What is “business as usual” in America’s representative democracy today?
- Government by two gangs (political parties) has replaced government by the people’s representatives.
- Politicians must get re-elected, so they cater to their largest campaign donors.
- Rich and powerful elites dominate both parties.
- Each party wipes out the previous accomplishments of the other, so little ever gets done.
- The American people are more and more divided along party lines, which often coincide with racial lines.
- The polarized media constantly provokes all these divisions.
- The political divisions are leading to more and more hate and violence.
- Corporations are swelling like balloons and swallowing smaller businesses.
- Governments are swelling like balloons and swallowing smaller governments.
- Most people don’t believe anything government officials say anymore, whether Republican or Democrat.
- Most people don’t believe anything journalists say anymore, whether liberal or conservative.
- And so on!
You can call me stubborn, but I refuse to believe in unsolvable problems.
After all, we put men on the moon.
I also don’t believe in permanent solutions, because people are selfish by nature. That means they will always find loopholes to get around the safe-guards, so we have to constantly update them. And we seriously need to update our republic, our representative democracy. But liberals and conservatives have fiercely different ideas about how to go about it.
America’s founders were men of unbelievable genius and patriotism. They created political solutions that have served us extremely well for almost 250 years. But over time those solutions are coming apart at the seams. In spite of all that, even with political theater and corporate interference preying upon the U.S. Constitution, our society has accomplished wonders. Through America’s influence, much of our world today enjoys the highest living standards and the largest middle class in history.
It would be foolish to make sudden or drastic changes to our constitution, but is that even necessary? We have no need to be in a hurry to fix our system like our founders were. They wrote the U.S. Constitution in only four months! And it was written by a very small group of men. By contrast, we can spend the next decade or even the next generation or so rethinking how we want our government to work. And anyone who wants to get involved can do so through the modern marvel of the internet.
Our founders knew we can’t solve social problems by trying to convince people to think or behave differently.
Humans can’t change human nature. We can only design the structure of government to divide power into different hands. Ambition must oppose ambition – power must oppose power. Our founders crafted our government according to the Separation of Powers doctrine, in which they expected the executive, legislative and judicial branches to oppose each other in a three-way balance of power.
That division has worked well, but the real division of power in America’s representative democracy has turned out to be between the two major political parties. The founders designed our system to prevent parties from gaining traction, but now parties are in control!
What works and what doesn’t work in America’s representative democracy?
How can we re-organize it to ensure that the rich and powerful don’t crush the interests of average people? Can we restructure our government to protect us from tyranny without turning it into that very tyranny itself? How can “we, the people” take back control from the political parties and the power players that control them?Can conservatives and liberals live together without shoving their views down each other’s throats? Is it possible for people with different political views to live out their own values without somebody forcing one-size-fits-all solutions that don’t fit anybody? Believe it or not, there are real answers to all of these questions!
This site is for discussing how to improve our political system. It is NOT for discussing party politics or political figures. So if you have a non-partisan question or comment, feel free to leave it below.
6 thoughts on “I.1: America’s Representative Democracy”
I loved this clean, logical & non partisan approach to our country’s problems… Solutions are my desire as well. Please keep me posted.
Please continue to read my posts, and tell me your views and ideas. The only way we will ever solve anything is together. My opinions are worthless by themselves.
How can we solve the issue of power imbalance without some type of wealth redistribution? And, John, I am interested in what your definition of “community” is.
My definition of community is Jane Jacob’s definition of an urban district, plus Jefferson’s concept of true local sovereignty, and extended to suburban and rural areas. See the posts in my “local sovereignty” category. Wealth redistribution should be handled in part by dividing tax revenues to communities based on population. Also we need true equal opportunity. Children should not be responsible for their parents’ failures. Please continue the conversation….
Reading your article helped me a lot and I agree with you. But I still have some doubts, can you clarify for me? I’ll keep an eye out for your answers.
I’ll be happy to clarify, but I don’t know what is unclear to you. Please ask a specific question.