The United States Constitution creates a government of the people, by the people, and for the people… At least that is what the taxpayer funded government-controlled youth indoctrination centers hammered into our heads since age 5. Is it though? In Alabama’s 2022 legislative elections all 140 seats are up for reelection. Of those, 106 seats are running unopposed, meaning only one of the two major parties has candidate(s) seeking that seat. Of these unopposed seats, sixty-five do not even have a challenger in the primary. Almost half of Alabamians will be “represented” by a person who had their seat handed to them. This is not democracy. It is a coronation. It is oligarchy with extra steps.
The people of Alabama are underrepresented. The 2018 gasoline tax is a notable example of how these individuals work together to take more hard-earned money from the taxpayers and funnel it through the state coffers to their crony buddies and back to themselves through campaign donations. Team red, team blue, it does not matter. When it comes to taking more money out of your wallet, they always find a way to work together to make it happen. They even make it sound pretty by calling it “bipartisan.”
So how do we get the power back into the hands of the people? One way to give the people more say in their government is through initiatives and referendums. Voter initiative legislation would allow voters to petition to have new legislation placed on the ballot and to be voted on by the people. Legislative referendum, sometimes referred to as citizen’s veto, allows citizens to petition to put legislation passed through the state legislature to a vote by the people. In 2020 voters in other states passed initiatives and referenda to reduce the state income tax, and decriminalize cannabis and natural psychedelics such as psilocybin, to name a few.
Currently, twenty-eight states offer some form of initiative or referendum, with twenty-three of them allowing for both. No such luck in Alabama. In Alabama referendum could easily have been used to block or repeal the 2018 gasoline tax. Ballot initiatives could get a plain language lottery or gambling petition on the ballot without all the red tape and cronyism that has plagued such potential legislation in the past. We could use it to get real medical freedom for medical cannabis users instead of the grotesque big pharma friendly medical bill that was passed in 2021. Initiative and referendum legislation is necessary in Alabama to wrestle a bit of the power away from the legislature and put it back in the hands of the people. Only then should we even consider saying we have a government of, by, and for the people.