March 7, 2010

A Proposal In Order To Save The Union

If there is one thing that the Left and Right agree on, it’s that government is broken.  The details of why are vastly different, but at least they agree that it needs to be fixed.  What follows are just some of the major changes to government that I would make in an attempt to set right the huge mess we have today.  What you won’t see is a partisan redesign that strongly favors any political party.  I am not a member of any such organization, and I don’t believe there is one that represents my interests.  What you will find is a common theme, one directed by the very principle that our Constitution is built upon, a government for the people, by the people.
Abolition of all political parties.
Political parties have demonstrated consistently that they do not represent the American people.  They represent their own interests, predominantly the accumulation of power and wealth.  The do not govern with the interest of the people in mind, only their own self-serving agenda.  These are the very reasons George Washington himself advised against the rise of political parties at the outset.  His wisdom was ignored, but it’s never to late to take heed and reverse course.  The loss of political parties also means that an elected official must represent the people that elected them, not a powerful special interest group for elitist control.
Public funding for elections.
I know, I know, that’s a very high cost that has to be made up in some way.  While there are details to work out, such as how to pay for it and how much everyone should get, the benefits outweigh the cost.  You see, I’m not talking about additional funding for campaigns.  I’m talking about strictly limiting funding for campaigns to only public funds.  Candidates can not use their own personal wealth.  They can not receive political donations from PACs or corporations.  They can’t be bought by sweetheart deals from powers beyond.  By eliminating the use of private wealth we also severely limit a wealthy elite from seizing control because everyone has the same amount of cash.  A more level field has never existed.
Term limits for Congress.
I propose that term limits for the House be set to a maximum of four three-year terms and the Senate be limited to two six-year terms.  Both Houses would potentially have longer service than any single president and could govern during three different presidencies.  This gives the legislative body more consistency than any administration, but the nature of term limits prevents career politicians from becoming so entrenched that graft and corruption are practically a given.  Also, extending the length of a term in the House by a year slows down the immediate drive to begin campaigning on the first day of the job.  
Elected officials can not accept gifts from lobbyists.
This doesn’t mean that lobbyists are to be banned, only that special interest organizations cannot be permitted to unduly influence the course of legislation by bribing politicians with “gifts” or sending them on trips or other such nonsense.  Additionally, lobbyists can’t be permitted to take them out for dinner or some other private meeting.  When a lobbyist meets with an elected official, it must be in that official’s government office and during normal business hours.  A public log of who they met with must all be kept and published so we, the people, can track who is trying to persuade our representatives.  
Reverse Citizens United decision.
Corporations are not people, pure and simple.  The idea of corporate personhood is preposterous and dangerous.  Unfettered spending sprees by corporations, even indirectly, in support of one politician or another still permits undue influence.  While I do believe organizations, including PACs, businesses, and unions, have a right to publish a statement of support or opposition to a candidate for office, the idea that they can spend as much money as they want in order to produce propaganda to sway the electorate is a terrifying proposal.  We have already limited campaign funding, and now we must limit indirect support.  Organizations are not people and therefore are not subject to the full application or support of the 1st Amendment.  In order to maintain a government by and for the people, actual flesh and blood people need to be the deciding force, not businesses or other organizations.
There are other changes I would propose, but these tend towards operational details like reminding the Senate that their job is to represent their home state and its interests at the federal level while the House is to represent the people of a specific area in that state.  As you can see, these are not small changes.  They are big, big overhauls but I believe they would be the foundation upon which our government would be returned to us, the American people, and taken away from powerful, elite groups that care not one damn bit about what is good for us.  We are the majority,  we are the masses, and this is our country.  It belongs to us and I want it back!

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