Our Democracy Sucks

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Liberals vote Democrat. Conservatives vote Republican. And independents slosh back and forth from election to election. This kind of democratic process is responsible for the government nearly everyone dislikes in America. The voters are responsible. Whether they assume that responsibility, has yet to be seen.

My personal opinion is that most voters vote for their Party and blame bad government on the other party. In other words, most voters cop out of their personal responsibility for government results. They cop out, because they don't want to accept the responsibility our democracy imposes upon its voters. That responsibility is to hold your OWN representative responsible for government.

If government is not what one hoped for, there is no one to whom a voter can turn, to address government results, other than their own representative. That is in fact, how the American democratic process is set up. Americans don't get to vote for any representatives other than those running for their own district or state. Voters have no power over all the other districts or states and how their representatives act. If voters don't hold their own representatives responsible on election day, government results do not change or, they worsen. More than three fourths of all US congressional incumbents running for reelection will win, regardless of how horrible government becomes. That is the historical record of the last several decades.

The voter who is dissatisfied with government results, has but one logical choice on election day, and that is to vote for a challenger to their current representative. Only if a majority of voters do this, will their be any prospect of changing government results. The reason this is the only choice is because bad government results are a result of your representative either contributing to those negative results or, your representative failing to convince fellow representatives to change government for the better.

Either way, your representative is failing to deliver on your hopes for better government results. And there is no one else a voter can hold responsible for bad government results. One can yell blame at other politicians or political parties, but, everyone will tune out your yelling. Yelling, demonstrations, and blogging doesn't change the system that allows incompetent and corrupt politicians to continue to be reelected. Only voters throw out of office those responsible for the government we have, and voters can only vote for the candidates running in their own district or State. That is the reality established by our U.S. Constitution.

In his farewell address at the end of his presidency, George Washington warned listeners that political parties, whose only goal is power, will be inclined to even commit treason against the people in their bid to acquire power. And we have seen in recent decades, that having acquired power, parties and politicians will exonerate or pardon their members when caught betraying the nation and people.

The last great hope to fend off this threat by political parties against the nation and people as a whole, was the Supreme Court, intended to be non-political in its deliberations. However, with the head of the political party, the President, choosing Supreme Court nominees with the advice and consent of the Senate, it was only a matter of time before the Supreme Court became as political as the Congress and executive branch of government.

The American people have no chance of standing up against the political parties and the corruption they have brought to our government to reward their supporters and punish everyone else, except at the ballot box. There, they can make anti-incumbent voting their election day religion and demand political reforms that dramatically reduce the corrupting influence of political parties upon the offices of government.

I will not vote for an incumbent again, until the following reforms have been enacted. I recommend these reforms for your consideration.

1. End Tuesday voting. Make voting a week long affair, with several avenues to vote, including internet, mail-in, and in-person voting, and make it a mandatory life sentence if convicted of voter fraud or tampering, and a 20 year sentence for attempted voter fraud or tampering. Voting crime is a crime against every other American.

2. Money is not speech. Democracy requires every voter to have an equal voice. Those with more money, have a louder voice over the din, undermining democracy and democratic elections. If voters have only 2 choices proposed by those with money, then those with money have the only voice in an election. Public financing of election campaigning is the only avenue toward insuring one person, one vote and independent voter choice.

3. End politically motivated district gerrymandering. Divide each state in half, down the middle in square acreage, for U.S. Senate districts. Require House districts to be equal in number of voters, and rectangular, with a limit on the maximum number of house districts in a state tied to the overall state population. While not a perfect solution, it will end most of the egregious assaults on democratic elections and majority choice by the political parties.

4. Limit the power of presidential or governor pardons of convicted criminals where the crime involves public elections, tax evasion, or criminal intent involving government operations and execution of government functions. The public trust in government must be restored, and that can only happen if those who are convicted of undermining the public trust, receive the same justice as all other citizens convicted of crimes.

5. Justice depends upon impartial judges and courts. Hence, all judges must be subject to removal by some due process of law, when their actions become politically biased. Appointments must be made by a process far more innoculated against political prejudice that the current systems.

