There is much work to be done to restore our country and its institutions to a place where our system of checks and balances can once again work their magic and restore the trust and the confidence of not only the American people but of the world at large as well. Right now there is so much wrong with the way our constitutional system of checks and balances is being distorted and subverted that alarm bells should be ringing in our collective ears.
What I am about to suggest I am sure is familiar to all of us, but is certainly no less important. Successful integration of these changes will most definitely cure the cancer that is wreaking havoc with our political system and the sad political reality it has spawned. My only caution would be to not be deterred in your efforts to apply the cure. For by helping to apply the cure, you become a true patriot in the cause to "preserve, protect and defend" that which we, and those who have come before us, hold most dear, namely, our democracy.
First of all, we must restore integrity to the election process so that Americans can once again trust in the results of our elections thereby reestablishing the right of our citizens to execute its constitutional mandate to wield its oversight authority as originally intended - a potent, personal empowerment to execute a form of "checks and balances".
Second, it is imperative that our media be truly independent and execute its sacred responsibility to educate and inform the citizenry of newsworthy events that can potentially impact our democracy on all levels. To achieve this, we must put a stop to "media consolidation". In fact, we must act to reverse those consolidations that have already taken place. To allow a corporation to own multiple entities across the media spectrum is to invite disaster. This is not what our founders had intended.
Third, severe limits should be imposed on lobbying. Specifically, legislators, their staff, and government workers should be legally precluded from any sort of professional affiliation with any lobbying group for at least a period of five years after leaving government service. If it were up to me, I would preclude such association permanently or at least for a period of ten years. It is an absolute disgrace that our politicians more often than not work for the benefit of special interests over those of their constituents and the nation at large. Corporate globalization and outsourcing, along with trade agreements that clearly advantage foreign interests over our national interests, are wreaking havoc on our middle class and society in general.
Fourth, restore the "checks and balances" that have historically played a pivotal role in maintaining constitutional harmony and order within and between the three branches of government. Congress must stop ceding authority to the "executive" to prosecute some vague concept of a "war on terror" that has no clear boundaries or definable limits. Specifically, when is this "war on terror" over and who makes that determination? The "war on terror" is a recipe for a war on our Constitution as it is presently being applied.
Fifth, real campaign finance reform that effectively reduces undue influence is absolutely essential. Obviously, politicians must be especially sensitive to the larger needs of their constituents whose needs must not be subjugated to the selfish needs of those who happen to have large sums of cash. In my opinion, an effective way to realize this objective would be to only have publicly funded elections. This would free politicians to devote their time and energies to the real needs and concerns of their constituents while minimizing or negating the need to solicit campaign funds in anticipation of the next election cycle.
The past twelve years or so have seen political changes take place that have only served to destroy the integrity of our democracy as originally conceived. These are perilous times that require all of us to assert our duty as American citizens to "right the ship" and reset our course to a brighter future where all political efforts are compatible with our historical mandate to "preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution. Needless to say, failure is not an option for to fail at this presages a very dark future indeed.
Mike Browne was born and educated in the United States. Areas of deep personal interest include politics, news media and reporting, economics, social justice, and disciplines affecting both personal and spiritual growth.