25.8 F
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
HomeIllinois PoliticsDi Leo: Dear Lawmakers: An Open Plea for a New Beginning

Di Leo: Dear Lawmakers: An Open Plea for a New Beginning



Illinois State Capitol

By John F. Di Leo - 

As federal and state governments begin their next terms, there may be a feeling of a new beginning, a clean slate.   

Bills that had been introduced but not passed in the last session are gone forever, needing to be reintroduced from scratch or abandoned.  Campaign promises get transformed into bills, newbie candidates walk into the brick wall of the real world when they first encounter the smoke-filled rooms of their party caucuses. 

It might be useful for some in government, who have perhaps not studied civics for twenty, thirty, or even fifty years, to have a refresher course.  So, in no particular order, here are a few of the fundamentals that most of our politicians have forgotten: 

Limited Government 

Many politicians, usually those who were raised by a village instead of by Americans, arrive in office imagining themselves in some fantasy world in which the majority gets to do whatever it wants, so the goal in politics is simply to be part of the majority, so one can get the power to dictate. 


At every level, the governments of the United States of America are constitutionally limited.  That is, a majority does not have carte blanche to do whatever it wants to the minority. Our government, in fact, is to a great extent designed to protect the minority.   

Getting elected doesn’t give you the power to do whatever you want, it just gives you the power to do legal things, constitutional things, your way rather than the other party’s way. 

The majority of the things you want to do, you are barred from doing, even if you have unanimous agreement that it might be a good idea.  That's what "limited government" means… if you can't get a Constitutional amendment to authorize it, it's simply not an option.

The Oath of Office 

Upon election to major offices, from state legislature to president, and most lesser offices as well, an oath is taken.  As our constitutions cover two general arenas – the selection of government employees and what they are empowered to do – this oath to uphold the Constitution covers both aspects.  Too many today believe that the important thing is format – how many in the House, how many in the Senate, how long each term is…  but that turns the Framers' purpose upside down.  In fact, the important thing is the limitations – what can each branch do, and what can government do, in general? The numbers and titles and terms of officeholders are simply a system to serve that noble goal.  And the oath of office is there to commit each elected official to it.

Traditionally, since this is a Judeo-Christian nation, elected officials take the oath with their hands on a Bible. 

Exceptions have been made, in recent years. An atheist may simply affirm without any book at all, or a muslim might affirm on a copy of the koran (a book that specifically authorizes taqiyya, rendering its value in oath-taking less than optimal).  As we are not a theocracy, the choice of book may not in itself determine whether the person means it or not. 

The important thing is that the oath be obeyed.  Politicians have a job: to obey the constitution, and more broadly, to honor the American system of limited government. To preserve the limits of your state or federal boundaries… and to protect and champion the rights listed in the Bill of Rights, which are under such terrible assault today.

To violate the oath of office, no matter how tempting, is to fail the assignment.  Period. 

The Laws of Economics 

Due to a combination of corruption, foolishness, unjustified optimism and sheer ignorance, both our federal government and many of our states and localities have spent decades digging themselves almost inescapable financial holes. 

The promises of ever more generous pensions for state workers have set numerous states on the road to insolvency. Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, and many others, with specialized added crises in their biggest cities, continue to press on the accelerator as they approach the fiscal cliff.  States like Wisconsin that wisely revamped their government pension programs a decade ago are getting a bit better, year over year, while the states that kicked the can down the road just keep getting worse. 

The federal government has led the states in a different, but just as rapid, path to insolvency: the welfare state. Instead of limited government assistance to the weakest and poorest, politicians have found the political advantages of government handouts irresistible for a century now. We have local, state, and federal programs, funding individuals’ food and drink, housing and clothing, schooling and retirement, healthcare and childcare. A myriad of overlapping programs has left the nation awash in unaffordable checks, grants, credits and plastic. 

If you’ve been elected to public office, you have inherited this problem, even if you weren’t consciously a part of its cause.  Will you work to finally address the problem of unfunded mandates, or will you work to bring fiscal sanity back to a warped system?   

No matter your party, no matter your ideology, the laws of economics are your reality.  If you remain a part of the economically illiterate majorities of the past, your legacy in public office cannot help but be a disaster. It is incumbent upon everyone in public life, facing a situation this dire, to cooperate to tighten the belt of government at all levels, whether you really want to or not.  You have to do what you can to save your locality, your state, and your country. 

The Laws of Nature and Nature’s God 

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson set the stage for his masterpiece by stating an obligation, held by the Continental Congress at the time, but by extension, by our modern politicians today as well, to state the reasons for their political actions, so that they may be publicly understood and judged. 

By the same token, with these United States in such dire jeopardy today, modern statesmen are also well-advised to keep posterity in mind.  In 2020, many nations – but especially, many specific US state legislatures – sat back and watched in silence as their governors claimed outrageous emergency powers, not legal in any way, to close down businesses, to ban human interaction, violating the Bill of Rights on a daily basis – to exaggerate the dangers of the Covid-19 Virus for political purposes.

