This seems like a good place to put this.... my political ideagreenspun.com : LUSENET : Sound Bytes : One Thread
THE CHILDRESS PROPOSAL - A POLITICAL SOLUTION
The problems with our current political processes are highlighted strongly by the current election here in the US, in my opinion. We have two candidates no one likes or respects very much, vying in a political arena that many of us have become disenchanted with. We see politicians mouthing platitudes and promises in order to get elected, who then proceed to take the system for all they can get. The traditional two party system has become a sham, a thin cover for greed and self interest.
We feel that something must be done to change this, but we, the people, don't know what to do. We know that the politicians will not pass laws detrimental to their ride on the gravy train, so expecting legislation to limit campaign contributions, number of terms served, or the raise that a Senator or Representative can vote him or herself is not realistic, sad as it is to say so.
I concentrate on the United States here, because I am a citizen of that country, but I am sure, people being what they are, that other countries with some form of democracy must have similar problems. I do not mean to exclude them in my concentration on the US, but rather say nothing, based on my ignorance of life in those countries.
I have a proposal for a radical change in how we practice governance. To implement it would take a shift in mindset, a change in our very view of government and politics. It would not be easy, and I am sure it would have its own inherent problems, but I sincerely believe that it would not be much worse than the state we find ourselves in now.
Here it is: Get rid of the traditional political parties. This would eliminate partisan politics and enable people to look at what the elected officials are doing, instead of who they are, or who they say they are.
In place of the adversarial relationship of Democrat and Republican, establish two groups, one whose function would be to administer domestic policy and one to administer foreign policy.
Have each group alternate four year terms, each concentrating on its specialty. This would mean that for four years, the country would focus on domestic problems that need attention, making life better for the citizenry, and then the next four years' focus would be on the country's relationship with the world at large.
Neither group would have any jurisdiction over the other, so that for the four years of the domestic group's tenure, no foreign policy would be changed, and likewise, during the foreign group's tenure, no changes would be made to domestic policy. This way, the people would be assured that each aspect of the country's welfare would be equally looked after, and that one group would not tear down what the other group did. Also, the fact that it would only be a guaranteed four years to wait for either program to come back into focus would assure that no one would be neglected.
The people would elect these officials at an agreed upon time, for agreed upon limits. But they would vote for each group, thus eliminating the need for party politics. This would give them the say in who does the jobs, but would keep the basic structure of nonpartisanship a reality.
This is a rough outline of an idea, but I think it is one worth considering. Things have gotten bad enough in the current process that I feel a radical change is the only way to do any good, whether this proposal or another one. Basically, it is my opinion that we need to start thinking outside the box if we are to make a real difference in how we are governed.
-- Lisa (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 27, 2000
Lisa: IMO, an excellent analysis of the problem and a terrible solution.
The political parties were not established by the government. Parties, in every democracy, were formed by people with common interests. To forcefully abolish those parties would be a massive violation of the rights of free speech and free association. Any government that thought it could do that, I would quickly reject. Any government that actually succeeded, I would flee in terror.
But your basic analysis, I agree with. It's really two issues - the entrenchment of a two-party system and the importance of money.
Parties - In most parliamentary systems, there are two major parties and many minor parties. A party that meets a threshold, say 5% of the popular vote, gets representation in the parliament. When the major parties don't have majorities, they have to form coalitions with the minor ones. Thus people have incentive to form and join new parties when the majors don't meet their needs. This is more difficult in a representative democracy, where a party must field candidates who win majority votes or they have no representation at all.
Money - The candidate with the most money puts on the most TV ads and convinces the most voters. A few approaches here. We can change how the money is raised to limit corrupting influences. We can change how it is spent, to reduce the importance of money raised through corrupting influences. Or we can figure out why so many voters are so brainless that they vote for the candidate who achieves the most repetitions of a 30-second commercial.
I'll let you propose solutions to either of these problems. I haven't come up with much.
-- Wally (DPWally@DELETEMEyahoo.com), July 28, 2000.
Hey, Lisa, Wa's Da Haps ?? I love you like i love my own sister, Fellatia---and *don't* get me started on her, O K ??. BTW, Your personal "Re-Inventing Government" plan, was tried by Al Gore. Didn't work very well, did it ?? "Ignore" Foreign Policy for four straight years ?? Now I *KNOW* you've been sniffing the paint-thinner again...
-- Digital Vortex (email@example.com), July 28, 2000.
Here's a much more direct and to the point proposal.
Simply limit the number of terms of office to which a politician may be elected to ONE.
Then, let them steal everything they can.
Then, when their term is up, take them out and execute them.
There would be no want of candidates. Still, there are some benefits.
-- Billybob 9 (Muawiyah@hotmail.com), July 29, 2000.
