If The Public Doesn't Know What Is Going On It Isn't Democracy
Democracy has turned into a sham. It is supposed to be By the people for the people and of the people but unless the people understand how it works they won't know how to vote intelligently.
What is the best way to put control of the interview process into the publics hands?
What is the best way to teach the public so that they know how to control the interview process?
Should we allow candidates name to be put on the ballot if they refuse to participate in an interview process controlled by the public?
Should candidates that refuse to tell the public their intentions be elected?
Should the corporations have total control over the interview process?
If they do is it still a democracy?
The fact that the corporate media currently has at the power to drown out candidates they don't like clearly implies we need media reform too.
The media is controlled by a very small percentage of the public. Their idea of allowing the public to influence the news involves letting the public write letters that the media can ignore if they want.
If it isn't democratic to allow a state to have complete control of the media why is it considered democratic for the corporations to have almost complete control of the media. a free press needs to involve more input from the public. In order for many members of the public to provide rational input they need a better education. So we need education reform.
If the public doesn't know what the government is doing how or why it can't hold it accountable. What is the best way to set up a system so that it is as easy as possible for the public to know what is going on?
Politicians have a history of doing things in a confusing way so that the public thinks they are looking out for their best interest even when they are often putting the best interest of corrupt narrow special interests ahead of the best interest of the public. What is the best way of preventing them from doing this?
How can ballot question be used to improve public participation in democracy?
Candidates routinely attack each other with biased versions of the truth. How can the public set up a system that holds leaders accountable without distorting the facts?
What I'm advocating is a system where the public controls the interview process so this would involve some public financing however the money wouldn't be given to the candidates so that he could use it for distorted TV ads.
It would be controlled by an election board that would accept applications and make them available to the public on the internet.
They would also set up interviews which could be broadcast on PBS.
Access to these interviews and applications could be made available at public libraries.
The reduction in corruption by this system would pay for the public funding and much more. The public funding may not be any higher than what is already being given to the candidates.
One big problem is the Supreme Court ruling equating Money with free speech. The corporations use this rule to drown out the voices of the majority. By flooding the public with opinions of the rich and drowning out the opinions of the majority this ruling has actually done an enormous amount of damage to our right to free speech. This ruling obviously gives the rich virtual unlimited right to speech and the poor the right to whisper.
Revising this ruling may not be easy but it should be carefully considered. Then it should be overruled reasonably quickly.
There is no democratic reason why the candidates supported by the rich should be handed an enormous advantage and those without the support of the rich should be shut out. This Supreme Court ruling is set up to preserve a plutocratic government by the rich for the rich and of the rich.
One of the core principles of democracy is freedom of the press. When the USA was established the press was controlled by a lot of modest property owners. Even then not every one had equal influence over the press. It was controlled by mainly white male property owners but they were all independent of each other so a variety of messages were expressed. In the past Twenty years or so the small media outlets were bought up by the big ones so now we have a small percentage of the public making decisions for the mass media. The internet provides a new tool for small press but it is badly organized and it is hard to find good trustworthy sources. What we need is more direct influence on the mass media from the public not just the government and the corporations. If a Government controlled Media is not considered democratic why should we consider a corporate controlled Media democratic?? Especially since the same corporations are financing and controlling the election process.
The Media could be used to do a better job teaching the public about the basics of every subject and more instead it is being used to pump out mass amounts of propaganda. Tyrants understand how important the media is much better than the public. Until the public realizes how important the media is we won't have a real democracy.
Another major improvement would be instant run off elections that give small parties a chance. The two party system is designed to keep small parties from competing. Instant run off elections would dramatically change that. If people don't want to waste their vote by voting for a fringe candidate they can do that with Instant run off elections; if there candidate is ruled out their second choice would be counted. Some have complained that this gives people multiple votes and is not fair. This is a false argument since only one vote is counted and everyone would use the same system. Then we would know how much support these third party candidates really have.
The way this would work for those of you who aren't familiar with it is that you would have the option of entering multiple votes but only one would be counted. You would pick you first choice; second choice etc. then if no one gets 50% plus 1 vote the candidate with the least amount of votes would be eliminated. If that was your first choice then they would automatically go to your second choice. Then if no has a majority you repeat it until someone has a majority.
This would eliminate the wasted vote argument many make. "If you vote for John Hagelin your vote will be wasted so you should vote for either the most corrupt democrat or the most corrupt republican that plays party politics the best." I'm not sure why people buy that argument maybe it's because they don't always phrase it quite that way.
