First, before I explain why New Jersey is indeed an oligarchy, it is important to understand what an oligarchy is. An oligarchy, by definition, “is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people”. In no way, except for actual elections, is New Jersey a democracy anymore.
The voice of the people has continuously become less and less influential. To some degree it is our fault as citizens, and especially as young people, because we have accepted greater degrees of disengagement from politics. However, it is also the fault of those who make up the oligarchy, especially while considering this is supposed to be a democracy. As elected officials in The United States, it is supposed to be their jobs to engage with the public and allow the public’s voice to be heard in the legislature. Holding public office does not mean that an individual’s personal beliefs represent those of the entire public.
There have been many examples of executive decisions that have taken away the governing powers of residents by taking control of city governments and schools districts. There have been committees designed to hash out billions of tax dollars for corporate benefits. The governor and the legislature have tried to reorganize universities by acting outside of the law. Universities have been given eminent domain powers. An entire police force was fired in order to create a temporarily cheaper force. All of these actions were heavily opposed by the public, yet officials made them realities despite disapproval. And now, the legislature is about to SELL OUR PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS. Yup, the liquid that literally keeps us alive is about to be sold to private companies without any referendum vote.
The Water Infrastructure Protection Act is designed to place private companies in charge of New Jersey’s water systems in order to find ways to fund repairs after years of neglect. No surprise there I guess. Most of New Jersey’s infrastructure is literally crumbling beneath us, and there is no money to fix anything. Our roads represent the Australian washboard deserts, and our bridges are decaying faster than a sugar-coated moler.
It is a big problem that our water systems are in such bad shape, and something should be done to fix them. Why, though, is the best solution to sell off what’s broken? For something so vital to human life, the public should have the opportunity to decide through a referendum vote.
So wake up New Jersey. Start calling your legislator once a week. Get rowdy my fellow young people!
Let’s start paying attention to what this state legislature is doing, because everyday they are writing bills that affect our lives. It is time to do away with the notion that politics is a taboo topic of conversation. If we aren’t talking about politics, well, then decisions will continue to be made for us.
Let’s reclaim democracy in New Jersey, and let’s start by democratically voting on the fate of our water systems.