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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Common Sense Politics- Yes or No Referenda

When voters are asked to choose on a particular ballot measure, they're offered only two options. The options are either "Yes" or "No".  One choice only and ambiguity is never allowed.

Yet, many partisan politicians would rather create a "none of the above" vote, rather than provide common sense votes on issues we elect them to decide.  

Recently, however, two high profile state governors finally faced down nonsensical political opposition.  Governor Cuomo of New York State spoke eloquently against gun violence while New Jersey Governor Chris Christie openly criticized leaders of his own Republican party leadership in Washington DC because they ignored his state's urgent need for emergency federal aid.

Cuomo said: "No one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer, End the madness now!"  These words are in the face of zealous supporters of the Second Amendment, who support gun owners rights, without regard for any measures to protect the public health from assault weapons massacres.

A disaster relief bill to provide emergency funds to devastated New Jersey victims of Hurricane Sandy was left on the table when Speaker of the House John Boehner left Washington DC after the fiscal cliff deal was voted. Although Governor Christie called Boehner, four calls were not returned.  

Christie didn't put up with this rude arrogance.  Rather, during the Governor's annual state of the state address in Trenton, NJ, Christie said Boehner and his Republican caucus bore sole responsibility and 'blame" for continued suffering of Hurricane Sandy victims.

Americans respond positively to frank spoken politicians when they are speaking in support of the people.  Unfortunately, many politiicians are fearful of speaking truth to the power. They ingratiate themselves with inflluential lobbyiests or powerful political leaders. 

Many politicians oppose gun control regulations because industry lobbyists offer generous contributions to politicians who vote in support of unbridled Second Amendment rights.

Yet, it shouldn't take extraordinary situations like tragic gun massacres, or a category four hurricane hitting New Jersey to empower political leaders to call for common sense political solutions to urgent human needs involving public health and safety.

Woefully lacking are the "Yes" and "No" common sense politics in our nation's widening partisan divide. 

Although Americans elect political leaders who best represent local or regional opinions and points of view, the responsibilities of statesmanship requires those elected to exhibit common sense in the face of growing public cynicism of government gridlock. 

We need more referenda style politicians who understand how to promulgate common sense politics.

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