The Love Chronicles, Saving a Democracy

Posted: May 15, 2012 in News and politics
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Saving Our Democracy


John E. Love

Are we any better now than we were back in the 60’s. Well, with the Vietnam war, civil rights, and the make love not war hippy movement, the youth of the day certainly did not think so. That youth is now the baby boomer generation and includes most of the people I hold dear and call friends.

A famous philosopher once complained that young people had lost the respect for their elders they once had, that parents had lost control and were not maintaining family cohesion so that juvenile delinquency had run amok. He also complained that the government had become so corrupt that it did nothing to serve the people but only served itself, that society as he knew it was on a downward spiral and doomed to fail, his name was Socrates. So with this in mind, I have always looked at doom prophets with a certain tongue in cheek attitude. I still do, but with certain reservations.

The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

▪   From bondage to spiritual faith;

▪   From spiritual faith to great courage;

▪   From courage to liberty;

▪   From liberty to abundance;

▪   From abundance to complacency;

▪   From complacency to apathy;

▪   From apathy to dependence;

▪   From dependence back into bondage.

I admit that we have, since our own revolution, followed this pattern, which is commented on by several different authors in slightly different ways, but always with the same general recipe and outcome. I agree that we have, like all great nations gone down this path, but I do not believe we are preordained to fail.  I think as a great Nation that happens to be a Democracy gives us to hope for a better outcome. I know that Democracies in the past have followed this 200 year path to a loss of power and influence, I also know that seems to be where we are heading, but if we start using that one little right we still have, the vote, we can reverse the trend!

We have to, in huge numbers let our elected officials know what we want, and what we are prepared to do to get it. First we must get rid of the Electoral College. On the average, currently,  90 million voters cast ballots for the Presidential candidates, but then 538 citizens, the electors of the Electoral College cast their votes and elect our President, regardless of how we voted. This may have been a necessity when most of the population was illiterate and cut off from communication with their government. That is no longer the case, and it is high time to rid ourselves of this outdated and demeaning law. Plus if our vote is to be used as a threat to our representatives to actually do as we ask, this is a necessary step.

We then need to come to a decision about what we want. I know religion, sexual orientation, same sex marriage and a women’s right to choose, to name but a few, are by far too contested for us to be able to come together as one. But we can agree on some basic principles that we must insist on. First and foremost, outlaw the lobbying of any politician at any level of government. Disallow campaign money to be donated by any company, corporation, country, or group. Allow only individual donations by a private citizen, limited to say $1,000.00 per campaign per person to keep the rich from controlling an election. Sure, a hell of a lot less money than is spent now, but if everyone has the same monetary base, they will find ways to make their point, and to be succinct while doing it! No personal monies from the candidates themselves! You would see a very different politician as a result.

Finally, now that we are back in control of the vote, we need to use it to vote out incumbents who still do not get it, and keep on doing so until they do! We, as a nation of voters need to email, write, and call our representatives telling them what it is we do want.  Then insist, with our vote, that we get it.  That will not solve all our problems, but at least we will be responsible for where we go as a nation.  We can insist that pork barrel additions to bills be eliminated. Sure, our taxes need to be used in emergencies to help those ravaged be floods, earthquakes, and other disasters.  Health Care and Social security will still be hot spots, but if you can keep politicians from robbing these funds and leave them alone, at least Social Security would be just fine, even have a nice surplus!

In closing, politicians who actually must answer to their constituents, who cannot buy an election, who come from a broader slice of the American makeup because of how elections are held, will bring a whole different climate to state and federal politics. I believe if we can make this happen, we can break the 200 year cycle nations have been doomed to follow and be an even greater nation than we have ever been! I have some ideas about abolishing political parties altogether and let politicians run on what they stand for, but that is blog of another color and for another day!

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