Your Representatives

From the least — say a local water board — to the greatest — U.S. Congress or maybe even President — office in the land, government in these United States is built upon the foundation of "representative republic". Our federal Constitution, in Article IV, makes but one demand of all the states that comprise our nation: each must guarantee to its citizens "a republican form of government". So, what does this all mean and why is it important?

The day we celebrateWhen, in 1776, the fifty-six members of the 2nd Continental Congress published the Declaration of Independence to announce to the world that "these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States", they were drawing on a history of self-government that even at that juncture was over a century old. The United Colonies had grown from solitary isolated outposts of British subjects to a confederation of thirteen states that believed they were equal, or at least no longer needing to be subservient, to the most powerful nation on Earth. Having been separated by a wide ocean from the lands of their birth, settlers of these colonies had devised unique systems of government, all of which sought to maximize the liberty of every individual to make their own way successfully.

Although we have squandered much of that liberty so carefully crafted by those founders, due primarily to our hearkening to the siren song of Progressives, we still follow the forms as established by them. So, we continue to send people to Washington, D.C., the capitols of the various states, and seats of local government and city halls expecting them to make the kinds of decisions that we ourselves would make were we in their places. The important thing to remember here is that by the terms of our Constitution, these people are not our rulers; rather they serve us or, rather, on our behalf. It is "We the People" who govern ourselves.

Face-offEven your state and local Republican Party bodies are set up in that representative form. All thirty-six counties in the State of Oregon are divided up into voting districts called precincts. Although the county and state lines remain immutable, every ten years the clerks of each county must tweak the boundary lines of the precincts to reflect shifts in population and actions taken by the cities within the county to (usually) expand their jurisdictional limits. The clerk also determines the number of people each major political party can select to serve on their central committees from each precinct. Both parties are allotted the same number, regardless of the number of voters in the precinct registered with that party. Those selected to be Precinct Committee Persons (PCPs) — called that presumably because they would work together as a team rather than as so many individuals — comprise the party's county central committee to discuss the matters they consider important in winning the next election.

 

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