The Only Cure There Be
Updated: Sep 24, 2021
The only cure for a failing democracy is more democracy.
There is a scene in my novel, “Amendment XXIX” where the President is addressing a joint session of Congress and reminding them of some of their major screwups – reminding them that, as an institution, they are no wiser and no more foolish that the general public. Among the items on that long list are:
# Ignoring the issue of slavery in the constitution of 1789.
# Freeing the enslaved in 1865 and then denying them the vote.
# Breaking treaties with Native American tribes to placate profiteers.
# Implementing Prohibition and fostering a national crime wave.
# Raiding Social Security to pay for other government programs.
# Hosting a Senatorial witch hunt for “Commies” throughout society.
# Exempting itself from inconvenient laws like Equal Employment Opportunity.
# Scuttling every meaningful effort at campaign finance reform
# Rebuffing every meaningful attempt to simplify the U. S. Tax Code.
# Callously dumping trillions in national debt on our grandchildren.
Is it any wonder our Congress has become a national embarrassment? If you have ever served on a committee of six diverse people and tried to get something done, imagine a committee of 600. So, if this system of government is failing us; failing to address and solve the most critical national policy issues that we face, what are the options?
(1) We could grant (or surrender) extra-legal powers to one party and their supreme leader so that they could fix things. That’s what both the Republicans and the Democrats secretly long for. Historically, however, this is disastrous for democracy. OR
(2) Instead of shrinking the number of decision makers to a few (an oligarchy) or one (a tyrant), let’s expand the number of folks involved in making national policy decisions to, oh, I don’t know, how about 220 million?
I’m talking about the Electorate taking on some of the responsibility for setting national policy, especially where the Congress is paralyzed by party politics. This “Committee of the Whole” would obviously never meet in person on a national scale but could engage in consideration of an issue at the local level or in the digital world. Then, when the deadline for debate is reached and the stakeholders have all made their best pitches, the Citizenry votes in a national referendum and the issue is decided – the political impasse is ended, and the nation can move forward.
This is the next logical step in the evolution of Democracy, and we need it yesterday.
The only cure for a failing democracy is MORE democracy.
21 June 2021