Tag Archives: Democratic

Cut to the Chase: The Initiative 42 Bottom Line

Think about this for a moment:

If I had signed a contract with you 18 years ago for your services or products for $100.00 per year, you would expect to be paid $100.00 per year for that contract. Now suppose I had only paid you $100.00 a year twice in the past 18 years. For 14 of the remaining 16 years, I decided all I was going to pay you was $40.00 each year although the contract called for $100.00 each year. As you became more and more agitated that the contract was not being honored, I finally paid you $50.00 and $60.00 respectively for the past two years. On top of that, I boasted to everyone who would listen that in the last two years I had put more money into your business than in any time in history. Never mind, I short-changed you hundreds of dollars in 16 of the past 18 years that impacted your ability to attract quality employees, service your equipment, and repair your facilities. How well would that sit with you? If you had been consistently short-changed the money you were promised, what would you do? Wouldn’t you seek relief from the courts? Isn’t it a function of the courts to resolve such contractual malpractice?

The representation above illustrates exactly the bottom line for Initiative 42! In 1997, the Mississippi Legislature made a law (a promise) to fund Mississippi public school education based on the MAEP (Mississippi Adequate Education Program) formula, but they only honored the law twice over the next 18 years. I dare say, there are few people in this state or any other state who would have exercised the patience Mississippi educators exercised during those 18 years. In the business world and as private citizens, if someone refused to honor their monetary commitment to us, we would have sought relief through the courts long ago. However, educators did not because they kept hoping and praying the state Legislature would do the right thing and honor their commitment. Of course, they never did! So, since they repeatedly failed to honor their commitment to fund education, what recourse did legislators leave citizens and educators other than to go through the initiative process and seek relief through the courts? The legislators and their supporters can cry the citizens and educators are trying to circumvent the power of the Legislature by taking the funding issue to court all they want, but the truth is the initiative process is simply taking the next logical step to resolve a problem the Legislature created.

Initiative 42 is the result of the Mississippi Legislature’s failure to do its job! If legislators had honored their commitment (the law), there would not be a need for Initiative 42. But, year after year they have refused to honor the law! Governor Bryant can claim all he wants that historic amounts of money have been placed in education the past two years, but he cannot deny state legislators have failed to honor the law and fully fund MAEP during the same two years as well as in all but two of the preceding 16 years. They simply have not! As a result, nearly 200,000 Mississippi citizens signed a petition to get Initiative 42 on the ballot in a grassroots effort to get state legislators to honor their commitment to education. Even so, citizens and educators are hoping, even when Initiative 42 passes, that the legislators will do the right thing and honor the funding law rather than go to court. With Initiative 42, legislators will have the option of doing the right thing by following the law and fully funding the MAEP formula, or they can opt to ignore the law as they have done year after year and choose to send the funding issue to court. Under Initiative 42, whether a chancery court judge hears the issue or not is completely up to the state legislators.

Remember this, if you had a contract with someone to pay you for services, supplies or maintenance you provided, you would expect to be paid for those services. If that someone consistently refused to pay, eventually you would have no other recourse but to seek relief in the courts to get your money. Why shouldn’t school kids and teachers be entitled to the same relief? Also, you should think about this. What would happen if you refused to pay your state income taxes or ignored the income tax law completely? You can bet money your state government would not hesitate to fine you and drag you into court. So, if citizens must honor the law or face being taken to court, why shouldn’t their elected officials be expected to honor the law or face going to court as well? It is time we stopped hiding our heads in the sand while the Legislature picks and chooses the laws they want to honor. It’s time to pass Initiative 42, and make the Mississippi Legislature accountable to honoring the laws they pass.

