the Wisconsin governor giving his state any part of his salary or benefits to help balance the budget? Did they in California? Have any of our federally elected officials like Hatch or Chaffetz stepped up ans volunteered to support such legislation for themselves?
Yes we are a republic and that means we all have a say in how our government runs. One thing was loud and clear during the last two elections and that was to quit the partisan stand-offs and get things done.
Are those voices in our republic not being heard?