As I wrote in my last post, the intention of the Constitution, when written, was to design a system in which only two parties could control the entirety of thought in America. The intention was so that revolution couldn’t easily come from within the system.
Considering that the Constitution came on the heels of a revolution, those people were trying to write a system that sounded good even if it wasn’t. They were trying to avoid future revolutions. To be real, too many people have put their hands into it. The Constitution has been taken apart and analyzed and given so many meanings that I’m not sure anybody is really all that fair to it.
The largest problem, if we wish to evolve as a society, is that America is not a democracy. Even if we wish to say it is a representative democracy, it doesn’t represent all that many people. Today, after being bastardized, this democracy really only represents the elite and corporations. I’ll argue that it’s being true to its intentions even if not true to the wonderful words we memorize in school.
I put an x-axis up on my last post. This is how we are forced to look at thought in today’s society. We have tagged ideologies as either “left” or “right” from center. We have even labeled people as “moderates” or “centrists” or “extremists” in order to determine degrees from the center they are. But it’s not really fair to pin people down on how they think and how they are represented in this government. That’s not democracy. That’s team sports.
The above graph is the same graph I used to isolate the x-axis before. Even if not measurable, people don’t think on the same line from one another. There should be a way to think above or below the line and still be represented.
But if you try to introduce a third party into the system, we are simply putting together a party that cannot compete at any level so it gets dismissed. The two parties which run the country and are financed by the biggest of corporations hold unlimited power and are not really beholden to the people they are supposed to represent.
The entire y-axis is being ignored.
I don’t believe much should change at the local level. Or even to the House. But the rest of the system is broken. I do believe, in order to allow for the y-axis of thought, all races should change to highest score wins. At the very least, the threshold needs to be moved down so that people are not afraid to vote outside the powers that control.
Gerrymandering needs to go. The local representatives need to represent their neighbors.
First, election day should be a national holiday. People should be encouraged to vote and should be automatically registered when they turn 18. Why would we discourage people from voting by making them jump hoops or try to find time from their jobs when people are working more hours and more off shifts are common? I realize that the people in power don’t actually want everybody to vote. I realize. But it’s not consistent with the term “democracy” at all.
Second, get rid of the Electoral College. It doesn’t even make sense anymore. Maybe it made sense when the distribution of the population over 13 small states was fairly even it kind of made sense. The Electoral College alienates voters and encourages many voters to not even participate in general elections. My home state, for instance, generally votes Democrat even though there are large pockets which are very Republican leaning. These people are discouraged from voting with the current system because they have little influence on the overall outcome of the Presidential race. Which means they may not participate at the local level at all.
Even if we believe that representation should happen at all levels, then let the states be proportionally allocated. You get a proportion of the college from each state. It’s okay.
Next, if we are supposed to be a representative democracy, then why is the Senate winner take all seats? This is where I believe the biggest change needs to happen.
There are 100 Senate seats. The people should vote each year and allocate so many seats to each party. This would actually be a representative democracy. It really does not make sense for Delaware to have as many Senate seats as California or New York. The representation at that level is not distributed appropriately.
Let’s say four parties are running. For simplicity’s sake, let’s call them parties A, B, C, and D. Each voter would select a party for whom to vote and then rank choice the preference for who should lead that party at the Senate level.
If Party D only gets 2% of the vote, they only get two seats in the Senate, but they will get to represent a proper amount of the population. If Party A pulls in 41% of the vote, that’s how many seats they get to fill. Not a majority, but at least they will have to work with the other parties to pass legislation and confirmations- because those should always stay at a majority.
We need to get rid of Citizens United in order for this to work.
The wealthy already get more advantages in this world than the rest of us. Why should they get a larger say in the political process?
A major problem with the system today is that parties are not only financed at a high level, but they are also driven from the national level. Top-down politics has taken away from true representation in our system. Representation should be bottom-up. Grass roots politics has never really existed in our system.
This shouldn’t be important:
We shouldn’t be worried about labels. We should be worried about ideas. We should take concern with what the big picture of the candidate. With the petty two party system that exists today, we get caught up in simple ideas.
What should matter is that our representatives should reach back into the community, and be required to do this, in order to properly represent the region from which they came.
Our senators should, in our ever shrinking world, be required to hold online meetings in order to truly represent those who voted that person into office.
What should be required is that we should be involved and not discouraged.
Even if you find politics petty and boring, it should be accessible.
I remember back in fifth grade as we sat around learning about the people who decided to break away from England because they wanted to form a more perfect system. I remember the words they used to charge up their base.
Taxation without representation.
Why do those words mean even less now?
Because I am a middle aged man who has never felt represented. If you want to tell me those words were hollow, I’ll believe you. Because they didn’t believe that all men were created equal. They didn’t believe in the words “We the people…” and they certainly didn’t write on behalf of the poor or women or slaves.
But it doesn’t mean we cannot demand a better democracy.
In fact, I believe we should take those words above all else and demand a form of government which represents the people more often and more fairly than ever.
Our taxes deserve a stroll up and down the y-axis.