Overhauling the American System and Starting Over
Part Two: What's Wrong with the American System and How Do We Fix It?
Currently we have two major political parties in the United States, both of which represent the interests of the wealthy class. To get elected and stay in office for many years, you have to have financial supporters. The wealthy class can pay you the most money for your campaigns today and in the future. But there is a price you have to pay. You have to do their bidding. Once in office, you have to vote on legislative issues the way they expect you to, or you lose their money in the future, and then you will no longer be in the limelight as a "public servant" for the people.
Here is how I believe we can fix the system. We take all money out of politics (abolishing the Citizens United ruling of 2010 does not do enough) by equally empowering the seven largest national political parties. Moreover, we use a system of Proportional Representation to elect members of the House of Representatives and Instant Runoff Voting in each state to elect members of the US Senate. Of course, eliminating the Electoral College System for electing US Presidents would be an additional way to maximize democracy. Ultimately, I think a unicameral national legislature would be better, but that and other needed changes will require a new Constitution, which will be discussed later.
To begin, let's hypothesize that in the United States the seven largest national political parties are Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, Constitution Party, Green Party, Socialist, and Communist. These are the basic archetypical political groups in the United States. Social Ecologists--who don't even believe in electoral politics, advocating direct democracy at each municipality instead--might also become more popular in time, but probably not at first. To equally empower eight or more national political parties would get a little too complicated, unwieldy, and costly. However, the views of political parties and groups that are lower in numbers than the Top Seven national political parties could also have official time periods where their voices could be heard, once we create an open society.
Equally empowering the seven largest national political parties would greatly broaden the political spectrum. It is possible that we could create a government that actually encourages citizens to consider multiple, independent media sources for spiritual and political information, instead of relying on a corporate-owned, mainstream media. In a new age of open-mindedness, transparency, and honesty, can you imagine a President giving his or her State of the Union Address to a legislative body in which seven political parties are represented proportionally? I think people would have reason to become more passionate about civics and citizenship than they now are of things like the TV show Dancing with the Stars.
The second thing I would try to reform is our educational system. When one considers the presidential candidates in the 2016 presidential race and the people who are swayed by them, it is an indication that something is deeply flawed in our educational system and society. Where did we go wrong? It is an indication that what we are doing is not working. We need to try another way. As a retired public school teacher, I propose that we radically decentralize public elementary schools (possibly middle and high schools later) by allowing the residents who live within the boundary of a particular elementary school to choose their own school board members who would then implement an educational philosophy and school curriculum that reflects the views of the neighborhood, using public funds. This can promote a long, lost sense of neighborhood togetherness, local self-determination, and independent thinking about the things that really matter. In today's world, residents and parents could get many innovative ideas from the Internet.
To implement the above recommendations would require changing some federal and state laws. Other important improvements will require changing Article V of our current constitution in a way that makes everyone feel safe about having a Constitutional Convention to create a better national constitution. But citizens will first have to be convinced that there are better ways to do politics, and we can greatly improve our "sacred" supreme civil document of the land. Without orderly, official procedures in place to abolish the Constitution (which Thomas Jefferson said should be done with every new generation), we might someday have to deal with violence as it occurred in the American or French Revolution. We have a lot more today to be indignant about than the rebels who created the American Revolution. A good constitution is easy to amend and easy to abolish democratically when necessary.