Politics. This is always a safe topic with which to begin a blog, I always say.
My mother’s side of the family boasts democrats. My father is a conductor on the Tea Party Express Train to Mayfield. I’m somewhere in between wandering about no man’s land. I am irritated by both parties almost equally, and wish there was a viable third option somewhere. I’m not turned off by politicians that change their minds on issues, so long as they change it for good reason. It’s better than the alternative. But you know what I’d like to see even more than yet another political party? I’d like to see actual representatives of the people. I know, we’re well past that era. There is too much money and power on the line.
I don’t just want to change out elected officials, though. I’m talking about overhauling the system entirely (not in an anarchist-overthrow-the-government-death-to-America kind of way); changing the way we think about politics. I’d like to see people interacting with the system. I don’t want to sit idly while decisions are made without my input. I want responsible citizenship to back up the program.
Here’s how things would look if I were in office:
My official website would list each of the issues I’m expected to support/oppose. I would hire interns or staff to read each and every word of any bill that I’m expected to vote on. On my website, they would summarize the key points… and there would be a section called “what this means to you…” where they would highlight any and all ways it might affect the daily life of my constituency. Why? Because people only care when they are affected. And I want people to care.
There would then be a section where people could log in and vote for or against the measure. Sorry, it’s limited only to registered voters who log in from an IP address from my region, and only one vote is allowed. Should you lack access to a personal computer, you could also submit your vote in writing through the postal service (assuming it still exists) and provided you include the proper documentation proving you are a registered voter. Hey, registering to vote is free. No excuses. With rights come responsibility. There is a catch, though. You can’t just submit your vote and be done with it. You must also include the reason why you either support or oppose the bill.
I would then split up my remaining interns/staff into two teams: For and Against. The “For” team would read through all the arguments in favor of the bill and craft a solid presentation supporting its adoption into law. The “Against” team would gather and summarize the arguments opposed to the bill and craft their own presentation. Both teams would be present to hear the others arguments, and both would have an opportunity following their presentations to ask questions and rebut. Based on the arguments and the number of votes cast by my constituency would determine how I would stand on the issue. I mean, if 100 people tell me to vote one way and their main argument is because “they’s turning’ ‘merica into the devil’s own playground” and only 40 people argue that “a new dog park will provide puppies a safe environment in which to play”… well, let’s face it, dogs need to recreate, even if they are devil dogs (little USMC joke there). Seriously, though, I’d go with the argument that makes the most sense for the situation. That’s where Edmund Burke’s quote comes into play:
“Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”
And when my decision was made, that would be posted on the site as well my reasons for choosing to support/oppose the bill. I’d stand by my record, and there would be no surprise revelations later about how I voted and why. Obviously, future me might find out that dog parks, particularly the one I supported, are actually a detriment to dogs’ health because owners don’t pick up poop, or haven’t properly vaccinated their pups, or never had them fixed thereby increasing the population of strays which highlights new concerns for overcrowded shelters in the area, etc., etc. Future me would then weigh that out, too, when considering other bills creating new dog parks.
A word about my staff: I would hire people who believed differently than I do on myriad levels. I want to hear the other side because what if something they say actually makes sense? Oh the horror! That couldn’t possibly be. The Farmer and the Cowman can’t be friends! One man likes to push a plow, the other likes to chase a cow. And that’s the reason why they can’t be friends. Or something like that (it’s been a lot of years since my elementary school put on a musical). Just kidding. I would hire them because I love drama. Workplace political drama is the best. Love it.
My website would be highly
criticized publicized through all the evil usual media networks, locally and nationally. It only works if people know about it and use it.
The idea might be simplistic, and maybe it would only work on a local level (school board anyone?), but can you imagine how nice it would be if people were not only involved in government, but actually educated about the issues rather than listening to soundbites from talking heads?
I know, I know… I can almost hear the cheers now crying out, “Stubbs! You should be the next not-Romney GOP candidate!” But no.
First, I’m not old enough. Learning to type on a typewriter makes me old, but it doesn’t make me that old. I’ll have you know my family was one of the first to have a home computer – 256K baby! – and that was before I ever took keyboarding.
B, I’m not red enough… or is it blue? Doesn’t matter, whatever enough is, I’m not. Besides, I don’t want to.
Third, and probably most important, I’ve done a ton of stupid things in my life, and will likely continue to do stupid things. Running for president (or any other political office) won’t be one of them. Besides, I don’t want to.
Although… I did have this idea once (2000). I wondered if I announced my candidacy for say… 2020, and I canvassed the neighborhoods everywhere I went from that moment in time through the 2020 election cycle informing people of my intention, passing out flyers and business cards, and holding media interviews with local and national news outlets, if I could actually win the presidential election. I figured with 19 years of unofficial campaigning followed by a year of actual campaigning… people would probably have heard my name associated with the presidency for so many years, it would be a foregone conclusion that I was the president. Who knows? I guess the world never will because I didn’t want to actually spend 20 years on an experiment like that. Someone could probably be just as effective with a youtube presidency campaign (you heard it here first… I want a piece of that sweet electoral pie), if not more, as with my canvassing the neighborhood campaign.