A letter to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette published on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, and written by Mac Faulkner of Little Rock was titled "Fox Guards Henhouse." Mr. Faulkner's letter was concerning Senate Joint Resolution 15 and referred back to some historical workings of the Arkansas Legislature and what appears to be a continuation of the Legislature's attempt to take away some of our choices concerning how we initiate individual activities in the process of government.
I would suggest to anyone reading this article to go online and Google "Arkansas SJR15" as he suggested. Specifically read the title carefully and the very last paragraph of page 3. After a list of deletions and substitutions to change the wording of the constitution to affect term limits, the last paragraph substitutes "future revisions to term limits for the general assembly shall be proposed only by the general assembly." As I understand that, it appears the freedom we have to revise term limits by a voice of the people (a petition) is being removed. Am I wrong? Is that not contrary to the expectation we have for our government leaders?
Mr. Faulkner's letter also points how we have been deprived of previously voter-approved term limits by rather than honest bill titles and changes hidden in legislation supposedly to improve ethical issues. Have I missed something in my old age or are we being deprived of a constitutional right? Maybe the letter should be reprinted for the benefit of those who might have missed it.
Many of you may remember supporting my desire to participate in Benton County government back in the late 1990s (specifically I served on the Quorum Court from 1994 to 1999). The experience of sharing the decisions that affected the county and particularly the area of northeast Benton County was not only a privilege, but an invaluable experience in government. It was also an opportunity to see the effect of political power on the attitudes and character of those with whom I worked during those years. That opportunity, added to the years I spent in industrial management have been a benefit or a liability depending on the views of those who were, or are, expected to judge the outcome.
When we attain the age of 80 plus we should be accorded the privilege of reflecting on the years and events as we remember them. Some of the reflections may be valid and some not, but the passing of time and the changes may have corrected some of the things, which at the time appeared a lot different than history has recorded them. We are all a "product" of our time and place in society even though we have no choice about when and where we were born. The great leaders of our nation were influenced by events in their day and some of them were not exactly what we studied in our history classes.
If the intent of this constitutional amendment is an attempt to change the ability of the people to initiate a term limit change by petition or other constitutional means it would seem to be an issue the people should vote on rather than have a change hidden in a Senate resolution.
One of the things that seems to stand out in the political events I witness today is how easily we can miss a change that can affects us because we don't question or stay informed on all issues. We tend to trust politicians and allow the influence of others to color and/or determine how we view any event or decision in which we must participate. No doubt we would all like to believe those who represent us in federal, state or local offices are making the very best decisions possible. Given that they frequently have information which we don't have, we can't always evaluate their decisions in unbiased terms. However, as the citizens who trusted them enough to vote for them, and frequently we get active in their campaigns, it should be reasonable for us to expect them to make decisions that protect our freedom in the future. Not to try to deprive us of it. Is that wrong ?
Editor's note: Leo Lynch, an award-winning columnist, is a native of Benton County and has deep roots in northwest Arkansas. The opinions expressed are those of the author. He is a retired industrial engineer and former Justice of the Peace.Editorial on 03/13/2019
Print Headline: Citizens should be informed