November 4, 2014 General Election - Republican Candidates
|Terry E. Branstad|
1st Congressional District
Iowa Secretary of State
|Paul D. Pate|
Iowa Auditor of State
State Representative District 71
|Jane A. Jech|
State Representative District 72
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Monday, August 25, 2014
Voting is a privilege and should be exercised intelligently. This requires some effort and, often times, the effort required is what prevents people from taking the opportunity to actually follow through with the act of voting.
Not having the time to vote is no longer an excuse. Early voting options begin on September 25th at which time an individual may vote in the County Auditor's office or by requesting an absentee ballot. Additionally, the County Auditor is putting together plans for remote satellite voting on a certain weekend in October at a location convention for almost everyone in Marshall County. You probably have been (or will be) contacted at your home by a candidate or political party offering to help you cast an early ballot. So, getting a chance to vote is not a problem.
The challenge comes in deciding how to vote and this is where the effort comes in on your part. The best voter is an informed voter and not one who simply follows the lemmings over the side of the cliff. Get to know the issues, at least those that are important to you. Then learn how the candidates stand on those issues and how they propose to deal with the issues most important to you. If they have a record of public service or voting see if it supports the position they publicly champion. Consider how the candidate's party stands on those issues by what they say and do and not by what the "other" party says about them.
Evaluate the candidate's character to determine if they truly have the temperament and intellect to follow through with their vision and their responses to your issues. Contact them and ask. Review their public statements. Look at their tweets and Facebook postings. Make them earn your vote but don't fall for the sound byte quick response.
Being informed when voting is part of the civic responsibility of voting to begin with. An uninformed vote can be harmful not only to the issues you hold important but it can be harmful to your neighbor, your community, your state and your nation. You have the ability to discern between fact and fiction and, being an Iowan holding Iowa values, the respect for the process to base your vote on the truth. So learn the facts and vote!
Chair / Marshall County Republicans
p.s. This website is but one tool that can help you (or link you to other recourses) to becoming an informed voter.
The Founder's purpose of the Declaration was not to just declare independence, but to "declare the causes which impel them to the separation". To accomplish this the signers first set forth the exceptional principles of American government.
The Declaration's primary principle is that the only just and legitimate purpose of government is to secure individual Life and Liberty while governing only by the consent of the governed. Because a government conceived in Liberty requires that its citizens exercise self-restraint, a certain amount of government is necessary.
In fact, the authors of the Declaration had more than a healthy distrust of government. They believed that government is the antithesis to Liberty - they are opposites. George Washington considered government dangerous and likened it to fire. Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense, referred to government as a necessary evil. Thus, it is no surprise that Founders such as James Madison pointed out the tension between natural individual rights, creating a government "to secure those Rights", and government's propensity to abuse its power. Thomas Jefferson warned that it is the natural tendency of political power to be drawn to and be concentrated in a ruling class.
These beliefs and principles of government formed the standard against which the signers of the Declaration could measure the conduct of government. Thus, the signers applied these principles to specific policies and practices of the British government. The purpose was to show the world how the government had violated the principles of free government. Here is a partial list of complaints against the government contained in the Declaration:
1. The government refuses to enact "wholesome" laws wanted by the people;
2. The government fails to faithfully enforce laws that are on the books;
3. The government adopts laws without going through elected representatives;
4. The central government opposes and undermines state and local government;
5. The government obstructs immigration laws;
6. The government creates a multitude of agencies and officials, living off the labor of the people, "to harass our People";
7. The government subjects the People to the jurisdiction of foreign laws and tribunals;
8. The government prevents free trade with other nations;
9. The government taxes the People without consent;
10. The government disregards "our Charters . . . altering fundamentally the forms of our government";
11. The central government declares "themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever";
12. The government responds to repeated petitions for redress with more government.
Having considered the conduct of the British government, in light of the principles of free government, the signers of the Declaration reached a verdict: Government "thus marked be every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people".
The Declaration of Independence was more than a declaration of independence from Great Britain. It was a declaration of independence from all overreaching government. Its adoption marked the birth of a nation conceived in Liberty. But more than that, it was and remains a timeless testament to the principles of civics upon which free people can hold their government accountable.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
The war for independence was a year old, when, on May 15, 1776, Virginia presented a resolution to the Second Continental Congress calling for a formal declaration of independence and for a confederation of states. Some Colonial legislatures had yet to authorize their representatives to vote for independence, so the vote was delayed to allow time for representative to get approval from their legislatures. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin collaborated on the declaration. The resolution for independence was approved July 2, 1776, and formally ratified as the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
The Declaration of Independence is comprised of three main parts, in this order: Statement of Principles of Government; Government Violation of Those Principles; and, a Call to Action (the Declaration).
This is the first in a series of articles decoding these three parts, beginning with the principles of government. It is our hope that this conversation will be informative and inspirational and that it can be used to further education you and those with whom you share it to be better and more engaged voting citizens.
The Declaration of Independence begins: "When...it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them..."
Thus, the first principle of government is: Governments are Entitlements by God.
In that opening phrase the Declaration both rejects the notion of rule by divine rights and acknowledges that man has the right to establish a sovereign government. But what does it mean that our government is entitlement by the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God?"
Scholars have settled this question. From some 15,000 writings of America's leaders from the founding period, scholars identified over 3,100 direct quotes from various sources. The Bible was quoted the most, accounting for over one third, followed by quotes primarily from three people: Locke, Montesquieu and Blackstone.
John Locke was a 17th century English philosopher. He wrote that man's law must be consistent with "the laws of Nature, and without contradiction to any positive law of scripture [i.e., God's law]".
Barron Charles Montesquieu was an 18th century French author. He wrote, "Society...must repose [rest] on principles that do not change." "The Christian religion, which ordains that men should love each other, would without doubt have every nation blessed with the best civil, the best political laws."
Sir William Blackstone, English judge and law professor and a contemporary of the Declaration's signers, said "The Maker's will is called the law of nature...The law of nature, being dictated by God Himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other...no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this." "Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these."
Therefore, we and our government, our nation of laws, are under God.
Principle #2: Our Rights Come From God (not government)
The Declaration states: "We holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
What does this mean? Declaration signer Benjamin Franklin wrote: "Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature." Signer and Second President of the United States, John Adams, said, "You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the universe."
The next two principles come from the next passage: "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
Thus, Principle #3 is: The Legitimate Purpose of Government is to Secure our God-given Rights.
As Locke described, civilized people create government for the purpose of protecting their individual liberty and property The signers of the Declaration were even less enamored with government. In support of independence, Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense, described government as a necessary evil. George Washington put it this way - "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence - it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action." In other words, even when used to secure God-given, individual rights, government, like fire, is dangerous. Once government is allowed to exceed this limited purpose, like a fire that escaped the fire ring, it will destroy everything in its path.
The Declaration signers were well aware of the illegitimate use of government to seek and preserve power for power's sake. As stated by Benjamin Franklin: "The ambitious and greedy political loser will forever seek to regain power by creating discontent in the people...There will always be a party for giving more to the rulers, that the rulers may be able in return give more to them."
Principal #4: Government's authority may not exceed that of any individual.
No person can grant more rights than they hold. Since government "derives its power from the consent of the governed", the people cannot give the government more authority than they possess themselves.
Principal #5: the final principle contained in the first part of the Declaration is: The People Have the Right and Duty to Abolish Destructive Government.
The Declaration states: "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it...when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government."
The next entry will explore government "abuse and usurpations" detailed in the Declaration.