Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Yesterday, fed up with an elections process driven by money-hungry special interests and the elected officials which that process produces, more that 1,000 Wisconsinites came together for the first People's Legislature. Folks from across the political spectrum assembled just a few miles from the state capitol in Madison to demonstrate their interest in improving democracy in the state and to brainstorm about ways to do it.
Organized by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, FightingBob.com, and the Center for Democratic Action, the event sought to attract more attendees than the number of official lobbyists in the state (803). With that mission accomplished, the participants and organizers next decided upon an agenda that includes campaign finance reform, combining the state elections and ethics agencies into a single politically independent entity, and reform of the redistricting process.
While the group's ultimate success in pursuing its agenda will probably not be known for some time, yesterday's meeting alone is a great first step.
When judges have any kind of conflict of interest with a case, they must recuse themselves from hearing the case. However, when it comes to the case for campaign finance or electoral reform, our legislators are not only the interested parties to the case, but they serve as judge and jury as well. As we all know full well that our state legislators and congressional representatives are not going to recuse themselves from deciding whether the system by which they got elected is in need of repair, it is up to the American people to demand a system which honors and abides by the principles upon which nearly all of us were raised.
Yesterday's meeting in Wisconsin is a great example of citizens coming together to do just that.