Friday, December 30, 2011

A Independence Declaration for 2012

As I look back over 2011, I have found that like most years, there was plenty of good and a bit of bad news.  I am hopeful that 2012 will be better for Laurel, Maryland, and for America.

As I reflect on 2011's national and regional challenges, I can't help but put some of the blame on our current lawmakers at the national and state levels.  Individually, they seem to be for the most part, good, upstanding citizens.  But collectively, they live in a corrosive system designed to turn even the strongest among them from the practice of statesmanship to the depths of partisanship.  A few examples:

-- Redistricting debacles, where the good of the region is sacrificed to partisan gerrymandering.  See PA and MD for examples from both parties.
-- Budget impasses brought on by partisan posturing.  See U.S. Congress.
-- Ever hardening partisan demands to not compromise with the other side while chronic and acute state and national problems continue to plague us.
-- Party-line voting is now the norm and expected.

It's become clear to me that my only recourse is to send a shock to the political system.  An action that shakes up the system and demonstrates for all observers that priorities must change.   This action must be seen as, not a turn away from any current party in power, but rather a condemnation of the practice of partisanship itself.

So I have decided to declare my independence and, regardless of affiliation, I will vote strictly anti-incumbent.  If a candidate now holds any partisan office, I declare my vote for their challenger without exception. 

If we are successful in this strategy and incumbents lose their seats in large numbers, I'm convinced that our anti-party message will be loudly received.   I am also convinced that if we stick together, we can break free from the evils of partisanship and therefore, I offer the following Declaration.

A Declaration of Independence From Partisan Candidates

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for People to dissolve the political bands which have connected them for far too long to their wayward Lawmakers, and to re-commit to those priorities that put the welfare of the People over the welfare of any political party.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments and their elected Lawmakers are instituted to serve the People, not political parties.  That whenever any Form of Government becomes so destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish their services, and to select new Lawmakers who demonstrate the following:
-- To hold the rights, safety and good of the People over the needs of any political party, or even their own elected or appointed offices.

-- To work together in good faith, in a spirit of compromise and collaboration that encourages the broadest, most innovative and most lasting solutions to the myriad difficult problems of the People.
-- To spend substantially more time working for the good of the People than working for their own reelection or any other partisan priority.

-- To draw representative district boundaries for the good of the People living within them and without regard to party priorities, or their own reelections.

-- To ensure that they put their legislative duties and imperatives ahead of any other work and that they vow to complete their official tasks before they adjourn for any reason.

-- To promise to be fully transparent and immediately disclose fully and publicly; any and all meetings with, formal or informal requests from, and any form of resources provided by any person, organization or other group with direct or potential legislative matters before them.

We, therefore, the People of these United States of America, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People, solemnly publish and declare ourselves free from the corrosive power of partisan politics and we pledge to remove all Lawmakers who have not demonstrated that they hold the needs and dreams of the People over the prerogatives of party.

To join the cause, just acknowledge your independence in the comments section.  


Anonymous said...

Well done, Rick. Worth passing along to others. Karen Lubieniecki

Eric Henning said...


Eric Henning said...

oops, that wasn't actually eric, it was me, Betsy. Not that he would disagree.

Dana Schwartz said...

I've written to Hoyer at least 3 times to hear his explanation of his support for the redistricting, each time checking the "Response Requested" box, but never getting a return email. Has anyone ever heard directly from him?

Rick Wilson said...

Not me.

Joe Murchison said...

Let's get down to brass tacks. Should Donna Edwards be bounced out for partisan politics or kept on because she sides with People over party? Would Glenn Ivey be better or worse from the partisan standpoint? And how about Ben Cardin? In or out?

Anonymous said...

I agree, the incumbents must lose their jobs, both as a comment on their poor performance and to send the message of independence you so aptly stated.

Rick Wilson said...


You are turning the question back into the trap of personality and the horse race. That masks the real problem. My beef is not with the personalities but rather with the hyper-partisan system they must work within after they are elected. Does it really matter who is elected as long as they are beholden to party priorities?

I want to eliminate or at least diminish partisanship. The only way I have found that might shake the system is to throw out every incumbent regardless of personality or party. Then maybe in the future, good people like either Ms. Edwards, or Mr. Ivey can get some work done for the people not just for their party.

So my vote will be against the partisan system and therefore against all incumbents. Until we fix the system, good candidates will continue to be corrupted by the parties.

Anonymous said...

Where is Ben Barnes in all this? Would love to hear him respond

Holly H said...

So by implying that this is something you won't compromise on - (only voting for the "other" candidate), it seems that you may be perpetuating the stubborn frame of mind of those you want to overturn for their unwillingness to compromise; "this is my position and I won't budge from it regardless of circumstance or common sense." I think there are quite a few members of Congress who are perfectly willing to compromise and know how to do it, but if you have a number who refuse, it makes true negotiation impossible. I realize you want to make a statement.

Rick Wilson said...


I get your point. But I respectfully disagree with you. I believe that we are in a crisis. Our lawmakers have allowed partisan bickering to dominate their work. We have stalemate, not because our lawmakers are bad people, but because they are in an abusive system and no one of them is powerful enough to break the back of the parties. Am I uncompromising? Perhaps but what if our founding fathers, compromised and said that King George and Parliament deserved another chance? Where would we be? No, I believe that only the voters are powerful enough to send this message that we condemn partisanship. And we need for the message to be unambiguous.

Anonymous said...

Evoking the Founding Fathers? This is the same sort of heated rhetoric commonly used by the Tea Party. What are we left with?

Thinking 'system' is too broad -- where is the pragmatism behind this thinking? We need to blame INDIVIDUALS... why are we afraid to call a spade a spade, and assign blame to guys like Ben Barnes? GRW, what if the alternative to the incumbent is some frothing, irrational ether addict?

Ben Barnes: I am calling you out.

Mike McLaughlin said...

I agree with Rick that we are at crisis level. Partisanship has led not only to unproductive bickering. It has created power structures detrimental to the legislative process.

I also agree that it is not personalities but the system that corrupts. Well-intentioned people who run for office to serve the people end up serving the party first. With Congress in particular, the spectacle we’re witnessing is partisanship reaching such a fervor that they seem completely overcome; the “cult of political party” rules their thinking, and they become incapable of pretending otherwise. They drink the partisanship-is-power Kool-Aid and are lost.

Will a “vote them all out” strategy be a powerful enough message to change the behavior of the next group and ultimately fix the system? I don’t know.

Rick Wilson said...

Mike, it may not work. I agree. But what else can we do? Keep pretending that the partisan gangs won't corrupt another good person?

Joe and anonymous want to make it about personalities. That in my opinion just plays into the party's spin.

Rick Wilson said...

Mike, it may not work. I agree. But what else can we do? Keep pretending that the partisan gangs won't corrupt another good person?

Joe and anonymous want to make it about personalities. That in my opinion just plays into the party's spin.