When I contemplate the sad state of America today, the first thing that comes to mind is our political system.
We call ourselves a democracy, but are far from democratic. In a democracy, citizens vote on issues, taking an active role in decision making.
We are supposedly a republic, which is a representative democracy where citizens elect officials based on their platforms and promises, according to which candidates best represent their beliefs, and thus are most likely to vote the way that the constituents who elect them would vote.
We are actually more of an oligarchy, where the majority of power is held by a small group of people from certain families, communities, universities, and secret societies, and the monopoly of power is kept from the common people, with the rich and powerful controlling the military and law enforcement to protect them from retribution, all the while making decisions which are beneficial to the business interests that pay for their campaigns and support their opulent lifestyles with bribes once in office, rather than enacting legislation to protect and serve the workers of the lower and middle classes.
We are obviously not a meritocracy, wherein persons are elected or appointed and given power and responsibility based on talent and ability! If this were the case, we would see a lot less corruption and ineptitude in the daily news stories of our politicans’ exploits…
I think the main problem with our political process is that it’s designed so that being corrupt and getting paid off are too easy, and there are many rich and powerful interests lobbying the politicians to ensure that it remains that way.
If we reformed the nature of political positions to make them more transparent and accountable, then mostly only people who wanted to represent the people would bother getting into politics, with the exception of a few who are willing to work harder at being sneaky and underhanded.
I doubt that this will ever happen without a violent revolution, as the people responsible for reform are the same people who profit from corruption. However, for the sake of argument, I offer the following suggestions:
I suggest that politicians be held legally accountable for their platforms and the promises they make when campaigning, and that they be immediately terminated if they do not fulfill the duties specified in their contracts, JUST AS ANY OTHER EMPLOYEE WOULD! After all, the elected officials in our government are not supposed to be our bosses, but rather our servants.
If a person interviews for a job and is hired, but fails to perform the duties that they have accepted, in a timely and reasonable fashion agreed upon with the employer, the person is fired.
For example, let’s say that an employee is hired on at a convenience store. In the job interview, the candidate agrees to perform transactions, stock products, and clean. Once hired, the person talks to friends on the phone, steals money from the cash register, and deals drugs from the establishment, while neglecting their job. In almost every case, the person would be promptly fired, even if it leaves the team short-handed.
Why is it then that when a candidate for office makes campaign promises and then doesn’t keep them that they get to keep getting paid for 2 to 4 years, even if they are not doing the job they were hired to do, and that they then might even keep the job longer unless another interviewee can convince the employer (the American people) that they would be a better employee?
I think that any politicians that are not doing exactly what they said they would should be immediately fired, every time, PERIOD.
Then we can interview some new candidates, and have them sign legally-binding contracts that they will have to abide by, or they too will be terminated.
The contracts for publicly held offices should be specific, stating how the candidates will vote on key issues (yes or no), and how much money they will spend on various projects and expenses.
Then, each president, senator, house representative, governor, secretary, committee member, etc. would be required to keep a publicly viewable log on their website showing when they were in session, when they were not in attendance for important decisions, how they voted on each topic, and how much of our money they agreed to spend on what.
To take this accountability and transparency one step further, holders of public offices should be required to take input from their constituents on each issue, perhaps with voters logging in with distinct ID numbers and casting their voted directly. In that way, corruption by lobbyists and other bribery would be blatantly obvious, assuming that it made them vote differently than a majority of the people that they supposedly represent asked them to, which is usually the case.
Until this kind of reform is carried out, I am certain that corruption will continue to proliferate in the American political system.