Gaius Equitius Cato (Election MMDCCLIX)
I would like now to outline my basic platform in seeking the praetorship. There are three broad areas, with specifics in each.
THE MAIN LIST (the "Forum")
The moderation of the Main List (hereinafter referred to as the "Forum") has come up several times, most recently in the discussions over what exactly constitutes "free speech" &c. The Forum is the open market, the public arena in which all our citizens can speak and listen and keep their finger on the pulse of the Republic, for good or for ill. That there should arise the perceived necessity of an alternate List, such as the "New Roman" List, out of fear that our newer citizens might be frightened off by "bullies" is shameful (not the List itself, mind you, but the fact that it is regarded as necessary by some).
It is now, and has been, my very vocal opinion that freedom of speech, whether or not recognized as such by our ancient forebears, is a vital element to the growth and animation of any free people. There may be limits placed upon the freedom of expression in a public Forum such as this; not only Yahoo!'s terms of service but also terms we place upon ourselves out of consideration for the vast differences in culture, race, religious belief &c. that are a by-product of the diversity of our citizenry. But these limits cannot be arbitrary, and the power to set these limits cannot be simply assumed to exist because we think it "should be" that way. And the balance must be kept very carefully - between allowing our citizens the freedom to express themselves as they see fit or necessary and avoiding becoming the harsh censors of a "feel good" group rather than a living, breathing reflection of our individuality and energy as a Republic.
There have been some comments on the volume of leges we have in the tabularium; some think it is unwieldy and inappropriate for a community of our relatively moderate size to have "so many" laws governing our existence. I would make two remarks in answer. First, it was Roman practice simply to write a law whenever a situation arose for which their current law had no answer. They amassed an incredible, vast, and intricate network of laws, and it didn't really bother them at all. We have echoed that process precisely.
No doubt we could trim and consolidate some of the leges we have, and yet we need to also consider answering some of the questions that have arisen in the course of several recent discussions. We have given magistrates powers that they never exercized in the Republic, and this needs to be corrected; we have no authoritative definitions of terms such as "imperium", "sanctitas" &c.; our lex Constitutiva is a top-heavy, vague, and ill-fitting document, giving us more problems than answers in many cases; confusing, poorly-worded and vague leges are replaced by even more voluminous, poorly-worded, and vague "corrections". Tying our legal corporation's By-Laws to the tabularium is awkward and unnecessary. All of these problems can be fixed, and it is my pledge to do so if elected praetor.
THE JUDICIAL PROCESS
We have seen one trial (which, by the way, I lost as Constantinus Fuscus' advocatus) and one severely compromised attempt at a trial. It is this latter case that makes me frustrated: the case of Ap. Claudius Priscus should have been brought to an open trial, and it should have followed the processes we have in place. We could have ended it with the descent of a praetorial (or consular) gavel rather than it crumbling off in dissatisfaction, confusion, or half-hearted attempts to "do" something. If ever a trial became necessary under my praetorship, the List upon which it was taking place would be open to the public (trials were public affairs in ancient Rome) for comment and discussion, not sealed away as if in embarrassment. Yes, it would be an interesting logistical endeavor, but I firmly believe that nothing should happen secretly or without the full knowledge of the citizens of the Republic.
You all know me; for better or worse, I speak my mind and very rarely simply let an issue go if I feel strongly about it - often ad nauseum, in some opinions. But I am also willing to be shown if I am wrong, and adapt my actions accordingly. If I am elected praetor, I will use every ounce of my considerable talents to serve the Republic with loud and fervent devotion to that office.