Paul Jacob

Our problems are indeed solvable — tough, yes, but not impossible. What seems nearly impossible at times is our politics. Getting politicians and special interests to stop feeding on us long enough to listen to us.

The American people are not the problem; we are the solution.

While politicians and power brokers contemplate the next trillion dollar Frankenstein fix of our economy — or health care, or some even more difficult project of foreign policy — citizens need to act to get back in the game. To have a seat at the table, as the insiders would put it. A seat at our table.

Electing a good candidate to office or defeating a bad guy from time to time obviously isn’t enough. And good guys left to their own devices often don’t stay so good.

Citizens must remain engaged. We have to hold our representatives’ feet to the fire. To do so, we need fundamental change that puts citizens in charge.

The most powerful and dynamic check on power is the voter initiative, referendum and recall process. It is under constant assault from politicians and special interests. We must protect these essential citizen powers where they exist and spread them to voters everywhere.

That’s the best celebration of July 4th, to restore a government that actually acts within our consent.

Long after penning the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson would argue that he knew no safer “depository” for power than “the People.” Safer than kings or nobles — or even presidents and congressmen.

We, the People, are still the safest place to park political power. Oh, sure, I may be sporting a mustard stain on my shirt from a mishap with a hot dog, and you may even be wearing dark socks with Bermuda shorts, but freedom can and is still counting on us.

On July 4, 1776, our country’s founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. This July 4 — or July 5, as it happens, today — what can I pledge? What will you pledge?  

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.