This article has all the references to political party convention stuff on the net. Should be useful. HOME: SCIENCE: STORY Web Sites Cannot Get Enough Convention Time 10:44 a.m. ET (1444 GMT) July 30, 2000
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) The Big Three U.S. TV networks will devote less air time than ever to the upcoming Republican and Democratic national conventions.
But politics junkies will not have to miss a minute, thanks to an explosion of political Web sites sending their own reporters to the conventions and offering the public the opportunity to be "dot-com'' delegates.
The Internet will play its biggest role ever when the Republicans meet July 31 to Aug. 3 in Philadelphia and the Democrats convene in Los Angeles Aug. 14 to 17 to kick off the final phase of the 2000 presidential campaign.
Hundreds of reporters for news Web sites will be on hand to cover platform debates and nominees' acceptance speeches. Those covering the Republicans (http://www.gopconvention.com) will tap into a private Internet network to check agendas, see texts of speeches and access Congressional Quarterly background.
At both the Republican and Democratic conventions, the public is being urged to join the proceedings as virtual delegates by filling out online surveys on platform issues.
America Online (http://www.aol.com) subscribers will watch gavel-to- gavel coverage and participate in nightly chats on the day's developments with well-known political commentators and news makers. Through the site's Election Guide 2000 they also can participate in polls, match their views against candidates' stated opinions and read the daily diaries of delegates AOL has asked to chronicle their convention experiences.
Residents of all 50 states except New Hampshire, North Dakota and Wyoming, can even register to vote online, through a link to BeAVoter.org (http://www.beavoter.org).
'DIP IN A LITTLE OR WADE IN ALL THE WAY'
"We see it as an opportunity for the average citizen to pick what they want out of it,'' said Kathleen deLaski, AOL's director of political and government programming and a former ABC News political correspondent. "That's what's nice about the Net. You can dip in a little or wade in all the way.''
The pervasive nature of 2000 campaign coverage is a far cry from the first presidential election of the online age in 1992. Bill Clinton was a dark horse out of Arkansas then and election coverage consisted of messages voters left each other on proprietary electronic bulletin boards that pre-dated the Web.
"We didn't know what online access was'' back then, said Adelaide Elm, a founding board member at Project Vote Smart (http://www.vote- smart.org), a nonprofit political site in Philipsburg, Montana.
Project Vote Smart set up its first Web site in time for the 1996 election. This year, the non-partisan site is tracking issues, voting records and other information on 13,149 federal, state and local elected officials and candidates. Earlier this year, the organization teamed up with MTV (http://www.mtv.com) and Rock the Vote (http://www.rockthevote.com) to boost 18- to 25-year-olds' interest in politics and voting.
In 1996, Josh King worked at the White House creating photo opportunities for Clinton's reelection campaign. This year, he is helping run SpeakOut.com (http://www.speakout.com), one of a number of Web startups looking to make money providing political coverage. Its forte is in real-time interactive polling.
In one deal, the private Washington company is teaming up with MSNBC (http://www.msnbc.com) to conduct real-time polling of people's reactions to convention speakers.
'NATIONAL EKG' OF CONVENTION VIEWERS
While they watch the proceedings on MSNBC TV, people can log on to SpeakOut.com, fill out a short demographic survey, then use a scale of 1 to 100 to rate speakers and speeches.
SpeakOut.com SAYS IT can handle up to 8,000 participants at a time and compile results of polls within minutes, producing ''a national EKG'' of what people think, as King put it.
With both the Republican and Democratic parties using other versions of SpeakOut.com's interactive polling technology on their official Web sites, King said, "Information is no longer a one-way street.''
Other Web sites that will be tracking the campaigns or candidates through Election Day are:
Al Gore's official Web site (http://www.algore2000.com);
Campaign 2000 C-SPAN (http://www.c-span.org/campaign2000/). The cable TV network lets visitors search video clips of candidates talking about campaign issues and compare candidates' policy positions;
Democratic National Convention (http://www.dems2000.com), the convention's official Web site;
George W. Bush official Web site (http://www.georgewbush.com);
Northern Light Presidential Campaign 2000 (http://special.northernlight.com/election/), an online reference library that has compiled links to dozens of online campaign and political resources;
Reform Party National Convention (http://www.reformparty.org/convention2000), details for the group's Aug. 10-13 gathering in Long Beach, California.
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-- Billybob 9 (Muawiyah@hotmail.com), July 30, 2000.
Lisa, a wonderful thought, and you are right, but what to do about it? You can vote for Nader, or the Libertarians, but as long as there is that much money flowing to the powers that be, nothing will change.
-- BG (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 01, 2000.
Well, money buys votes, for sure.
But ever since George Washington (who disliked what he called "factions") gave up the ghost, we've had political parties, and we have 'em 'cause people want them. Your proposal would require of course a wholesale revision of the Constitution, and even then I am sad to say that I don't think it would work. How would the two groups be chosen, to pick one small example -- by election? How would the election be organized? Mm. Would there perhaps be, um, political parties formed by the people to aid in selecting the groups...?