One argument I have heard against this is that it is cheating to vote for more than one person. This is unreasonable because only one vote will be counted and everyone would play by the same rules.
The biggest problem would be teaching the public how it works and working out the glitches then I have no doubt that it would be a big improvement. However there is a possibility that those that benefit from the current system would attempt to derail it one way or another. Therefore the public should be prepared to try again and again if necessary. If the political operatives see that the public is behind it and they may not succeed in derailing it some may not even try.
The public should also have more influence over the interview process. Instead of the candidates negotiating with each other and the media to decide how the campaign is run they should be required to answer directly to the public. This may not be easy but in order to succeed the first thing you have to do is try. I don't mean a token effort that will be bumbled so they can say that doesn't work we tried it. We need a sincere effort and if it doesn't work the first time try again.
Organizations like Vote smart.org could be a big help if the organization is controlled by the people.
Unfortunately Major political Presidential candidates often refuse to fill out questionnaires provided by project Vote Smart. This seems to include both John McCain and Barak Obama. This should be considered unacceptable. the majority of the public should refuse to even consider candidates who refuse to fill out these questionnaires. Unfortunately most people don't even seem to realize that they should be involved in the interview process. The public should be involved in setting up the debates and then the candidates should be informed if they want to apply for the job they have to show up for the interviews. Interviews could be divided up into subjects. There could be a certain amount of experts invited and a certain amount of people from the public. The experts should be required to establish their expertise and explain the basics at least to the public so that the public would have an accurate idea about the subject. Fro the public to participate in a discussion about health care without even realizing that preventive healthcare can save an enormous amount of money is absurd. And yet for many that is exactly what is happening.
Small towns could set up interviews for their local politicians conducted by the public with a few elected moderators. This could set an example that could be used for bigger interview systems that could eventually include elections for president. Instead of negotiating with other candidates and the media to decide how many debates to have the public could choose and if the candidates don't want to show up for the job interview they won't be hired.
The way it could be in Twenty yearsThe public would control the elections they would elect people to moderate local election processes. This would include setting up an interview process by the people. The moderators would invite candidates to apply for the job. The first thing a candidate would do is fill out a questionnaire or job application. This application would have been prepared with contributions from the public. It would have questions about the most important issues that affect the public and perhaps some additional subjects that may only have temporary or local significance. Members of the public would have had time to nominate questions for this questionnaire and others would have had a chance to second them. The Questions with the most votes would make it onto the application. Additional questions would be asked by the public during the interview process they wouldn't be screened at all however not all questions that people would want to ask could be due to time limits. Perhaps a lottery to see who could ask questions would be taken. Everyone entering the interview room (an Auditorium) would get a ticket and numbers would be picked out of a hat. The interview would be taped so that people who couldn't fit into the auditorium or make time could watch it. A transcript would be posted on the internet. The candidates would have a chance to make speeches as they do now but they wouldn't have the option of refusing to speak to certain groups and still get their name on the ballot.
The public would have access to a rational education so that they would be making their decisions based on an accurate perception of reality. They wouldn't be making decisions based on the assumption that you get along with others better by disregarding their rights or deceiving each other. If everyone deceived everyone then no one would know what is going on. Then everyone would be basing decisions on the assumption that lies are true and the truth is a lie. Kind of like what many people do now. An accurate set of well organized facts that have been scrutinized and confirmed could be made available to the public. If there are mistakes in this they can raise their objections and correct them. Making decisions about something like Global Warming based on the assumption that it doesn't exist even if the evidence proves it does should be considered foolish and insane.
Something similar could be done for statewide or national elections however it may be necessary to rotate the location of the interviews. It may also be necessary to divide up the amount of people that are allowed in to conduct the interviews. It should not always be the same moderators controlling the interview. Nor should the moderators be screened by the same institution. As long as big media outlets controlled by a small percentage of the public have virtual complete control of the election process it will never be democracy.
The public needs oversight over the machines.
Computer systems that count the votes faster are fine as long as there is a paper back up and the public understands how they work.
If you go into the booth enter your choice into a computer then the computer prints a ballot with your vote in writing and a bar code then you could drp it into the ballot box.
When they count it the computer will use the bar code to count it fast in groups of a hundred or so. Then people could spot check them for accuracy or do a complete recount if necessary.
The computer would read the bar code and the people could read the printed vote. There shouldn't be a difference but if there is the print vote that the voter was able to read should be counted and then the machines would need to be fixed.