Voting, Patriotism and All That Jazz

A discussion over on Dave Dubya's Freedom Rants got me thinking about the solution to the problems we are all so worried about.

This is something that I really want to write about in depth, but for now I would like to propose some meandering thoughts on how to quell the corruption and indifference and self serving interests that we see in our current form of government. Solving this would certainly solve a lot of other problems that we are facing. Uncorrupted representatives would actually work to serve the constituents who elected him or her to their current position. Judgments and alliances wouldn't be made under the guise of good, but in reality be for the benefit of a few - be it monetary gain or simply career catapulting moves.

I've touched on this subject before, in the Anarchist's education overhaul post. First and foremost, if we must have a government (which by the standards of many, we must no matter how much I disagree) then we must remind the people in the government positions that they are servants. They work for us. They are not power laden individuals who are above the law. They are not there to line their pockets and fill their A list books and propel their career. The job entails working to create and foster a country with programs and policies that benefit the people who live in the country. So a few of the changes that I would recommend are;

A) Stricter term limits - for all branches of government. From town mayors to presidents to judges on the supreme court. No more permanent positions - anywhere. Senators and congressman can only have so many terms before they must step down permanently. Stricter rules about who may run for president. In order to avoid a dynasty style government - I think it would be wise to prevent immediate family members of presidents to run for president. Children, cousins, spouses etc... If they have already lived in the Whitehouse, or visited enough times that they might as well have lived there, then they are out. They can't run for president.

B) Who may run - I think actually lowering the age of candidates would be a good idea. Lets get some fresh blood in there. Lets get some idealists and optimists and not-yet-corrupted individuals in there. There are always the older, wiser advisors to help younger candidates out if they lack experience in certain areas - but lets face it, younger generations bring fresh perspectives, and fresh perspectives are usually a good thing.

C) Get corporations out of the game. Large financial contributions in return for favors should be stopped now. Let the candidates raise funds by appealing to the voters - not the corporations. (Changing the idea that corporations are considered "individuals" with the same rights as you and I have would be a great start).

D) Change the way the "nominee" game is played. No more national bipartisan nominations. Start the election process (for president anyway) in each local town - where real people can vote on a local level who they would like to see progress to the next level (state) then once the states have picked their nominee let the nation start narrowing down from there. Its like American Idol - so folks should be able to get the concept. It'll be a tough adjustment at first - but I think if we could just get the hang of it, we would have access to a number of fresh candidates that we would never have had before. Fresh is best.

E) Get rid of the electoral college - and of course, put a PolySci course in every school starting in grade school.

For now, those are my basic thoughts on it. I want to expand them, experiment with them, and see where they lead. Even if those ideas get scrapped - I think its safe to say that something new must be done. It is our patriotic duty to see that it is.


an average patriot said...

You know Anok it drives me crazy but we have to change first. We are the fools who keep voting these idiots back even though they do a lousy job. We have to start holding them accountable at the ballot box and I do.
Right now they do not work for us and we vote them back in anyway. The people have to wake up first. Like it or not it is up to us because as you say these idiots don't care. We have to make them care or regardless of party Hasta La Vista Baby or however you say it!

Anok said...

I agree, but the crux of the problem is that in our current system folks like you and I have been locked out of all but the voting part of the process.

The deck is stacked - so how can we change, really, unless we start from the ground up?

Until the "old boy's club" mentality dies at the top then our country will continue to be an old boy's club. Rife with cheap cigars and soured whiskey faces.

Renegade Eye said...

Ron Paul (Capitalism in one country) is the most reactionary candidate of all. He wants US to stay within its borders, but doesn't recognize capitalism here is at the imperialist stage.

We need a mass party based on the working class. In the US, that would be like our 1917.

Dave Dubya said...

How about a mandatory civics course on the Constitution in every tax supported school for a start? And a copy of the Bill of Rights posted in front of every polling place.

Then we move on with clear purpose towards ending corporate personhood. It is an artificial and absurd perversion of our rights as human beings. It was a clerical, not a judicial decision in the first place.

I thank Thom Hartmann for his book, Unequal Protection in my discussion of this issue in my Democracy Imperiled post from last 4th of July.

And of course, we need public financing for public elections. Period.

Then, as we all agree, no more Republican Voting Machine Inc. There is no hope for democracy with abstract and easily corrupted digital votes. A real, physical ballot must be the only way to verify an election result.

An important step needs to be taken before all of this can be realized. As Hartmann says on his Air America show, we the people need to reclaim the Democratic Party. It is the only viable tool we have. As much as I detest the idea of joining a party, I think it is the only way to check the Republicans and their corporate masters.

Anok said...

Ren, I agree. I got nothin' else to add what you've said!

Dave Dubya, Yes, yes, and yes! Although I do have concerns about government funding for candidates. To me, that screams of partisanship, bias, and is far too susceptible to corruption. So long as the candidates are funded through private citizens (through donations) - and even then politics will still be in the domain of the rich and thus powerful.

Perhaps a campaign fund cap would be in order. Each candidate can only receive so much, and they have to work with what they've got. It levels the playing field.

Dave Dubya said...

If we could have the fairness doctrine restored so that all candidates get equal time and access on the airwaves. The media need to be cut out of the profit aspect of elections.

They are are licensed to the supposed public airwaves. It should be their obligation to freely air candidates as a license requirement.

I'm tired of seeing the National Association of Broadcasteres being the winners of every election.