The Ramblings of the Titanium Don

Explorations of Conscious Reality Creation and Other Matters

Month: February 2011

Why the modern American political system needs help – Fixes?

Let’s continue to talk about politics.

My previous topic was the why of the broken American political system.  This time I want to share my thoughts on ways to fix it, and what I think might be coming.

The first can be done NOW.  We the people need to tell our politicians that the Electoral College needs to be gone.  Removed.  Demolished.  Period.

The Electoral College may have made sense at a time when this nation was far smaller, and direct election of the President were almost impossible.  But that is no longer the case.  It is time that we the people do, in fact, elect the President to office.

The single argument that I have heard FOR the electoral college is the same argument that made for the bi-cameral Congress – no one state should have the power to overrule another.  Technically, yes, this was a check/balance and a federalist means to elect the president – but in this day and age, and with the ability to accurately poll the people, it no longer really serves.  What’s the point of voting for a President if these unelected electors can choose WHOMEVER THEY WANT?

This is an issue that SHOULD bother people more than it does.  In 2000 George W. Bush LOST the popular vote – and by electoral college won the Presidency.  Should the decision be in the hands of 538 unelected electors OR by the millions of voters making a choice?

But this solution will not, in and of itself, fix our political system.  But it would be a step in the right direction.

Other fixes, however, are needed to TRULY repair this broken system.  These are some of my own thoughts on ways we could fix this.

– Term limits. Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in office during his 4th term as President.  Following this, the 22nd Amendment was passed, limiting the president to just 2 four year terms.  But the entirety of Congress has NO term limits.

Congresspersons serve two year terms – as many as they can be elected to.  Senators serve six year terms – again, as many as they can be elected to.  As such – you get career politicians who serve for DECADES.

John Kerry was the JUNIOR Senator from Massachusetts – until the death of Teddy Kennedy.  This is particularly unsettling when you take into account that he was junior senator after serving for more than 19 YEARS.  Edward “Teddy” Kennedy served as a United States Senator for nearly 47 YEARS.  That is almost 5 DECADES.  That amounts to 8 terms.  He is the 4th longest serving Senator.

I don’t care if you respected Kennedy and his politics or otherwise – how well can you serve the people when you do so for almost 50 years??  In a government by the people and for the people, does anyone else see the ability to serve in an office for almost five decades as a perversion?

The longest serving Congressmen also served in the Senate – but the longest serving exclusively in the House of Representatives, at over 55 YEARS, and still serving TODAY, is John Dingell of Michigan.  He was first elected in 1955.  After five and a half DECADES, he is STILL serving in Congress.

Seriously?  Multiple decades?  In all that time how much ACTUAL governing do these people do, do you think?  It is not just serving the country – it is a CAREER.  And without the oversight of term limits, that career can span decades.

Yes, yes, you can argue that if they were doing a poor job they would not keep winning reelection.  No, sorry, that does not hold water – in how many elections are you presented with only 1 truly qualified candidate?  How adverse are people to change?  How easy is it to just go with the status quo or not even bother to vote in the elections?  If you can be a CAREER politician, and serve for more than half a century in a political office – does that REALLY present us with a government by the people, and for the people?

If there were term limits – I think Congress would be FAR more effective.  Let’s say you get 2 terms – in the case of the Senate that’s 12 years – to do whatever you have set out to do.  If, as I postulated in my previous rant on this topic, more than 2/3 of the time our politicians spend in office is running for reelection to that office – if they can only do this ONCE, instead of 7-20 TIMES – how much more effective do you think they will be?  How much more willing do you think they would be to stick to their guns if they are LIMITED to how long they can serve?  How much more do you think they would serve the people that elect them as opposed to the people who PAY for their reelection?

The term limits option will never happen.  They would have to vote term limits for themselves – and do you really think that people who have been holding a job for over four decades would remove themselves from that job?  And since the two parties hold control as they do – neither will the electoral college be abolished.

So – what happens next?  If the American political system is as broken as I believe it to be – then this system, without repair, is bound for collapse and failure.  So what happens when the empire falls?

– The union dissolves. The central government and bureaucracy, bloated and utterly dominated by special interests and big business and big money, crashes.  Thus begins the succession of various states from the union – possibly as groups based on region.  And new nations emerge from the remains of the USA.

