Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Platform for Reform

Fellow Political Junkies,
 I apologize for my extended absence. I could excuse that, telling you just how awfully busy I have been, which, while true, would nonetheless be a lie. I have not written during the two conventions because I am depressed.  I am depressed (politically, not clinically- though I will keep you posted as my symptoms develop) because as an cynical optimist, I believe we have such a paucity of acceptable choices for our next president that we are collectively bound to the least worst choice. (Apologies to both Clinton and Trump supporters, and no intended rebuke on your own views.)

Let me explain.
There is no doubt that our government has grown, and will continue to grow, as people demand it do more.  We can debate that, and how we get to where we want to go, but in many respects, even as Pres. Reagan declared that "government is the problem" and President Bill Clinton declared that "the era of big government is over", in many respects they are both right, and both wrong.

And public trust in government, which is an absolute essential to a functioning democracy, is at historical lows.  If this continues, we will not stand as a nation.

So, instead of drawing the blinds and pulling the covers over my head, what I intend to try to do is offer a series of reforms that would, if implemented, begin to  turn back that public doubt, and while messy, would  I believe, begin to reconnect the people with the decisions made for and in our names.

So, here is my first set of reforms

The next president will by executive order, open up the internal process of decision-making to the people.
 `1. Presidential Question Time: Each week, the President will appear before a joint session of Congress to answer questions from them. The questions shall be no longer than 30 seconds, and any questioner taking longer will be bleeped/horned (of maybe one of you can come up with a unique sound like the clang from Law and Order), that cuts them off. No speeches, just questions and answers. We will see pretty quickly these politicians are no smarter than any of us.


2. Each meeting with any lobbyist and any member of Congress, or staff, or the Administration, shall be recorded, transcribed and made public within 12 hours of said meeting. No secret deals, the public needs to know

3. Freedom of the press is the ballast that should keep our leaders honest.  Every interview with any member of Congress or any candidate, and with every member of the Administration, shall be fully recorded and made available online within 1 hour of said interview appearing in any public format.  We get compare what is made available and what is edited out.  And, the editorial meetings of all news organizations shall be recorded, and transcribed and made available within in 24 hours of said meeting.

4. The oral arguments and open hearings of the Supreme Court shall be broadcast live. (The Court shall have full authority by its own rules to sanction any lawyer using that opportunity to make an ass of him-herself.)

5. All organizations and persons lobbying to any member of Congress or the Administration shall announce any and all such meetings with complete information as to who, what ,when, where and why.

Now, that's just a start of the chaos. You can find a million reasons that they wont work- go ahead and tear them apart, and offer improvements. Keep on topic, I will be adding more ideas in the blog posts ahead.  Keep your powder dry until we hit some of them, like money, access, initiatives etc.

Now imagine this: a candidate who puts a list of reforms together that sound even remotely like this.

And the sunshine peeks out from behind even the darkest cloud.

Kurt

4 comments:

BK said...

Great ideas. But bear in mind that on November 9, 2016, America is going to awake to a President-Elect Clinton or a President-Elect Trump. No matter how flawed Hillary is and how tainted, she is not DERANGED. We cannot stand by and allow Mussolini to be elected before our very eyes. Wake up, America. This is not TV. This is our lives.

Richard Kaiser said...

All these suggestions are great. However, I get the feeling that people do not have the will to stay that engaged unless it is around a presidential election. A more direct democracy is great as an ideal, but it requires an involved and educated electorate. From voter turnout, which has always been low except in Presidential years, I suspect not enought of our citizens are engaged nor educated enough to make this work. People scream for more of a voice then all they do is rant. The excellerated 24 hour news cycle and the rush to be first to get a story out unfortunatley has led to carelss vetting and an abundance of misinformation, which paritisan participants twist and spin to promote their own agendae. Thus we end up with a deformed version of the American ethos and it morphs into no ethos at all. We now find ourselves left with a fearful and chaotic feeling. History shows us the despots rise by siezing on the fear and chaos, ramping it up with shocking rehotric and then offer themselves as the only solution. Sound familiar? Re-listen or re-read Trump's acceptance speech. Say what you will about the Clintons; they and she are not despots. I can't say the same about Trump.

Susan said...

So glad you got back to commenting.....missed your insights.

I was just watching the CNN series The Seventies...the episode about Nixon. They ended the episode by noting how it showed the system really does work, even if not always quickly or perfectly. Historical perspective helps me from getting too depressed or upset!

Agree with much of what Rickard Kaiser said about the problems with totally direct democracy....and, as you said about our legal system, what we have may not be perfect, but it's the best there is.

Richard Kaiser said...

No doubt that we have the best system, as least as far as I know. There are smaller countries that seem to work well such as Canada and some Scandanavian countries. But in Europe and Scandanavia their base populations are more homogeneous than our which has made them easier to govern. Lately, however, as immigration increases, they are becoming more diverse and appear to be having difficulty dealing with it. Our forefathers foresaw the problems with diversity and Hamilton especially pushed for a more representative form of government rather than direct democracy. Even though that seems less than or ideals state, and less fair sometimes, it does I think, mitigate some of the problems that we are currently experiencing. I agree we will weather this and may even end up stronger for it. These are growing pains and thank goodness we are still growing.