6. U.S. citizen corporate shareholders all have the opportunity to vote. Corporations are not people. They are groups of people and groups of people should not be entitled to privileged access to government actions beyond that extended to all other citizens. Every citizen has the right to lobby government as an individual. Corporations and associations should be limited to one representative lobbyist only, just like any individual citizen.

7. The executives in a corporation or association should be held legally and criminally liable for the actions of their corporation or association, where such actions criminally harm the public welfare or undermine democratic or government processes. The power of associations and corporations to harm the public welfare is enormous in many cases, and the responsibility by executives to insure against public harm must be commensurately large and tied to their relative compensation within the organization. Tying public responsibility to compensation and management responsibility is the only means the public has of defending itself against criminal intent by executives of corporations and associations.

8. Political parties should be an opt-in organization. They are after all, little more than organizations whose purpose is to advertise and market their own brand, highlighting their strengths and hiding their deficiencies. Since, it is fair and just that citizens may not be bombarded by private marketing and advertising firms via their email or phones in an unsolicited fashion, political parties should also be so limited. Citizens should have the power to opt-in, or out, of advertising and marketing by political parties.

8. Political campaigning via publicly owned channels of communication should be restricted to the six months preceding an election. Perpetual political campaigning targeting the public is an abuse of publicly owned communication channels which must also serve a host of other public services. Perpetual campaigning results in a loss of interest and tuning out of political information by a majority of Americans, thus weakening the potential for informed consent on election day.

Currently, in America, democracy sucks. It is failing its most basic principles, one person, one vote, and an informed and vested independent choice by each and every voter based on the most readily available information preceding an election. Democracy, we have been warned, is a terrible form of government, except for all the rest. Democracy can never be a perfect way of insuring responsible government. However, if it, and its principles, are vigorously defended by the people, it doesn't have to suck.

It can enable a more responsible and accountable government that self-corrects wrongs committed by its executors. This was the hope and design of the most enlightened founders of our nation. We have the responsibility of living up to that design as guardians of our democratically elected republic. We were handed a healthy newborn government with the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, but like any newborn, what it becomes as an adult will be largely a result of the parenting it receives. We voters are the parents of our democracy and society. We must take charge of our founder's offspring to insure the best possible future for our own. The only way to do that is to vote out our own incumbents when we can't approve of the government we have.
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After reading your article about the faulty U.S. political system, I think you'll be interested in covering this story:

Inspired by the realists who are discussing the dangers of the current campaign finance system, Votes for Charity, Inc. is a revolutionary new not-for-profit organization that will help redirect wasteful campaign spending toward top-rated U.S. charities. Following on Stephen Colbert’s brilliant Super PAC reporting, we hope to create a media firestorm that will force a legal battle about our “charitable, democratic protest”.

Votes For Charity has the potential to charitably raise the collective consciousness of this country, and demonstrate exactly how outrageous a system we have, by A) providing a mechanism that dramatically alters the way political parties can engage and recruit disillusioned and undecided voters, and B) giving the disillusioned voters a platform from which to voice their general distrust of both parties, while attempting to support highly rated, non-partisan, domestic causes.

In order to earn the votes of our “Volunteer Voters”, politically motivated donors from each party will demonstrate their commitment to important causes by attempting to out-give each other in VFC's “Giving Contest”.

In return, our entire block of “Volunteer Voters” has pledged their votes to whichever party donates the most to our 80 highly-rated, non-partisan, domestic charities. These Volunteer Voters are people like you and me, who agree that the current system is a corporatocracy that renders each of us unable to differentiate between the major corporate spokespersons (aka, the candidates). To force the system to change, these Volunteer Voters have taken a drastic measure. They have decided that instead of choosing the lesser of two evils, they will use their votes to do something charitable and revolutionary.

Please check out www.VotesForCharity.org, and watch our introduction video at YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJ0Cl9EHsts&feature=relmfu

I think you'll be fascinated.


Ben Barnett
Founder and President , Votes for Charity, Inc.
Website: www.VotesForCharity.org Email: ben@votesforcharity.org
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y88QoLlHW0g&feature=g-all-pls
Twitter: @VotesForCharity

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on April 23, 2012 5:51 PM.

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