Let’s remind ourselves of something: Political power originates with “We the People.”
Then every so often we hold an election and confer to the victor the authority to use this power in our behalf. This means that most of the time our collective power is off working in the hands of trusted elected officials. But every election year our power returns.
Like salmon from the sea, it swims back to its birthplace where it happily resides once again with “We the People.” When this happens it creates an observable power shift.
Just as we must go before the seats of power to have our issues judged, so must candidates, at times of election, come before the people that they might be judged by our seat of power.
This is precisely the idea behind political forums, town hall meetings and candidate debates. So what does it mean, then, when the governor of our state, running for the high office of U.S. senator, rejects outright the offers from KFRY-TV and Forum Communications to participate in statewide public debates?
It is one thing to dodge a political opponent, widely considered the “safe” thing for a leading candidate. But it’s quite another to dodge “We the People.”
It is our obligation as citizens and our responsibility as stake-holders in our democracy to insist that candidates appear before us in open, public venues, where they will take our questions, address our issues, and reply to the opposition. To do otherwise is to treat the people’s power with irreverence.
Jerry DeMartin, Beach