> Let us have every member of Comgress remain in the district or state
>in which they were elected.
> Every member would be online.
> Every committe would be connect via a subscription list.
> They could feel the pulse of the people in their district 52 weeks of
> One more thing - the way they vote should be changed. Instead of a yes
>or no vote, they should be required to vote both a Percent-Yes and a
>Percent-No according to the feelings of all the people in their district.
> If they are going to represent the district then they should be
>representing all the people in the district, and all the people do not vote
>100% Yes or 100% No.
Sorry to be a bit blunt, but statements like these display a
significant lack of understanding about (at least) American government.
The politicians in Washington are *representatives,* not delegates. The
system was designed specifically to diminish the force of *day-to-day*
public opinion in the crafting of our laws. The Senate, especially, was
designed to incorporate a significant lag time by virtue of the longer
(and staggered) terms of office.
The framers of the American Constitution understood (well, and quite
correctly) that the greatest threat of tyranny faced by the American
people was tyranny on the part of *government,* and most particularly a
tyranny of the majority. That is the basis of the balance of powers
laid out in the Constitution. Direct democracy, or near substitutes
such as suggested in Mr. Davidson's post, is perhaps the speediest and
most direct path to tyranny of the majority, if for no other reason
than that the decisions arising therefrom are subject to the
*unbuffered* whims of day-to-day public opinion.
No quality is so deeply lacking in American current affairs than true
*leadership.* Government by public opinion poll and focus group ---
brought to the fore by the current administration --- is not leadership
of any sort. Rather, it is *followership.* The dithering and flip
flops on everything from agriculture to defence to taxation policy
merely reflect the innate problems of government by followership. To
embed the system of followership in the American way of government
would only insure an institutionalisation of the lack of direction we
see from both Congress and the Executive.
The only leadership we're seeing is from the one branch of American
government that should be *following* ---- the judiciary. Justice
should follow the laws and Constitution as written, that's their job,
and activist judges of all political stripes do Americans a great
disservice when they legislate from the bench. Given the drift towards
followership in American politics these days, activist judges (again,
of all political stripes) are merely filling a void that never should
have been allowed to develop in the first place.
The US Constitution is by far the oldest working constitution in the
world. Second place used to be held by Sweden (1809, I think) and third
by Canada (1867). Both those nations promulgated new constitutions in
the early 1980s.
That the US Baby Boom generation (at least its earlier cohorts) have
strong tendencies towards both self-righteousness and authoritarianism
is not particularly comforting. Given that they are arriving in the
decade of their peak political power, the fact that American government
is often slow and inefficient should be seen as a *triumph* of the US
Constitution, not a flaw. Quick, 'efficient' governments can become
quickly and efficiently tyrannical, especially when those governing
have that tendency in the first place.
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