JL

©Jack Linton, October 25, 2015

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Under the Dome: CBS’s Thinly Disguised Look at the Republican Party

I intended to watch the recent Republican debate, but instead I watched Under the Dome, a science fiction television show about a town trapped under a mysterious dome. From what I have read and heard about the debate though, I didn’t miss much since it served little purpose other than to confirm what most people knew or at least suspected about the Republican Party – the GOP is a fragmented mess. Of course, the Democratic Party with controversy constantly swirling around Hillary Clinton and the Party not knowing how to take Bernie Sanders at this point is not much better off. Things may change for both parties over the next few months, but for now I would give the edge to the Democrats in the next presidential election. Unless the Republican Party gets firmly behind a candidate soon, come convention time it may be too late. As of now, the chances of a Republican being sworn into office in 2017 are about as good as the chances for the science fiction television show, Under the Dome, becoming reality – slim and none.

Speaking of Under the Dome, if you watch the show, you have no doubt noticed the show’s parallels to the current state of affairs in our country, especially in regards to the Republican Party. It is really uncanny! In the television show, a giant bubble or dome has dropped out of the sky over the town of Chester’s Mill, thereby isolating the town from the rest of the world. In the real world, apparently a giant dome also dropped over the Republican Party a few years back, which effectively isolated it from the rest of the world, especially the people the Party claims to serve. Like the people of Chester’s Mill, the Republican Party is suffocating in a world of floating ideologies and in-fighting. Of course, as is the case in Chester’s Mill, the level of incompetence in leadership is at the heart of the pugilism.

There is no clear leadership in Chester’s Mill or the Republican Party although Chester’s Mill and the GOP are both swamped with “wanna be’s.” Due to inability to make decisions, weak leadership skills, or character flaws that often border on the absurd, front runners for leadership positions in both Chester’s Mill and the Republican Party can never quite get it together and take control due to their often acidic, corrosive leadership styles. This does not mean the Democrats don’t suffer from some of the same issues, but at least with them it seems to be confined to two or three knuckleheads and not necessarily the whole Party. However, the most striking parallel between Under the Dome and the Republican Party is that the people in Chester’s Mill and the Republican Party have been duped into believing their leaders care more about them than they actually do. In TV land’s Chester’s Mill and the Republican Party, the people are simply pawns to be manipulated at the will of an alien presence.

The idea of an alien presence within the Republican Party is where some might argue the parallels end, but this point may actually be the strongest of the parallels. In Chester’s Mill there is the ever present alien nemesis lurking in the background thwarting whoever attempts to step forward as a true leader and savior of the town. The Republicans, on the other hand, also have an evil alien nemesis making life difficult for them – themselves. The present day Republican Party may be one of the most self-destructive parties in history. They work with no one; apparently not even within their own ranks! They do not understand that compromise for the sake of the people is not all bad, but on that point there is room under the dome for Democrats as well. “My way or the highway” attitudes are stifling both political parties and suffocating the country. In American politics today, “people over party” is an alien concept.

Of course, there are those who will take exception to want I am saying, but when was the last time you actually heard a politician, Democrat or Republican, lay out a plan of action to move our nation forward rather than point fingers of blame. Okay, I get it! The socialist ideas of the Democrats are driving our country into the ground, and the rhetoric of Republican anarchists is tearing our country apart! Points to both sides! Now, which Party is going to take the lead and provide a legitimate platform to show the people what they plan to do about America’s problems? Or, will both parties continue to throw insults and blame at each other and try to win the presidency with a salty tongue? My best bet is that both Democrats and Republicans will continue to operate from under their respective domes.

JL

©Jack Linton, August 11, 2015

God didn’t Entrust Chickens with Brains

Another election has come and gone, and as usual there were few surprises. As I watched the results on television, I pondered if anything would change, or would there be more of the same disappointment that has come to be associated with elected leadership. I wondered if the newly elected people had the political savvy and commitment to make a difference both locally and in Washington, but what I truly hoped and prayed for was that at least a few of them had common sense. Common sense in the political arena is a commodity that sometimes falls in short supply, so anyone elected with a little sound unbiased judgment would be a welcomed addition to the political scene. Granddaddy Floyd and my friend, Dr. Earl Jubilee Wilson (Dr. Juby as he preferred to be called) were men of common sense. They believed politicians were likely decent people with honorable convictions who were plagued by questionable politics, and as a result, their convictions and political actions did not always align with one another. Both men agreed that when it came to elections, all anyone could do was pray, and even then it did little good to have high hopes.