It is now painfully clear that neither lockdowns nor mask mandates have a statistically substantive effect on the spread of the virus. Like most airborne viruses, anybody can get it, no matter what… but the primary risk factors are whether a person is particularly vulnerable at the time, and whether the person is exposed to truly significant viral load (such as being already weak seniors in a nursing home, when a governor sticks a known, contagious Covid-19 patient in their midst).  Making healthy people wear masks and putting tens of thousands of restaurants and stores out of business has no appreciable impact on the problem. 

The eyes of other nations will look to the United States for leadership – to see whether we have learned from the errors of 2020, to see whether we will punish the lockdown governors for their illegal tyranny, and to see whether we will rewrite our emergency powers laws to protect against a repeat of such a horror, ever again. 

And yes, it has been a horror.  Much of the world respects America for its policy of limited government.  We have prided ourselves on this philosophy for nearly 250 years.  The thought that governors, as if answerable to neither legislature nor court, could simply decree that schools close, theaters close, and whole shopping districts would go out of business in a futile effort to contain a virus, is an outrage that has had our Founding Fathers spinning in their graves for a year now.  

It is your job – as an elected official at any level from alderman to president – to write the laws to protect your citizens and their jobs from future repeats.  What happened in 2020, such as a modern dekulakization of American small business, in particular, must never be allowed to happen again. 

Election Integrity 

The Secret Ballot is one of America’s greatest sources of pride… but it is also one of our greatest weaknesses. It’s easy to ensure security in an environment in which we happily declare the contents; it’s much more difficult when the system requires that the vote is an inviolable secret. It is therefore far more manageable to prevent vote fraud than to catch and expose it after the fact.

There has always been vote fraud in American politics, but it has increased by leaps and bounds in recent decades.  Government has so much power, and elections are so easy to steal, the temptation for the corrupt to violate election laws to gain power seems irresistible to far too many in today’s society. 

Our state and federal governments – in the wake of the 2020 debacle – must clearly do two things, immediately: implement improved security for future elections, and provide for better redress for contested races than the woefully inadequate modern approach of just counting the same ballots again and again, without auditing anything else.  An election like 2020’s, which too often provided carte blanche to fabricate ballots in parks and drop-off boxes, to get people registering and voting in multiple states from PO boxes and friends’ couches, and to take advantage of the myriad other methods used for fraud, must never happen again. 

We need one single Election Day again, with only one pool of voters: legal residents over 18, period.  Our states have an obligation, not only to their own voters but to the rest of the country. It’s time we were able to trust each other to participate in a shared federal election again. 

Pet Projects 

It is no surprise to any of us that many politicians enter office with particularly personal interests.  A national park, a minimum wage, some new regulation, some old work project. Some are good, some are bad, all are especially personal to their sponsor.   

But these are unusual times.  We have a largely illegitimate government taking office after amazingly blatant vote fraud. We have a nation still in the grip of hysteria over a virus that, while truly horrible for the few who get a bad case, is simply not a severe enough public threat to merit the catastrophic destruction that the political overreaction to it has caused.  And we still have the terrible national problems – unassimilatable levels of immigration, unaffordable government programs, dangerous, uncontained foreign enemies from Mainland China to Iran… and terrible drug and crime waves here at home, particularly in our big cities. 

We must discard our pet projects – overblown distractions like snail darters and spotted owls – and focus on fixing our real problems.  Only our Founding documents have the solutions.  The private sector can fix anything, if it’s empowered to do so.  We must get the jack boot of government off the throats of the American private sector.  It’s our only chance. 

Good luck, political class of 2020.  You have your work cut out for you. 

Copyright 2020 John F Di Leo  

John F Di Leo is a Chicagoland based writer, actor and transportation manager, a former chairman of the Ethnic American Council and the Milwaukee County Republican Party. His columns have regularly appeared in Illinois Review since 2009.  A collection of his columns on vote fraud, The Tales of Little Pavel, is available as eBooks or paperback on Amazon and Kindle. 

Don’t miss an article! Use the free tool in the margin to sign up for Illinois Review’s free email notification service, so that you always know when IR publishes new content! 


- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories

Di Leo: Asking the Wrong Question About the Taylor Swift Tour

By John F. Di LeoThe lovely and prolific Taylor...

Opinion: Why the GOP Needs Trump Voters to Survive

By Hank Beckman, Opinion ContributorDonald John Trump is running...

Rossi: The Insane “Climate Reparations” That President Biden Just Agreed To

By Randy Rossi, Opinion ContributorJust when you think President...


  1. Oh my. You’re absolutely right. My mistake.
    I thought I had mentioned citizenship a couple lines up, and was just focusing on the need to be a legal resident of the precise jurisdiction in question (the precinct) in this line. I must have omitted it in my self-editing and proofreading.
    Thanks for the catch. I agree completely, of course.