Some states, I imagine, would utterly go on their own.  Texas comes to mind.  Others might well form new unions, mutually beneficial for infrastructure and tax purposes.  It is also possible, sadly, that some will languish, collapsing and falling to chaos and anarchy and disorganization, probably the poor versus the rich and some serious ugliness.  It would be a sad end to a once great nation.

– The union fades. Even with the bloated central government, we continue onwards as we are, falling into further disgrace amongst our allies, losing our power and influence around the world.  The American voice fades from its cry to action to a whisper of despair.  The Union pulls into itself, and continues on, but like a cat without claws, losing prestige to emerging economies, and self-important but without legs to stand on.

– The union is overtaken. Either we are ‘bought out’ by China or Japan or Dubai or India or some combination therein – or we are overrun by the out-of-control illegal immigrants – or one of our home-grown militias seizes control.  Or some combination therein.

So we cease to be a government by the people and for the people – it falls under the control of a 3rd party.  And we become a corporate empire, most likely.  Our government may continue to exist – but the odds are it will be under someone else’s control.

It could be argued that this has already occurred.  We may vote for these people, but do we have any control over what they do?  Sadly, no, not so much.  Those who pay to get them reelected again and again have the greatest say.

– The union de-centralizes. If the power currently held by the federal government was shifted to the individual states, they would be able to handle a lot of the issues that are currently taken up on the national level – but that once they get there, they get lost in the shuffle.

The federal government could be shifted away from the law-making body it is today into more of a  bureaucracy.  The fed could regulate interstate taxation, infrastructure, and base-line regulations which the states could alter as appropriate.  The fed would maintain the military for our national defense – but we would cease to get involved in foreign entanglements as frequently as we do.

It is possible that regional alliances for mutual benefit would develop.  By sharing regulations and authorities and enforcement, they could make the most effective use of resources at the best cost – state police, tax enforcement/collection, infrastructure maintenance etc.

Speculation.  That’s all that one can do is speculate what will come next.  But the current status quo will change.  I do not believe it is a question of “if”, it is a matter of “when”.  The current system cannot sustain itself forever – so it will change.  The question at hand is – will that change be a choice we make, or will it simply come upon us?

The solution is to make our politicians aware we want change.  We want them to speak for US, not the big businesses putting money in their pockets.  We want them to represent US, not corporate interests and money.  We want them to stop with their petty agendas and their endless party on party attacks and trying to UNDO things – we need them to think ahead, make forward actions, and to represent US.

We NEED them to represent us.  And if they won’t – we need to remove them from office and find better people to take their place.

I DO believe that when the changes DO come – and they will – they will actually be GOOD.  Chaotic for a time, without a doubt – but for the better when all is said and done.

And the world is NOT, I repeat, NOT ending in 2012!

Why the modern American political system needs help – Thoughts.

Let’s talk about politics.

I do not care what side of the ‘aisle’ you are on – or if you are a centrist.  The political landscape of the USA is at best a mess, at worst dangerously broken.

Our politicians continue to make it clear that they don’t care all that much about the people they have been elected by – they care about the money, and continuing to get re-elected.  A US Congressperson when first elected probably does real work for, oh, 9 or 10 months, before they are looking towards re-election.  The President, the only one with term limits, about 18 months – and even then, it might be 9-10 months before they have to start supporting those from their own party running for election or re-election to Congress.  And Senators also get maybe 18 months before they are dealing with re-election issues for their party.

No bill is ever straight-forward.  There are always provisions, mark-ups, and ‘pork’ that gets tacked onto a given piece of legislature.  Special interests have a lot of money – and thus a lot of say when it comes to the making of laws.  Big business and wealthy parties have a lot of influence, and thus they manage to have their way – and continue to make money no matter the cost to human life, the environment, or whatever.  Look at Exxon/Mobile – they make BILLIONS in PROFIT annually.  Profit – as in above the break even.  And look at their influence on our government and its energy policies.

The number of problems with the current political climate are numerous, and frankly a little daunting.  These are examples of some of them:

– The Two-Party System.  C’mon, really – why do these two parties hold ALL of the power?  They can barely agree amongst themselves – and yet they band together with ‘party lines’ that create more and more division as the years go by.  And while the two-parties might sometimes lose a seat in the house, the senate, or a governorship – they maintain a complete death-grip lock on the Presidency.

