Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
E-mail this article
Print this Article

I was more than a little puzzled by Tony Campbell’s comments about Gov. Martin O’Malley in Campbell’s letter, “The power of representative democracy” [Maryland Independent, Nov. 16].

After quoting the governor as saying, “I think we have been best served ... by a representative democracy rather than plebiscites,” he paraphrases the governor as saying that the people should have no voice in how their representatives make decisions. How decisions are made was never the issue; the issue is what decisions were made.

It would make no sense to use plebiscites (or referendums) to have the electorate determine decisions about every issue the government faces, from speed limits on narrow roads to additional gambling venues. The process would be cumbersome, expensive and enormously time-consuming, and would result in nothing being accomplished by the government.

The whole concept of representative government replaces plebiscites by decisions made by a relatively small group of people chosen by the electorate to represent their interests.

That is what Gov. O’Malley meant by “best served.” When an elected official’s term ends, the public will decide whether that official has represented it to its satisfaction. In Maryland, it would seem that the electorate is generally satisfied with the representation it has received from elected officials.

Bruce Kirk, La Plata