I have been trying to brush up on my understanding of politics and law as we progress through this semester (a bit overwhelming indeed) but interesting nonetheless. I am also constantly considering the ethics or lack thereof with regards to decisions that are being made which can influence the future and/or fate of residents of this state. I am not from VA and have always been curious as to why it is called a “Commonwealth” and what that meant exactly. When browsing the VA General Assemble website I came upon this explanation/definition. You can read below or follow the link http://legis.virginia.gov/1_cit_guide/faq_misc_questions.html#3
Why is Virginia called a commonwealth?
While Virginia may generally be referred to as a state, it is officially designated as a “Commonwealth.” The Virginia Declaration of Rights, adopted on June 12, 1776, set forth the philosophy that government was created to be the servant of the people. Virginia’s founders viewed government as a contract between free and independent people and sought to emphasize that the government was based upon the sovereignty of the people united for the common good, or common wealth. In essence, the power to govern was derived from the consent of the people. Virginia’s first Constitution, adopted on June 29, 1776, affirmed these principles.
As citizens of the Commonwealth, Virginians are encouraged to actively participate in government. Civic virtue and socially responsible conduct by all citizens are essential to the continued existence of the Commonwealth. This extraordinary form of government depends upon the people’s consent and participation.
In addition to Virginia, the states of Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania enjoy commonwealth status.
Now this philosophy sounds like a wonderful concept, however the more I read into what is actually going on in the General Assembly the less I have faith that those we have elected to represent us are truly working towards carrying out the common good of the citizens. An article in the Times Dispatch reflected on the halftime report of the Assembly and touched on the status of some “hot button” issues. Take a look at the article (don’t worry it’s short) and see if you share the same uneasy feeling with regards the status of these proposals and think about if you question the ethics behind them.