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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/19/19

Direct Democracy at Each Municipality

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Message Roger Copple
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Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy (2018)
Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy (2018)
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Direct Democracy at Each Municipality

Representative democracy is turning out to be not the wonderful thing many of us were led to believe. Representative democracy seems like a practical necessity for national and state governments because face-to-face direct democracy--such as what the citizens of ancient Athens practiced--would be impossible. The problem is our representatives do not represent us. They represent the corporations which give them the most money to pay for their present and future political campaigns. They represent the richest one percent instead of the vast majority. Currently we have representative democracy at city and county levels, but maybe we should consider direct democracy at those levels to let the people, all the people, share their voices when they desire it.

If we can build government from the bottom-up instead of the usual top-down way it has always been built, we can create a way for our representatives at higher levels of government to represent us instead of representing the Deep State, the military-industrial complex, the Shadow Government, and the transnational corporations. The Deep State involves people in government, and the Shadow Government includes those who pull strings from behind the scenes in support of the Deep State. Christian conservative, ex-CIA member, Kevin Shipp , in youtube videos is revealing amazing things about the secret government, as he argues there is a plot against Donald Trump. Trump may not represent the Deep State, but then he certainly does not represent those of us on the Left either.

If we have direct democracy at township, county, and city levels--political parties would be less significant at those levels. However, equally empowering multiple political parties, at least the 7 largest national political parties, with proportional representation of the legislature, is the most democratic way to create the ideal nation. The 50 state legislatures could be chosen through proportional representation as well.

Instead of working for the self-actualization of the whole world, the one percent have worked for the self-aggrandizement of their nation and of themselves. If they continue to get their way, they will not be able to escape the world as the whole world unravels and our sacred earth is destroyed.

Couldn't the people of a large city meet in a big auditorium or stadium and vote face-to-face? If nobody shows up, we may need only a tiny room, but hopefully more people will show up to voice their opinions and hear the opinions of others before an issue is voted on after several days of deliberation. It is time to start exploring ways to make direct democracy at each municipality a reality.

We could not only implement proportional representation in state and national legislatures, but we could have Ranked Choice Voting, and outlaw the Electoral College System for electing a president--without needing to create a new federal constitution. But to eliminate the U.S. Senate altogether (because it is so undemocratic when you compare the populations of Wyoming and California) and have a unicameral legislature instead would require a new U.S. Constitution. But with the equal empowerment of multiple national political parties, we could use Ranked-Choice Voting in the election of the U.S Senate, if we cannot abolish the U.S. Senate altogether. This is all political theory, but it has its place in the scheme of things.

Direct democracy can prevent the influence of money in local politics. But also, the proportional representation of national and state legislatures, based on the equal empowerment of national and state political parties that garner at least one percent of the vote could eliminate money from politics at higher levels too.

These 10 social sins have not been good for our country: nationalism, corporate capitalism, materialism, imperialism, racism, speciesism, patriarchy, a privately-controlled central banking system, monotheism (the belief in a jealous, male God who is separate and distinct from his created universe), and the discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

If the rich and powerful keep getting more control, they will create a top-down or hierarchical fascist type of world government. But what a lot of people do not realize is that it is possible and necessary to create a world government democratically that is built from the bottom-up. Now more than ever we must think globally with an international focus. To start, we could empower the General Assembly of the United Nations, as we eliminate the unfair control by the Security Council of the United Nations. If a world government is created democratically, it can be dismantled democratically if that is the consensus among world citizens.

Ethical, compassionate capitalism has not expressed itself yet in a world approaching ecological suicide. If not a democratic form of socialism, we need to implement some other type of radical egalitarianism for the whole world so that every person in every country has the opportunity to realize their fullest potential. That must be our motive and goal. When every person has the opportunity to achieve self-actualization, we can create world peace, nurtured by love.

At the neighborhood block club and at city or county levels--we can encourage face-to-face, participatory, direct democracy. Today in many state and local elections you have citizens just voting a straight ticket for many individuals whom they know nothing about. Instead, we could select our national and state legislators through a new system of proportional representation and then empower those legislators to, not only make laws, but make top appointments for executive and judicial branch positions. This method makes the legislative branch more democratic and then gives it more power than the other two branches.

If we let all national political parties that capture at least one percent of the national vote be represented through proportional representation at a Constitutional Convention, we could create a much better constitution and a much better world. One hundred delegates could meet for a maximum of 3 months to create a new constitution which the American people could approve with a 51 percent majority. Each of the 50 states can create new constitutions this way too.

Direct democracy at the township, city, and county levels is my preference now. However, another bottom-up system of government that I have advocated in the past is to have each neighborhood block club send a representative to the voting precinct level. The voting precinct delegates from all the block clubs could vote among themselves to send a representative to the township legislature. The township legislature can make township laws and make executive and judicial appointments at the township level as needed. The township legislators could vote among themselves to send a representative to the county legislature. The county legislature will make county laws, and it will make executive and judicial appointments at the county level. The county legislators in each county will vote among themselves to send a representative to the state legislature. The state legislature will make state laws, and it will make executive and judicial appointments at the state level.

This method (described in the above paragraph) is certainly a bottom-up approach, but some counties of a state have large populations and others have very low populations, which is reminiscent of the Wyoming-California analogy used above. This is why I now believe face-to face direct democracy at the township, city, and county levels is the ideal. As I already mentioned, this local direct democracy could be combined with using proportional representation in the selection national and state legislatures, after multiple national and state political parties are equally empowered as much as the current two corporate parties.

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February 11, 2023 I grew up in a church that said you had to speak in tongues to get saved and go to heaven. I often prayed fervently starting at the age of 5 for the experience in the prayer room at church, where people would cry and wail, (more...)

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