– The Republicans.  Once upon a time this party stood for smaller government, fiscal responsibility, and less bureaucracy.  Somewhere along the way they picked up these religious zealots, big business, and a conservative line that wants the nostalgic days of the 1950’s in Mayberry that never ACTUALLY existed.

– The Democrats.  Once upon a time this party was all about social equality, fairness, and a government FOR the people.  Somewhere along the way they decided to ignore where the money comes from, and have split between liberals intent on social welfare for all and centrists who are utterly wishy-washy.

The two parties regularly attack one another, though the Republicans are FAR better at lock-stepping together and disrupting the process than they Democrats, who can barely agree on anything at all.  They had a two year MAJORITY in the House, the Senate and the White House – and yet they only barely did anything worthwhile – and most of that just before they lost the House.

– The Tea Party.  A lie.  A total, complete, and utter lie.  False populists.  Led by a woman who is bright enough to make a lot of noise but so incredibly corrupt it amazes me she still manages to get people to listen.  The entire party is corrupt, false, and VERY dangerous.  They convince people to believe in some pretty serious bullshit.  But they are about as far from being populist as fire is from water.

– The Pundits.  It’s rather a sad statement of fact that in this day and age the best source for political news comes from a comedy program.  John Stewart and The Daily Show and Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect provide the main pundit voices from the liberal leanings, in especial with Keith Olberman moving on.  And then you get Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh, two of the loudest bullshit artists the world has even known.  Lies, hate, distrust – these are their weapons of choice, and they are powerful – and inappropriate, really.

We are a nation divided.  The ‘blue states’ and the ‘red states’ after the 2000 election – and that divide is deepened by hard-line politics, fear-mongering, sabre-rattling, misdirection, and outright lies.  Instead of trying to breach the gap, the politicians work to strengthen that divide, deepen that rift – and instead of bi-partisanship and compromise to better our nation, they work to gain more power for themselves and their parties, and try to drive us all further apart.

We NEED health care reform in this country.  Not going to happen.  The reform that was passed is the equivalent of a band-aid on a sucking chest-wound – and equally ineffective.  The insurance industry got their way – and no one is willing to admit that THEY ARE THE PROBLEM.  The Economy?  Sorry, all – trying to help our economy recover WILL drive up the deficit – and while in the long term that’s bad, the short term attempts to fix this problem only make matters worse, not better.  And why does ‘defense of marriage’ matter?  If a man loves a woman, or a man loves a man, or a woman loves a woman – who are YOU to say they cannot marry?  Who drives these ‘issues’?  That would be the money.

– We are too big!  There are 50 states, and the people that make up those states are VASTLY different.  I have been to 43/50, and I can tell you from first hand experience – the way we think up here in the Northeast is almost alien to the Deep South, which in turn is inconceivable to the Midwest, and no one quite gets California.

How can the central government work to rectify this divide?  The current plan may have worked when we were 13 states – but the bigger and more diverse we have gotten, the harder it is to accomplish much of anything.

– Religion.  Religion has NO PLACE in politics.  It DOES NOT MATTER if a person is Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindi, Muslim or Pagan – or even ATHEIST – religion does not belong in politics, and thus does not belong in law.  See my previous rant on this topic.

However – as such – subjects such as marriage (be it straight, gay, or polygamist), abortion, adoption, and prayer-in-school should not be a part of political discourse.  If you love someone(s), marry them; if you are not able to bear and raise a child for whatever reason, it’s your body – you choose; if a single man, married couple (gay or straight) wish to adopt a child another did not want, more power to them; prayer is a private matter between you and your deity(s) – a public school is no place for that.

Ok, so I think this all still only barely touches the surface of the issues in American Politics today.  If you are reading this, please do me one favor – THINK ABOUT THIS:  The Roman Empire fell.  It was a corrupted system with entrenched incumbents holding on to whatever power they could and was greedy and decadent – and look at the USA now.  Note the similarities.  Rome fell.  If we do not heed this lesson from history – the question is not IF, it is WHEN.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  – George Santayana.

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