In a democracy, the people must be included, not excluded, from public discourse and legislative deliberations.
Thursday morning, December 15, 2016
For the past two days, I have been at the North Carolina General Assembly so that I could watch the people’s business being conducted. Instead of deliberating and taking action openly, the legislature adjourned and rescheduled almost every session within a few minutes and retreated into their caucus.
I tried to attend the GOP caucus (because it seemed that was where the real business was taking place) so that I could watch that hearings, deliberations, and actions of our state business being conducted. I was not allowed in to observe, or try to talk to anyone in the GOP caucus. I was not even allowed to send in a note.
After two days of NO real deliberations or hearings in either the NC House or NC Senate, suddenly there are dozens of bills filed at the very last minute (under a new set of rules that they JUST enacted).
Where were these bills deliberated and drafted?
It was NOT on the House floor. I was there, and I did not see any of them discussed.
It was NOT on the Senate floor. I was there, and I did not see any of them discussed.
It would take a lot of time to write all of those bills. Where was it being done?
In a Democracy, the PEOPLE are part of the process. In North Carolina, it is public policy that the people’s business be conducted openly– not in a clandestine secret political society.
The people of North Carolina must come together and demand to participate in the public process of governance.
We must also work together to elect new state legislators next year. Almost 41% of the state legislators ran unopposed in this past election. No wonder they believe that they are above and beyond the law – no one is holding them accountable.
This must change. WE ARE THE PEOPLE. We need to remember the foundational principles of democracy – free and fair elections, independently drawn districts, and open deliberations with the people when it comes to creating the laws that govern us all.
The power of a government is derived from the consent of the people.
The North Carolina state legislature no longer has our consent.