- Politics and Social Issues»
- United States Politics
I know how to save the country
It may be too late
There is a very real public dissatisfaction with the way this country is being managed. This has been demonstrated by the popularity of the Tea Party and by the voter animosity toward incumbents in almost all elected offices. The upcoming elections will surely result in some apparent changes but once these people arrive in WashingtonDC the revolution will likely fizzle.
Over several decades of working in industrial environments and troubleshooting machinery I learned one very important lesson. When something fails, you cannot accomplish an effective repair until you dig down to the root cause of the problem. For example: If a fuse blows you do not simply replace the fuse and go back to your hiding place to drink coffee. You make an effort to determine what caused the fuse to blow. If you never find out why the fuse blew, you will be back to replace the fuse several times until someone makes you find the root cause.
Simply electing a bunch of relatively unknown politicians is like replacing a bunch of fuses. We are not looking for the real problem – the root cause. The people we elect are doomed to failure unless we address the root cause. Every one has ideas what the real problem is and most of them are wrong. We can continue throwing people at the problem until someone actually stumbles upon a real solution. The problem with this approach is the people we send. These are, by default, professional politicians. Politicians have no problem-solving skills. They are effective public speakers, great deal-makers, snappy dressers, and have the skeletons in their closets buried too deep for the press and opposition to smell them.
Political office is achieved by a combination of advertising money and media-friendly sound bytes. The votes go to the candidates with the best speech writers and publicity professionals. There is always a message that is intended to attract voters. The candidate may actually have sincere beliefs in the message but success requires the support of big money sources. The two largest money sources are the major political parties. The party leaders have the power and connections to make or break any campaign. The candidates have to start the deal-making just to be elected. Once elected, the primary focus is to do nothing that will impair re-election. The most effective way to fail a re-election attempt is to anger the party that elected the candidate. The party’s money and power will oppose you.
I have a couple of bold suggestions that can change the way the government operates. I will anger everyone who believes I am serious and entertain the rest. I have been promoting these two Ideas to my friends and acquaintances for several years. The current political turmoil gives me the best opportunity to actually make some people think.
As long as the two political parties control the government, the warfare between them will cripple the government’s ability to function effectively. The nation’s voters are beginning to realize the truth in that statement and are anxious to have another choice. The Tea Party is one half-hearted effort but it still sucks hard at the Republican money teat. I have not been made aware of any grassroots organization seeking the more liberal voters’ support for change. Only truly independent-minded people who have the backbone to stand up to the Powers-that-be can bring about change. Independent people with a message of change and the financial backing to spread that message are needed. Professional politicians cannot do it. I have a plan to break the stranglehold that the parties have on the country. I can leverage the power and money of special interest groups to force change. Today, these groups operate in the outer halls and back rooms and influence the politicians without answering to the voters. I propose that we stop paying elected officials from the government’s already overstretched coffers. Let the special interests pay for the support they get from elected officials but make them do it publicly and with the bright lights of the free press showing every thing they do.
Here is how this will work. I’ll take one very powerful special interest group as an example – Right to life. Almost no one will publically oppose the basic aims of this group and many will deny that it is a special interest group. They have a large public support and can count on financial support from the membership. The group will publically agree to support any specific candidates that also agree to vote in support of the right-to-life agenda. For the candidate this is just a small portion of the total pay he earns. He can publically take a paycheck from any group that he is willing to support and that is willing to support him. The most important thing here is the word public. Candidates will be required to publically acknowledge all groups that pay him. Support groups must publically acknowledge all candidates they are paying.
If a voter has a choice between a candidate with Right-to-life support and one with no pay from the group he can vote his conscience with the knowledge that the candidate will vote where his paycheck comes from. If right-to-life is not important to a voter he may choose to vote for the candidate that is paid by a hardcore anti-immigration group. The candidates are still elected from local precincts…etc. The more powerful and popular candidates will be able to get the support of many organizations. The voters in any locale will know what groups their candidates answer to. If a candidate is paid by the NRA, a voter opposed to private gun ownership will certainly vote against him. As voters we will know what we are voting for. We will have access to the information about any candidate running in our state and which groups are paying him. We will have access to the list of organized groups that are paying for support from elected officials. We can vote for the candidates who share our views or against candidates who publically oppose our personal views.
The under-the-table deals and dark room agreements would no longer corrupt the running of the country. We would not see a government crippled by party-line votes and controlled by the party leaders. With this kind of open government we could achieve a larger percentage of eligible voter participation because there would be real choices and some expectation of accountability to the electorate.
I could provide a much more involved explanation of this process because I have spent several years thinking and writing about it. If you are interested, take some time to think about the possibilities and how we can make this work. Someone needs to start a group to spread this around.
My second idea is much less complicated. When the differences between candidates are too blurred to tell them apart we need another choice: NONE OF THE ABOVE. This is the voters’ way to send a message to candidates that they have nothing to offer and we do not want any of them in office. If NOTA wins a simple majority in any election it is a sure indicator that the candidates are unacceptable. A new election is held and the previous candidates are prohibited from running in the new election. In order to win an election a candidate will have to show that he differs from the other candidates in ways that the voters can accept. Candidates will have to be responsive to voters’ demands.
Another benefit from this idea is the reduction or elimination of political attack ads. When two (or more) candidates start calling each other liars we will believe them and deny the office to all candidates. Until the public opinion professionals working on candidate staffs stop writing twisted ad statements and learn to focus on the candidates’ promises to voters, we will have to continue to elect NOTA.
I expect a lot of people will see me as a crackpot. I am old enough to not care. I certainly believe we need to change things in this country or your grandchildren may be speaking some language besides English. (I decided long ago that I would not bring children into this world and the world has gotten much, much worse.