When it came to politics, Granddaddy Floyd and Dr. Juby loved to share their opinions through observations they respectively called Rubber Monkeys and Precepts. Although Dr. Juby’s Precepts may have had a somewhat more scholarly footprint than Rubber Monkeys, the two were basically the same – observations or musings intended to provide insight or influence on a specific topic such as politics. Each man had an uncanny ability to sum up almost any topic in a few concise words that often gave a voice to what those around them were thinking or believed. Therefore, as I began writing this piece, I realized there was little I could add about elections or politics that they had not already said much more succinctly. For example, Granddaddy Floyd always said, “Instead of looking to politics for guidance and answers, we should be trusting in God and common sense for guidance and answers.” Dr. Juby echoed those sentiments when he said, “God didn’t entrust chickens with brains, and he didn’t waste common sense on politicians.” Not exactly rocket science, yet wise words spoken by men who loved God, family, and country.

The Political Rubber Monkeys and Precepts of Granddaddy Floyd and Dr. Juby

  1. The road to getting elected in the South is through the pulpit.      Granddaddy Floyd
  2. If the truth offends you, you may be a politician. Lack of familiarity often offends.     Dr. Juby
  3. The average six year old often displays more common sense than the majority of elected officials. Many politicians would rather poop in the sand box than share with the other party.    Granddaddy Floyd
  4. Politics are filled with personal and party agendas; the agenda of the people is at best always on the back burner.  Dr. Juby
  5. Politicians spend ten percent of their time doing what they were elected to do and ninety percent of their time trying to figure out who they need to please next to get reelected or to be in line for a lucrative appointment.   Granddaddy Floyd
  6. Seems lately the party (Democratic or Republican) is a hell of a lot more important than the issues, what is right or wrong, or how we can fix America.   Dr. Juby
  7. Political victory in the South often boils down to the candidate who best beats the bushes in the name of Jesus, the second amendment, cornbread, and wrestling.   Granddaddy Floyd
  8. When you refuse to listen to or work with a man because he is labeled a Democrat or Republican, there is something seriously wrong with the system.  Dr. Juby
  9. I have never understood how it is the epitome of patriotism for young men to give their lives to ensure American freedoms such as free speech, but it is unpatriotic to use that blood stained freedom to speak freely against the loss of young lives in the name of wars run by politicians, old men and corporations.  Granddaddy Floyd
  10. The first thing I’d do if I was president is turn off the lights in Washington and send everyone home until such time they can agree to put their selfish agendas aside and play productively together.  Dr. Juby
  11. The politics of the South are often conceived and Baptized between the pews, on the steps, and in the parking lot of the church house.  Granddaddy Floyd
  12. When party platforms become sacred cows above compromise and the best interests of the people, the party system has outlived its usefulness to the people and should be abolished.   Dr. Juby

Truly these are the observations of wise men. Whether or not you agree with Granddaddy Floyd and Dr. Juby, their words ring with truth. Like the great American patriot, Patrick Henry, they were suspicious of politicians, especially those who ignored or compromised the rights and liberties of common men. Patriots such as Henry, envisioned elections as a protection and means to purge the political system from the hypocrisy of those elected officials who failed to embrace the common good of the people. Unfortunately, today’s elections rarely provide such protection. Today’s elections are more in tune with decaying party politics than the common good of the people. As a result instead of regularly purging our political system as the founders of this nation intended, votes are more likely to be cast for the party than for the common good of all people. Consequently, little ever changes from election to election, and parties grow stronger and stronger while moving further and further away from the people.

JL

©Jack Linton, November 9, 2014