RE: What does the phrase ‘Will of the people’ mean to you?

Legislation & TestimonyRethinking and Reframing

Earlier this morning, Tim Eyman sent out an email which asked, in its subject line, “What does the phrase “will of the people” mean to you?” To us, those words mean that our cherished tradition of majority rule must never be compromised. Schemes that take away majority rule (such as Initiative 960 and Initiative 1053) ironically have the effect of infringing upon the will of the people.

Permit us to explain what we mean. In trying to garner publicity for Initiative 1053, Tim Eyman has deceptively tried to frame the effort to amend Initiative 960 as a “we the people versus the Legislature” conflict.

It’s a lie. There is no such conflict. We, the people, elected this Legislature, and we, the people, reelected Governor Chris Gregoire to a second four year term. What’s more, during the last two years we, the people, have rejected not one, but two Tim Eyman initiatives, at the ballot.

In moving to unlock Initiative 960’s shackles, the Legislature is doing precisely what Tim Eyman is attacking it for not doing… responding to the will of the people.

We don’t elect legislators to kowtow to the likes of Tim Eyman, who wants to rip our common wealth to shreds. We elect legislators to govern, wisely and justly. If we do not like the decisions we make, we can choose new leaders. That’s how representative democracy works. Tim Eyman has consistently sought to undermine representative democracy by making it harder for elected leaders to do their jobs and proposing schemes that add undemocratic, un-American hurdles into the legislative process.

Initiative 960, which was approved by a narrow majority in 2007, never should have taken effect, and not just because it is blatantly unconstitutional. It never should have taken effect because we the people have no authority to take away our own rights. Democracy cannot be used to abolish democracy.

A majority of Washingtonians, voting at an election, cannot decide to deprive a future majority of their rights. That this happened and could not be reversed until now is a travesty. The Supreme Court’s refusal to rule on Initiative 960’s constitutionality (the Court was asked to do so twice, in two separate lawsuits) does not make Initiative 960, or Initiative 1053, legitimate.

For additional analysis, check out this post from the NPI Advocate, the blog of our parent organization.

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