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The Political Systemís Broken. Letís Fix It!

 article about democracy is broken
2014-01-13 07:28:55
Is our political system broken? Whew, is it ever! It's in shambles! Let's look at some of the brokenness. First, lawmakers at all levels continue to be caught illegally feathering their own nests at the expense of the taxpayer. It doesn't matter the party. A friend of mine opined that the Potomac River must contain a narcissistic virus which infects congressional members. Neophytes elected to clean up the mess in Washington end up creating another mess. As an old childhood ditty reminds,

Same song, second verse
Could be better, but it's gonna be worse!


And so goes the third, fourth, and fifth verses, ad naseum.

Rule by the Rich
Second, just in case there's anyone left out there who didn't know it, a cursory view of our congressional delegation provides clear evidence that, indeed, our Democracy has been taken over by a rich gentry. Reportedly, one hundred twenty three members of the four hundred and thirty five members of the House of Representatives have at least one million dollars. The others aren't far behind. And forty Senators are in what one report called The Millionaires Club. Some of these gentrified rich kids got that way in office. Doesn't that make you
scratch your head in wonderment? Most inherited wealth, which should lead us to question our penchant for equating intelligence with money. That's an historical remnant we need to get rid of! And fast.

Controlled by Lobbyists
Third, is there anyone left in this country who doubts the stranglehold held on legislation by lobbyists! My what mental gymnastics would I think that my phone call, letter, or email, trump the will of a lobbyist who has been wining and dining my political representative for years? And this lobbyist's organization consistently contributes thousands of dollars to my guy's campaign coffer. Good grief, the whole political system, our so-called Democracy, is about money -- soft, hard, and laundered money. Why? Because raising money is every politician's major concern.

Is it any wonder that legislation benefits those who pony up the big bucks? If you're a congressperson and the American Medical Association gave you $100,000 wouldn't you look favorably upon their legislative counsel and needs? Of course you would! If you didn't you could kiss your re-election sayonara. Or again, who would you allow into your office? The person who contributed $5,000 toward your campaign or the one who didn't donate a dime? The big contributor, of course. And, whose needs will you respond to? Obviously, the heavy contributor. Yes, I remember the flap over Bill Clinton's group letting heavy contributor's stay in the Lincoln bedroom. Who should any administration allow in any bedroom? Their enemies? How much sense does that make? Folks, our government is all about money. It has been for a long, long time. Money controls this government. The rest of us, the hoi polloi, the middle-class and poor, why, we're just pawns and cannon fodder in this big money game we call, lamely, I might add, a Democracy.

In 431 B.C. a Greek named Pericles said a democracy existed when all the people had a voice in its operation -- not a minority. How do we fit this historical status? Barely half the eligible voters show up. No dummies, they evidently know the systems rigged and that all the campaign falderal is just meaningless gibberish. The inside the beltway crowd doesn't care a twit what the unwashed masses think or need. It's reported that approximately forty-four million Americans can't afford health care. (There's not enough space to specify all such current political system failures, but you can rest assured that our lawmakers allocate to themselves lucrative retirement and health benefits that the majority of
American can only dream about!)

Dominated by Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum
Third, most thoughtful citizens realize the necessity of having political competition. A true Democracy needs several parties. Yet, contemporary party competition reminds me of my junior-high days. Few politicians, if any, seem to be able to work together for the sake of the Nation. Republicans fault anything the Democrats do when they are in office.

And, in turn, the Democrats fault anything the Republicans do when their in office. Tit for tat. The really rabid members on each side either don't have any brains or they just decide to park them for political gain. Party interest has eclipsed the Nation's interest in the minds of most party stalwarts. Each party demonizes the other. And Republican and Democratic Party hacks are never able to admit screw-ups. Never. It's always someone else's fault.

"My enemies are out to get me."

Or, political front men just flat lie; which is now called spin. Isn't it wonderful that lying has become spinning. And each political group sits around developing the best spins. "Yeah, let's see what spin we can put on this." Translated: "Ölet's see what lies we can send out that the gullible public will accept."

Meanwhile, we probably should be asking ourselves if we really want to export this stuff? It's not hard to see how the moneyed elites in other countries would love it, but the poor? Come on, get real. It's broken!

A Fix-it Option: The Black Box
Any lasting fix has to get the money out of the process. Under the existing system an honest political candidate, running for office, basically says:

"Hi, my name's Joe (or Susie)
Blow. I need you to give me some money
so I can go get me a job. And, by the
way, I won't pay you back."

But why should one have to be rich or beg for money to serve in government? This has undermined our Democracy. So, I think it's time we scrap the present electoral system, parties and all, and try something radically different. Let's opt for something that is truly democratic. And, no, I don't believe it's safe to allow the existing political establishment to engineer any new process. To do so is tantamount to allowing a bunch of thieves to design a new bank vault!

I propose we elect our leaders by putting all the eligible candidates in a computerized black box. Every four years the computer will randomly select one person out of the black box who will serve as president of the United States for four years. And another for vice-president. But both are to serve only four years. After four years these people return to their former jobs. There is, therefore, no need for any sitting president, or vice-president, to raise any money for some foreseeable election. There are no elections, and, therefore, no professional politician, no legal role for lobbyists, and no buying of public office. Money is not a factor in the equation. The presidency would be an office for any ordinary citizen: rich, poor, peanut farmer, rancher, actor, used car salesman, teacher, housewife, beautician, grocer, professional wrestler, or whatever. This randomly selected average citizen will be far more likely to represent the interests of all the people than what we've been getting. This same process should be used by states for choosing senators and representatives.

Why not? What we've got isn't working! It certainly couldn't be worse.




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