By Lynn Woolley
August 22, 2009
In June of 2006, I wrote a column for the Dallas Morning News about a concept I called “Bottom Up Government.” At that time, a people’s movement had spread from San Bernardino, California to Hazleton, Pennsylvania to Farmers Branch, Texas. The issue was illegal immigration and the damage it was doing to schools, hospitals and the culture. Washington seemingly could get nothing done.
“The people,” I wrote, “are not happy.”
Today, with a new president in office, the issue is healthcare reform. Having just returned from a town hall meeting at a rodeo arena in Salado, Texas, I can report to you that the people STILL are not happy. The people, in fact, are stepping up the pressure. In 2006, they worked at the local level to fix illegal immigration. Today, at town hall meetings all over the country, they are demanding that their elected officials actually represent them.
In Salado, more than fifteen-hundred people who showed up to hear Rep. John Carter of Round Rock mostly cheered when he stated that he would never vote for a big-government takeover of any kind. But the questions came fast and hard: How does Obama get away with naming all these Czars? Who pays them? What are you doing to get rid of them? If members of Congress pass a healthcare bill – do THEY have to sign up for it?
There was a question from a woman who wasn’t satisfied that some members of Congress simply agree with her. She demanded action. “We are called ‘the Party of No’ by the Democrats,” she said. “Where’s the Republican plan to fix healthcare?”
The message is clear. The people are wary when a President and both houses of Congress are of the same party. Obama is in a position to get things done, but there are some things the people don’t want to get done.
The people didn’t want Hillary Clinton’s healthcare plan. They didn’t stand for the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, or for the Dubai ports deal. They refused to accept amnesty for illegal aliens. In Standish, Michigan, just this past week, they railed against the idea of bringing terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to this small town.
This is “Bottom Up Government,” known in the Constitution as the First Amendment right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Some people might say that, since the United States is a Constitutional Republic, we should simply hire a president, 100 senators and 435 representatives, and allow them to govern. Most of the time, that’s exactly what we do. But most of the time, the government isn’t busy taking over automobile companies, bailing out big business, squandering stimulus money, nationalizing healthcare, and bringing the national debt to $12 trillion in the process. The Founders provided us with a check-and-balance: the ballot box. This is going to be an interesting mid-term election.
Between now and then, we’ll get an answer to the question “is Bottom Up Government here to stay?” After healthcare, President Obama’s “Cap and Trade” energy tax bill goes to the Senate. What will the people say about it? What will they say later in the year when Mr. Obama’s comprehensive immigration reform bill is introduced? The people didn’t want amnesty before; will they accept it this time around? Not likely.
Town hall meetings have the potential of getting even tougher for members of Congress. Austin Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who was among the first to label his constituents a “mob” may be facing even angrier crowds. The spirit of Samuel Adams and the Boston Tea Party is alive in America! And that’s the way it ought to be.
Lynn Woolley is a Texas-based talk show host heard live on KVCE AM 1160 at 9 a.m. and at www.BeLogical.com. His email address is email@example.com.