Thinking About the Government, Muttering a Prayer

In my last post, I said some things about how I don’t like how the US government is structured.  Frankly, people have been complaining about how the government is run for years and years (Thompson’s On the Campaign Trail will be 40 years old next January), and people have said a lot of stuff about why it needs to change, and some have presented a few ideas as to changes that can be made (Credit to the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street for at least trying to instill a motive to change).  I know as well as anyone that just blogging about the problem isn’t going to do a whole lot, but fostering discussion is part of what this blog is all about.  Before I begin, I want to say just two things:

1. In no way am I attempting to tamper with our rights as American citizens.  I uphold these rights as an American citizen and seek only to see our rights become stronger with my suggestions.

And…

2.  I don’t know everything.  If there is a glaring flaw in my logic, please point it out.  Above all, understand that my intentions are to kindle a spirit of change and hope.

5 Reasons Why The US Government Must Change.

  1. The country has changed.  No longer are we a small group of 13 colonies with populations that don’t get higher than 100,000.  As of this writing, the United States is comprised of fifty states and one federal district, with a population of almost 313 million.  The political views of those 313 million people cover a wide array of understandings, traditions, and schools of thought, too many to be contained within just two parties.  As the number of independent voters grows, I would hope to see the ideas of party lines and Red and Blue states fade away, but more dialogue and grassroots movements are required for such a movement to occur.  This leads me to my next point…
  2. The people are no longer well represented.  Yes, we are allowed to elect whomever we want to office, but the choices granted us are not chosen strictly by popular vote.  Influence is given by party bosses and corporate campaign donations on a level where the average voter (or the average man trying to gain party support) cannot compete. Corporations control too much of the vote through Super PACS and unlimited campaign donations, and Special Interest Groups and Corporate Lobbyists work hard in Congress to make sure that those donations are paid in kind through the passing of legislation that benefits the company they work for, but not necessarily the individual voter.  Effectively, corporate America makes the popular vote obsolete not by eliminating it, but by giving better funding to the candidates they want in office.
  3. Career senators and representatives spend long periods of time working in the federal government, collecting a large paycheck and benefits and doing little to help the people who elect them (mostly for lack of choice; see above).   This limits the ability of new bills to move through Congress, as well as the initiating of new senators and representatives who actually give a rip about the people who elect them.  Elections are no longer about fostering new ideas in Congress to move the nation forward, but more stand as job evaluations to see if someone should keep their spot on the floor of the House or Senate.
  4. The electoral college, though it seems to be mostly a formality at this point, is outdated and stands more as a threat to our rights as US citizens than it does as a help. What was once a measure for checks and balances, helping low population, big landmass states have the same vote as small landmass, high population states now stands as a potential method of elimination of our rights.  Members of the electoral college have the right to vote in favor of or in spite of their popular vote; no legislation exists to stop them from voting against the popular vote.
  5. The system of checks and balances, though serving a good purpose by not allowing one branch to rule another, also prevents anything from actually being accomplished at any point in the passing of a law.  This is especially true with Congress and the White House.  If one party controls Congress, and the other the White House, you can bet that very, very little is going to get done.

All that being said, here’s some things I think can be done to at least aid in reforming government in our country.  My answers are going to be starting points, not whole solutions (I obviously am not an expert in political science), and each of these suggestions comes with problems of its own, but I think that they can at least get us moving in the right direction.

5 Things I Would Change About Our Government

  1. Promote the establishment of new parties and work to contribute to their growth. In addition, limit the power of party bosses by designating roles each one must fill. Allow the registered voters to choose who runs in the primaries of a party instead of designating funding to the party’s candidate of choice.
  2. Limit corporate campaign donations and abolish the Super PAC.  This one I’m rather passionate about.  Yes, everyone and their mother has their hand out about something in this country, whether it’s more money for schools or ending the war or prohibiting abortion, but the trouble is that, in this country, even the person who screams the loudest isn’t heard over the ring of the cash register.  By saying, “Look, we get it.  You want to protect your business, but so do they,” you can tune your ear to hear the voice of the people who support you as much as Goldman Sachs or Haliburton.
  3. Limit the amount of terms a senator or a representative to no more than two.  This will allow new faces and new ideas onto the floors of the House and Senate and keep people from abusing the system.
  4. Abolish the electoral college, as it no longer serves to benefit the election of a president and stands now as a potential violation of the Constitution if misused.
  5. Restructure checks and balances to expedite the passing (or the stopping) of new laws.  Honestly, I’m trying to figure this part out.  Every time I try to manipulate something or move something around, I see why it exists (so not EVERYTHING about the US Government is bad).  Right now, the one suggestion I would like to see happen is have Supreme Court Justices elected by popular vote and NOT appointed by the President.  With more study and consideration, I’m sure that there could be a way to restructure our government so that a) bills are presented and voted on in a timely fashion (no more bills bigger than my college textbooks) and b) the majority and minority are considered.

Again, these suggestions do not stand as definitive solutions, but hey, it’s a proactive way of progressing forward instead of perpetuating what clearly does not function efficiently.

What do you think?  How can our government do better?  Where is it doing OK?  What would you do?

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2 thoughts on “Thinking About the Government, Muttering a Prayer

  1. The big thing that always confounded me was how many bills get random stuff attached to it. Then, when someone votes against a truly horrid bill, their opponents point to how they “voted no to giving to orphanages”, when the rest of the bill was about raping puppies. I seem to recall there being measures put into place to limit this sort of nonsense, but I don’t recall hearing if it was ever implemented, or just one of those nice promises that got swept under the rug / wasn’t passed by congress. It seems to me that a giant step forward would be one bill, one idea. Also, I’d like someway to force congressmen to actually read each and every bill they vote on. So many times you hear people debating over legislation and, from the totally different viewpoints of each side, someone has to have not read it.

  2. Agreed on both counts. We’d have shorter bills if stuff wasn’t all compiled, and you can’t lie about your competitor, either. Obamacare is over 2000 pages in length. That’s longer than my Systematic Theology textbook and takes at least four reams of paper to print. That’s because they threw in all kinds of stuff relating to education and funding for grants along with the healthcare stuff. As for congressmen actually having to read it, considering how much we pay our congressmen, they better start reading those bills. Congressmen may claim their job is hard (and I’m not denying its difficulty), but they’re clearly half-assing it.

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