Randomly Selected Representation: the Only Way to Save our Nation
The elite founders of the United States, Hamilton and Adams among others, didn’t want to give control of the nation to regular people. Thus, they set up a form of government that would favor the elite classes, a Republic, with tight control on elections and what candidates get chosen for political office. The choice of voting that the plutocrats have convinced us we have is not really a choice.
Instead of having elites chose other elites to run the nation as we currently have, we would be better off having representatives randomly selected to make laws and run our government. Currently, we elect wealthy people who represent extremely wealthy members of their own class. If we selected people from all classes and walks of life randomly, they would literally be representative of the people.
We need to rid ourselves of professional politicians and elections as we know them. Randomly Selected Representation (RSR) with rotating term-limited office holders chosen through a lottery system of qualified citizens within each district is a better system than the elections we currently have. The benefits of such a system would far out way the challenges. The people selected would not be beholden to special interests, political parties or narrow groups of citizens such as bankers, pharmaceutical representatives and weapon’s manufacturers who are only concerned with their own economic interests.
With RSR, there would be no campaigns to finance and no need for campaign finance laws. Currently, campaign donations are ways that elites ensure their rule over the nation. Our elections are not democratic. How can we in any way think that a person who is economically secure enough to give money to political campaigns, and can give millions of dollars, doesn’t have more influence on elections and the choice of candidates than less well off people in our society? It is the mass media and the political parties that prop up the myth that donations don’t overly influence elections and candidates.
Those that make the laws in our current system are unconcerned with creating elections that are truly democratic. Our elections are far from a meritocracy; they favor candidates who have or can get more money from powerful, moneyed interests.
There have been many attempts at campaign finance regulation, but they have failed. None of those laws dealt with the reality of the corrupting influence of money in the elections and politics of the United States.
There is no precedent nor facts to support the many people who believe that a few campaign finance laws will end the influence of the wealthy in our government. Ending the influence of money from billionaires and PACs, as writer Steve Gillman makes clear, is impossible, “The desire for campaign contribution limits ignores the simple fact that such laws simply reorganize the flow of money, without any meaningful effect on the nature of elections or the corruption that potentially follows them.” Paul Sherman writes in Forbes Magazine, that campaign finance laws, “don’t do anything to reduce the power of politicians, or the risk of corruption that comes from that power.” These laws give the false perception that everything will be alright if only campaign finance laws were passed. In fact, only RSR will eliminate the unconscionable influence the upper classes have on our elections.
The institution of Congress was never about creating equality in the law. It was set up to protect the wealth of the upper classes. We couldn’t do worse by randomly selecting qualified people who want to serve than we do by voting for debauched party candidates.
Everyday people can do better than professional politicians, despite what the media and ruling elite tell us. People believe that it takes special skills to work in Congress. What skills do you need to be a politician? Should you be able to solicit for money, pander to the wealthy, be hypocritical, lie, and look like you care about everyday people while passing laws to help the wealthy? Those are the skills that make politicians, especially members of Congress and the White House, successful. Those are not skills necessary to make the nation a better place for ordinary citizens.
Obviously, strict laws against bribery would have to be enforced and some education of new legislators would be needed under RSR. As long as Congress has a staff of lawyers to help write laws into legal language, lawyers without ties to corporations, there is no reason average citizens could not better represent themselves and the nation than a pay to play Congress full of wealthy ideologues that are beholden to large donors. In addition, there would still be a professional court to protect against unconstitutional law-making.
Certainly, there would a myriad of issues to address with this system. Some people will complain about a removal of choice. But what choice do we really have to select our Congress? As Noam Chomsky wrote in Z Magazine, “…elections are extravaganzas, essentially run by the public relations industry with the goal of marginalizing issues and voters…”
People may wonder what would happen if we get a crazy, uncooperative person in Congress. That is what we have now. Moreover, the same ability to impeach and remove office holders would exist under RSR.
Some people may be concerned about having unintelligent people selected to serve. In fact, a majority of Congress is of average intelligence, like the rest of us. If those selected were not mentally competent, if they were mentally challenged in some way, they would be taken out of the selection process. DSM IV standards would be used; Congress would not be able make up standards of mental competency to eliminate those they consider outliers like atheists, homosexuals, minorities, the poor or use other mechanisms to keep qualified citizens from office.
“But it is not democratic!”, some might complain. RSR is more democratic than what we have now, and it removes corruption from the process.
International relations, an area where experience is essential, could be a challenge. However, we would still have the strongest military in the world and a well trained diplomatic core that would help with this transition. A benefit of new leadership in international relations is fresh eyes and an ability to see and develop new solutions. Again, this is where certain qualifications, vetting or training might have to be addressed for the office of the presidency. Of course, the president would have a cabinet to advise them. Moreover, by cutting the ties Congress and the President have to the oil companies, military contractors and weapons developers, RSR may be a way to stop the endless cycle of war the United States faces.
Presidents should be selected from our citizen Congress. Moreover, the president would have to be a member of Congress under RSR and be given less power than the current president. Executive duties such as enforcing laws would be done by the whole legislature, with the president and the cabinet taking a critical role during emergencies. The presidency should also be one six-year term instead of two four-year terms to simplify the selection process.
With RSR, Congress would not have to spend about 30% of their time in office fundraising as they currently do. This fundraising is a waste of valuable legislative time, and it makes Congress beholden to large donors and not their constituents, the people. With RSR, campaign finance would not be an issue, and the new citizen Congress could spend their time learning about how Congress works and discussing issues without having to think about their donor base. Lobbyists could still talk to Congress, but they would no longer be able threaten a removal of campaign donations. Certainly, regulating lobbyists would have to be addressed by the new Congress.
It is clear that Congress and state legislatures have failed in their duties to our nation. It’s time to put the people in charge. It’s time for Randomly Selected Representation.