I think that we should federally fund all federal elections, and forbid anyone to spend any money outside of what the government pays; TV and radio should be required to provide free air time for all elections. All candidates, incumbent or not, would get the same amount of money and the same air time. Candidates from non-major parties, or independents, could qualify for funding and air time by either having gotten 5% of the vote in a prior election within two election cycles (either the parties or the individual candidates) or by submitting petitions having signatures equivalent to 2% of the votes for the office in the election immediately preceding. Debates would be mandatory, the number and timing to vary by office, but everyone getting funding would be required to participate.
Of course, this would also require Constitutional amendments to implement.
-- GRC (GRCCRG@hotmail.com), August 01, 2000.
BG that is very true... it would take another revolution to substantially change the political horizon....
GRC, if you had read carefully you would have seen that I stated that the reps for the domestic and foreign groups would be elected. I dont want to do away with free elections, just the Prizefight atmosphere of our current system, where one group wins and does its best to tear down what the previous group did, good or bad, just because that group did it....
Your ideas are excellent too.... and you are right about the problems inherent in any kind of change.....
At least people are thinking!
-- Lisa (email@example.com), August 01, 2000.
I figured they had to be elected, just missed seeing the word. Point remains, if you have elections, you're gonna have political parties in a free society. The Sun comes up in the East with the same inevitability.
-- GRC (GRCCGR@hotmail.com), August 02, 2000.
OK, let's say we just let the wealthy carve out territories which they are pledged to defend. Then, everybody in the country gets to pick which rich guy they want to have protect them and they move there and pledge loyalty to the rich guy.
Every now and then the rich guys could get together in legislative bodies we could call "estates", and discuss what laws they might like to have. Each could pick and chose the laws they wanted.
Then, they would go back home and begin administring that law. They could hold local courts too.
Elections would be eliminated, of course.
The people living on the large areas owned by the rich guys (let's call them counties) would pay 1/5 of their annual income to the rich guy for government services.
In some areas, the people would get 216 days per year without labor.
Campaigns would no longer be necessary, so there would be no abuse of campaign fund raising laws.
Free speech, within limits, would be allowed, but nothing to get the people unduly or overly excited, and particularly nothing that would get the rich guys excited. The press would be fair and balanced.
Now I know there are those who would argue that we shouldn't just cave in to the rich guys. So, maybe every now and then we could get rid of the rich guys and bring in dedicated federal administrators.
What do you think?
Would it work? Would it eliminate abuses?
-- Billybob 9 (Muawiyah@hotmail.com), August 02, 2000.
Billybob, you have just described the Feudal System, that was in place for several hundred years, an era known as the Medieval times. It has been tried and it worked for a time, but inevitably corruption set in and something else had to take its place.
Seems like this corruption happens to any system after a while. Interesting huh?
GRC, of course you have to have elections in a free society and of course there would be people of different persuasions vying for control of things in the scenario I outlined. My point was, though, that alternating concentration on foreign and domestic issues, and not allowing the domestic group to destroy what the foreign group accomplished and vice versa, would keep some sort of badly needed balance.
-- Lisa (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 02, 2000.
BB9, just so long as in the process of bringing in, and eventually getting rid of, those federal administrators, we provide the Tree of Liberty with its natural manure.
Lisa has at least begun a thread that gets some attention!
-- GRC (GRCCGR@hotmail.com), August 03, 2000.
beebs....i laughed my ass off over that post of yer's...one problem...we'd soon run out of viable "runners" for the position available....the reason i say that is cuz they'd die after their term....not too many politicians are in the suicide buisness, afterall...
-- LunaticFringe (email@example.com), August 03, 2000.
WELL, That was boring! The cliche' fest is finally over. What Bullshit!
-- BG (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 03, 2000.
-- Lisa (email@example.com), August 04, 2000.
4 day infomercial Lisa.
-- BG (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 04, 2000.
and a bad one at that. I never knew the Republicans cared so much for the downtrodden of American.
-- BG (email@example.com), August 04, 2000.
BG, no doubt what your politics are. Democrats operate under the delusion that Republicans, in between making all the money in the world, have time to starve children, tip over the wheel chairs of the elderly, and break the remaining fingers of the physically handicapped!
You should turn around and take a look in the mirror some time you fornicating, dopsmoking baby killers in the Democratic Party!
-- Billybob 9 (Muawiyah@hotmail.com), August 06, 2000.
BEEBS, I think it is more a matter of hypocrisy. Let us not forget Mr. Newt, while leading the fight for impeachment of Bill Clinton, was having an affair with one of his interns. Besides, I'm an Independent, that just leans toward the Demos side. I would like to have seen McKain and Bradley running in this thing. I don't think either side picked the best man.
-- BG (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 07, 2000.
And if the Demos is as bad as the Repubs, I will let you know about it!
-- BG (email@example.com), August 07, 2000.