Disgusted and infuriated by the way our alleged stewards of the land have savaged Florida’s environment, Hometown Democracy has sponsored Amendment 4, which, in their words,
“will give voters oversight control over how their community will grow and evolve, by requiring that those changes to your local master plan for future land development (comprehensive plan) that are approved by your city or county commission must then go to the voters for final approval or rejection in a referendum.”
But Hometown Democracy also invites a much broader question, one that bores into the very structure of government established by our nation’s founders more than 200 years ago. If we can no longer trust our elected representatives to make decisions in the public interest on land-use matters, what issues dare we trust them with?
He goes on to cite historical precedent for hedges the Founders worked into the Constitution, such as indirect votes for the US Senate, the Electoral College, etc., and notes:
Our forefathers created this structure because, quite frankly, they feared that total democracy would deteriorate into mindless mob rule.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with as plain and clear a statement of elitist garbage as you will ever encounter, sufficient to cause Ben Franklin to upchuck all over his snowbound Philadelphia grave.
If there is just one proposition the Founders, to a man, accepted without reservation, it is that elected officials are NOT to be trusted, and require constant vigilance by the electorate. Unlike Koenig, they were worldly individuals who knew firsthand the dangers of power in the hands of the petty. Hence the Constitution’s elaborate system of checks and balances. Hence the private writings of the Founders to one another, seeking the balance between governors and the governed.
By their actions, the thieves, clods, and greedheads whose policies have raped Florida’s environment have performed an admirable service: they have made an airtight case against their own competence to care for the land responsibly. In this matter, not only it is the prerogative of the people to strip them of power, it is our obligation. I believe you will find the philosophical outlines for this position not in the US Constitution, but the Declaration of Independence, which preceded it.
Koenig’s argument that runs, “But if we do it in this particular matter, what keeps us from doing it every time?” is so dumb it drools and wears a pointed cap. He invokes the wrong principle here. We do it this one time because it’s needed, not for the helluvit, and it may or not be appropriate in another context. We don’t strip the powers of Legislatures or Commissions for no reason, only when those bodies have demonstrated their corrupt incompetence, as they clearly have done in the matter of land usage. The proper precedent is not to enforce a mechanical system, but to look to the results of that system’s actions.
This isn’t “mob rule,” Koenig. Don’t you live here? Haven’t you got eyes in your head? This is the citizenry appalled at the heinous conduct of corrupt leadership held hostage by greedy interests whose allegiance lies outside the welfare of the governed and the land we occupy. Amendment 4 is the reaction to a system gone bad, not a rejection of the system itself.
“Mob rule” might even be an improvement.