“In the bargain between elected officials and voters, what are the responsibilities of each?”As Former PA Representative Joe Hoeffel said so well in response (I really wish he’d waited to run against Santorum instead of Specter, but maybe Mr. Casey Jr. can pull it off against Sen.Scumwad), voters must stay informed and officials must stay honest. However, I think also that voters must participate in our democracy to one degree or another, whether that means teaching civics classes, helping to educate recently naturalized citizens in English or other studies, writing to newspapers about issues that matter to them, contacting their elected officials for the same reason (or possibly even working in campaigns for these people), or even discussing political issues among family and friends (and I know that can be potentially explosive at times).
Officials, on the other hand, aside from staying honest, must stay in touch with their constituencies and understand that they were elected to serve the people in that ward, parish, district, or whatever, not the individuals who made the biggest campaing donations (or at least serving the people with money equally relative to everyone else). Officials are also duly obligated to go against the prevailing wisdom of their party if they believe that is required to accomplish the goal I just mentioned. They are also obligated to do whatever is necessary to correct any activity among their peers in any kind of governmental body that is either highly unethical or outright illegal (I would say that the 2AM PA legislative pay raise taken as an unvouchered expense last year would qualify in at least one of those categories).
That’s all I have on that. If I can think of anything else, I’ll add to this post later.