Rhode Island Politics & Taxation, Part VI
This posting continues a periodic series on Rhode Island politics and taxation (I, II, III, IV, V).
If you want to read another sordid tale about Rhode Island politics, check out Ed Achorn’s latest editorial in the ProJo.
Here are a few excerpts:
The people who led the fight against a constitutional convention in Rhode Island – members of an organization called Citizens for Representative Government – went to great lengths to cover their tracks. But all roads seem to lead to Guy Dufault, the labor and gambling lobbyist.
The public-employee unions put up the money to run phone banks, air TV and radio ads, and print posters in narrowly defeating a constitutional convention, 52 to 48 percent, on November 2. Mr. Dufault acknowledged on Friday that he filled out most of the group’s campaign-finance report now on file with the Rhode Island Board of Elections.
But you wouldn’t know of Mr. Dufault’s role by reading that public document. He kept that carefully hidden from the public…
What’s the upshot of this?
I don’t know if any of this constitutes filing and signing a false report…But it does seem puzzling that Mr. Dufault and Citizens for Representative Government chose to make it so difficult for the public to find out who was running the show. Why bother?…
Maybe Citizens for Representative Government did not want citizens to find out easily that it was a prominent State House lobbyist for the public-employee unions and gambling interests who fought to deny people the chance to shake up Rhode Island government with a constitutional convention. (Now, citizens will have to wait until at least 2016.)
That seems to be the way the game is played.
After reading the entire editorial, I would encourage you to pause and think about whether this deceitful political behavior is consistent with the values of the American Founding and the principles embodied in our Declaration of Independence.
Would George Washington or Thomas Jefferson have endorsed such behavior? Of course not.
Does this kind of political behavior reflect the values of our own Roger Williams? Not a chance.
And we should not tolerate it either.
To put it in perspective, I would direct you to a previously mentioned quote from Roger Pilon of the Cato Institute:
In the end, however, no constitution can be self-enforcing. Government officials must respect their oaths to uphold the Constitution; and we the people must be vigilant in seeing that they do.
The Founders drafted an extraordinarily thoughtful plan of government, but it is up to us, to each generation, to preserve and protect it for ourselves and for future generations.
For the Constitution will live only if it is alive in the hearts and minds of the American people. That, perhaps, is the most enduring lesson of our experiment in ordered liberty.
We have a long way to go in Rhode Island. Our moral obligation as American citizens calls us to nothing less than a passion for protecting our God-given liberty. Only when that passion stirs deeply in the hearts and minds of enough Rhode Island citizens will we shorten the distance we must travel to see a better day.