One feature that publicly financed campaigns could provide is for a more diverse crowd of candidates running for office since each candidate would receive equal amounts of campaign funding thus leveling the playing field. It was not the original intentions of the Constitution that once a candidate is elected to office that policy decisions were to be about party, special interest, or those with greater wealth.
We have a significant role in government Policy
The Constitution provides for a government of the people, by the people. In order to preserve democracy and form a more perfect union it bestows and entrust ultimate authority upon we the people and does so through the power of elections. Through a massive grassroots movement I firmly believe real change is possible if a voter revolt surprised Washington by transforming the political landscape in one or perhaps two major elections. Hell why waste anymore time, let's get it done in one.
Fix the media
Main stream media needs an overhaul. We need to re-establish journalistic ethics in this country by bringing back the Fairness Doctrine (repealed during the Reagan Administration) and strengthen the FCC so it is better able to ensure the media is the public servant it is supposed to be. It is critical that we gain a new respect for the value and role of the media; that it is the source of information that enables us to make more informed decisions on critical issues. We need to bring back investigative reporting which has nearly disappeared today and which was a vital vehicle that delivered the complex information sorely missing in today's 30 second sound bites we call news. It is important that we recognize the media will always be a difficult arena to achieve completely unbiased opinions and that discernment is always necessary. The Fairness Doctrine may not have been perfect but it at least ensured that all opinions were shared equally.
Wake up America
A titillated, dumbed down, and disenfranchised public needs to be awakened and enlightened. The consequences of a corporate-controlled media delivering 30-second sound bites on the evening news is completely inadequate for informing voters on the complex issues of the day. Busting up the corporate stronghold over the media and transforming it into a richer network of information would no doubt now be a difficult undertaking as we will need to accomplish this through the very network currently owned and controlled by the corporate complex itself. The public at large needs to realize the main stream media can be used as a propaganda machine. Five major multi-national companies own most of all the media forms; TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and even some book publishers. It is reasonable and should be expected that we question how unbiased a firm like G.E. for example, with major media holdings among it's vast business portfolio and is among the top ten military contractors with the U.S., can or will be in allowing unfavorable news about a war in Iraq or elsewhere while deriving profit from it if that news might adversely sway public opinion away from supporting such a war. We in effect are receiving the news that five corporate CEO's and their Board of Directors deem we need to hear. A democracy cannot survive an uninformed public and this is detrimental to the health of our nation and disastrous for the world.
Demand more of our Candidates
We need to ask and demand more of candidates as they stomp along the campaign trail and during the debates. Currently I find this entire process intellectually insulting, exhausting, and largely ineffective. The campaign season has become too long and expensive. Here again we get just 30 second sound bites as candidates are marketed like a commodity with loads of rhetoric. The longer season has only made this more exacerbating. We learn nothing of any substance about the candidates and their plans for the country. Beyond their designer glasses or whether they are wearing a certain lapel pin, we need to be asking tougher questions and setting higher expectations of them. You or I go through far greater scrutiny when interviewing for a job than we put our potential leaders through and with whom we are entrusting to decide our future collective fate.
Of course these measures would not be a cureall and no doubt there are many issues needing attention but resolve is more likely if we first changed the methods and means of how policy makers get into office in the first place. Otherwise as experience demonstrates we are just spinning our wheels.