The political system of the United States is in shambles and in danger of breaking. A government for the people? Ha. The majority of governmental action is motivated by personal greed or political allegiance. Democracy in the United States has become a farce in recent years, and I am completely sick of it.
What I am saying is not news to many people. Americans are upset about the state of our nation’s federal government. The problem is that there are so many smaller problems behind the bigger one that nobody seems to know how to fix it. I don’t claim to be a political genius, but I say that if you want to solve problems, you first have to identify those problems. Here’s my best stab.
In the wake of one of the most contested political battles in our nation’s history, it has recently become stylish to pay lip service to ideals such as bipartisanship. Political talk shows are riddled with leaders from both major political parties discussing how the next four years will be full of prosperity because both parties want to put their differences behind them.
Anyone who believes this gibberish hasn’t been watching closely enough. As soon as these politicians finish a sentence about compromise, they start another sentence about how the plans of their political foe are completely off-base and how no form of that plan will be enacted.
I think we have found our first problem: complete and utter party allegiance. This allegiance constantly kills ideas that would be in the best interests of the country.
Finding a solution for this problem is much more complicated than finding the problem itself. I believe the answer lies in a greater political education for the American public. If people knew more about what their representatives do, they would be in a better position to assess if these representatives were acting in their best interests or in the best interest of the party to which they belong.
The second problem with the system is the parties themselves. The Republican and Democratic parties have far too much power when it comes to nominating and electing representatives, including the president.
The Republican primary poignantly showed this problem. John McCain and George W. Bush were locked in a dead heat after the first round of primaries. McCain’s face was showing up on the cover of major magazines and his candor and fresh ideas were shaking up the face of the Republican political landscape. Then money was thrown at Bush and the contributors to Bush slandered McCain every chance they got. The result? McCain went quietly into the night and Bush went on to win the presidency.
I am not saying John McCain should have won the election. I will say that the ability of the political system’s big shots to choose who will represent the people of the United States solely based on their political power and their deep pockets is wrong.
This practice is one of the forces that is hurting the legitimacy of the governmental system that the founding fathers set up 212 years ago. Solving this problem is tricky because enforcing artificial regulations on groups of people is generally a violation of the Bill of Rights. However, I believe there is a way out.
If the government gave each candidate a block of air time during which he or she could describe what they are about and what they believe, then the power of these political machines may be thwarted. The government would still allow a candidate to purchase more air time if the candidate wanted to, but as long as the free governmental airtime was substantial, buying additional airtime would not necessarily be beneficial.
It may in fact be detrimental to fill the airwaves with the same candidates because people would eventually get sick of hearing from them. With the deep pockets of the political parties such as major lobbies thus neutralized, Americans would be able to choose for themselves who they wanted representing them and not be led like lambs to the slaughter without even knowing it.
The third and final problem is the simple idea of a career politician. Without term limits, politicians vote in a way that allows them to be re-elected the next time they run. This may not seem like a problem because it makes these people do as we want, but it actually is very threatening to the idea of a representative democracy.
We elect people to make choices for us for two reasons. We do it because it would be impossible to get anything done without representatives, but we also do it because normal people may not always know the implications of political decisions. We elect people we hope will understand these implications and will make the best decision even if it isn’t popular. In our current system, however, making an unpopular but correct decision is political suicide. A lack of term limits is incentive for representatives to make decisions that we don’t actually want them to make.
Nobody knows if doing these things would actually solve the problems our political system is currently facing. What we do know, however, is that the current “”solutions”” aren’t working and we need to try something new.
These adjustments seem as good a place as any to start the changes.