Another Time...Another Place

A baby boomer's bon mot

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Location: Goodlettsville, Tennessee, United States

Monday, May 22, 2006

Has American Style Democracy lost it's effectiveness

I watch CSPAN and shake my head at the perverted use of Roberts Rules of order as members of the House and Senate go through the motions of legislating through a maze of arcane rule ment to hide mismanagement in plain sight.

I vote in elections knowing that the best candidates and leaders are not on the ballot because they refuse to play the party politics game and mud-pit campaigns.

I watch talking heads twist and spin current events to match their beliefs or to serve as agents of misinformation for the good of their political benefactors spouting misinformation. Telling out and out lies.

I listen to misguided proponents on both sides of an argument illustrate their lack of knowledge by framing complex issues as simple black or white opinions. I call it the "Shivo Syndromn".

I see a voting public so removed from the process of electing their representatives that they either refuse to participate of cast their votes based on their daily affiliation with co-workers, church brethren or peer groups.

I experience first hand during every election cycle how money spent equals votes garnered...just like kitchen gadgets or miracle drugs or religion. It pays to Advertise, or as PT Barnum said "There's a sucker born every minute."

These are clear examples of a system of Government we call representative democracy, a grand experiment that was born with the declaration of independence, has gone awry. Every day, year after year we see a failing buracacy. If our government were a private contractor working directly for anyone us they would have been fired long ago. If we go back in time and count the numerous failings of laws, financial ineptitude, inappropriate oversight, and down right fraud, sadly, we would need four hands just to count the major bungles. From the Viet Nam war to the savings and loan scandal to Iraq and our inability to manage energy and environmental policy our representatives and leaders have failed us time and time again.

Our founders never believed democracy would spawn a class of citizens known as public servants. If they had envisioned this occupation they would have interrupted the title as it sounds. Unpaid patriots serving the public. The creators of our democracy saw a representative government of farmers, businessmen, scholars and citizens giving their time and energy for the good of all of their constituents. Representatives with self imposed term limits, without financial links serving an electorate to the best of their ability.

With the advent of commercial politics came the era of distrust and apathy. If history had recorded the first time an elected official deceived, defrauded of overstepped the boundaries of his position it surely would have noted a shift in
voter turnout. Conversely if "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" was a model of democracy our elections would be a celebration of liberty instead of a boon for TV stations and newspaper advertising.

Today the few voters are herded into the polling booth with used-car-selling tactics to elect a representative who becomes a tool of the lobbyist who advocates the position and ideas of the highest bidder. Corporate America has bought our government. Professional politicians with political consultants and polling data have turned our elections into advertising campaigns. Voters have diminished to a point that a mere ten percent of the population decides who will act as the corporate lobbyist spokesman. Political parties have become the special interest and corporate bank of democracy. Democracy as we knew it, as it was envisioned is gone.

Can our forefathers version of representative democracy be restored? Yes it can by institute a few important reforms and one major public responsibility.

1. Out-law professional politicians. Term limits are necessary.
2. Out-law Corporate and special interest contributions. Public financing is the
only way to eliminate the buying of professional politicians.
3. Out-law commercial paid lobbyist. Any one can lobby their representative as long
as they are not paid to do it.
4. Eliminate Senate and House rules that burdens or hides the actual legislative
process. Make all hearings public. Eliminate party politization during
5. The right to vote should be a responsibility not a right. Mandate


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