Sunday, September 2, 2007

Time to Reengineer Democracy?


Anonymous said...

Issue-based voting is an important concept, and probably superior to individual-based voting in most cases.

It is important to be able to select representatives based on character and integrity. But when forced to choose between a very small group (often two) of individuals, there is as little diversity of integrity as there is of policy.

Perhaps I do not thoroughly understand your idea, but it sounds to me remarkably like the sort of proportional representation available to people in European countries.

If the Labor Party gets 40 percent of the vote, it gets 40 percent of the seats in Parliament. If the Liberal Party gets 20 percent of the votes, they get 20 percent of the seats.

Is that similar to what you suggest, or have I misunderstood?

It seems to me that Americans would benefit greatly from a system like that. Why select one of two candidates who don't really care much about environmental issues, when you could elect at least one person who is willing to fight to protect the world that sustains us?

I think it would be better to have a few very committed, very vocal anti-trust crusaders in Congress than to have an entire Congress full of timid politicians who balance the public interst against their own election contributions.

` Johnny Rocket

Efraín M. Martresa said...

Many thanks for your comments, which I truly appreciate.
I mean exactly what you said: issue-based voting, but not what you say in "It is important to be able to select representatives based on character and integrity." which is the opposite of the proposal, where we will not vote for people anymore, like we don't vote for the military, teachers, bosses in private companies, and so on and on. We should prepare them to take over power as they advance in the ladder and learn more and get experienced to take over more responsibilities. We decide what we want to get done and they should achieve that. Now, of course checks and balances are always mandatory and I am not necessarily saying that we have to replicate the actual system of administration, we select somehow a way to redesign whatever we believe we should but leaving the doors open to more changes as we advance.

Now, about the "power" factor, in every field we have that, and certainly this a a crucial issue to properly address in a new system. Also, in my opinion votes should be worth as much as the knowledge of the issue, policy to decide, i.e., we should learn the pros and cons and vote according to our view, answering some 3 to 10 questions in the ballot.

Johnny, this is a general idea that should be first, approved by the people and if so, discussed among the best brains we can select, allowing all the people to participate perhaps using technological advances.

My proposal is not the same as the European cases you mention. The people in charge will be those just graduated (or not) who pass some specialized training in government and in their fields, like law, sports, diplomacy, environment, education, health, foreign relations, etc.

Needless to say, we are encouraged to think "out of the box" so we can dream of a real change and a better future for the coming generations.

Charles-A. Rovira said...

The problem with republics is the same as with monarchies. After a while, the noble intentions at the start are as dead as the noble individuals which founded the kingdom or the republic. (The methods of creation for either are equally bloody.)

If we want a representative government, we’ll have to RE-create it. (There were no parties in 1776.)

If we want smaller government, we'll have to take out the incentives for its growth too.

The error of (y)our ways is that, despite the evidence of hundreds of years of history, you keep on electing self-selected, self-anointed members of the millionaires club, people who have no understanding of what the lives of the citizens of this country are like.

That fits in with Einstein's definition of insanity: "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

Lets examine how the situation has really devolved since the founding of this country.

We've become a government
• OF the thousandaires (the 99%, that would be me and thee,)
• BY the millionaires (the 1%, that would be the extremely insular privileged overlords and bosses,)
• FOR the billionaires (the 12,400 individuals identified by the IRS as the people who count (though they don't really count as they hire some thousandaires to run machines to do that.)

How is this different than the political situation that led to the founding of the United States?

It isn't, really.

One system had privilege being a condition of one's birth.

The situation in the United States is the (cess)pool of nobles has expanded to people that the corporations like and are willing to fund.

The first thing we do is change from an ELECTED to a SELECTED form of government.

Pick names at random out an eligible citizen pool and they’re stuck with doing the job for one, and only one, four year term.

There could/should/would be no such thing as a career in politics. (The only thing worse than getting stuck with somebody who didn’t want the job is getting stuck with some idiot who did, figuring it was going to lift him a few rungs up the social/economic ladder.)

And don't give me that bullshit about average citizens don't know enough about politics.

Average citizens know right from wrong and are likely to at least read a bill before they sign and pass it on.

Average citizens know enough to be suspicious and not so venial and blinded by the lure of undeserved re-election.

Eligibility requirements are:
• were you born here or are you a naturalized citizen?
• are you a permanent resident in a village, town or city within our borders?
• are you above the age of 25?
• are you healthy enough? (you don't suffer from any clinical health issue(s) or mental impairment(s) which would prevent you from fulfilling your duties?)
• have you never served on the government before?
• have you never been found guilty of a violent crime?
• have you never been found to be clinically insane?

Answer yes to all of these questions, you’re eligible for selection.

Don’t want to be bothered?

Go live elsewhere or STFU!

That would get rid of all PACs, K Street lobbyists, a lot of graft, waste and expense that WE'RE all paying for.