America is on the verge of a nervous breakdown as a very unique brand of a faith-based oligarchy slowly erodes our democracy. According to the polls, the majority of citizens are diametrically opposed to the policies of the ‘evil trio’ – Trump, McConnell, and Ryan — but feel increasingly powerless as one new policy after another takes us backward.
Each day a new Trump decree consumes the very moral fabric of our country. Polluting our air and water is now allowed. Throwing millions off healthcare while giving bonuses to insurance company executives is a real possibility. The gap between rich and poor is the highest in America’s history. A revised tax code soon to be rewritten will make that gap even larger. Historic rollbacks are taking place every day to eliminate protections for African-Americans, LGBTQ citizens, Muslims and Hispanic Americans, leaving them extremely vulnerable again.
Most frightening is the realignment of the Supreme Court, the appointment of ultraconservative U.S. federal judges and a concerted strategy to remove the right to vote from millions of Americans. Add to the horror the fact that knowledge, science, and facts no longer are held in high esteem. Get caught in a lie? The solution from the top is to tell a bigger lie and make people forget the last one.
Americans are facing leaders who have only one fear – the fear of losing their newfound total power.
We are left to pray to God that we can reclaim one house of the legislative branch just to stop the internal bleeding. We march in record numbers. The amount of petitions and calls made to our representatives has to be close to a record. States are attempting to develop policies to counter the trend toward the new anti-democratic feds.
Impeachment might be an option but forget it if we go to war with North Korea. Americans are not going to impeach a president while at war.
As we do our best to save the country, it is becoming increasingly clear we are playing against a stacked deck. The institutions of democracy created over two centuries ago are failing in a technological world and our only salvation might to reform them. It is not just one man — it is that democracy has been corrupted.
To put it bluntly, what worked for this nation in the late 1700s might need to be reformed. Over two hundred years into our great American experiment, we should never fear change.
Here are some policies that we should seriously consider and debate:
Electoral College: Abolish it. We have had too many elections where the minority has taken power. Hillary won with 52% of the vote. It is time to rid us of ourselves of this ancient and undemocratic institution.
Term Limits for Congress: Most states now have term limits and it forces the powerful to give up power. No state governments have collapsed because of term limits and often it guarantees fresh, young and innovative leadership. The House of Representatives should be elected for three or four terms and the Senate for a maximum of two or three terms.
Redistricting: We must tackle the process of redistricting in America. What has happened is those who have authority have gerrymandered districts to ensure that incumbents get re-elected. Some of the districts are just damn ridiculous. Those in power have created districts which have protected over 90% of incumbents. That means only 10% of our citizens have a choice. Americans can no longer trust either party to implement fair and honest redistricting.
Unicameral Congress: I am sure in the early days of our democracy that it was essential to have two houses of Congress if for no other reason than to ensure that all the states joined this union. It is now over 200 years later and the Senate is increasingly a place that devalues the vote of millions of Americans. Senator McConnell of Kentucky represents 4.9 million Americans while Senator Feinstein represents 39.5 million Americans in California. Kentucky has just over 1% of the population while California represents 9%.
A voter in Kentucky is significantly more valued than a voter in California. Hell, in the last Presidential election just over 260,000 folks voted in Wyoming. Democrats spent $46,000,000 in the last Senate races. It would be cheaper to move voters to Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, Idaho, and North Dakota to take those Senate seats.
VOTING: Every state should send out ballots to every voter in the state and allow them to vote by mail and if not, have easy access to vote early up to 30 days before the election. Americans shouldn’t have to wait in lines for five to six hours in order to vote. Every American citizen should have the right to vote with no restrictions. Strict laws with severe penalties for intimidating Americans attempting to vote must be written.
MANDATORY RUN-OFFS: In primaries and the general election, if no candidate receives 40% of the vote there should be a mandatory run-off within two weeks. Another option would be ranking the candidates to avoid the cost of another election.
Just keep this in mind as you discuss the above: Donald Trump was elected president by just 29% of all Americans eligible to vote. We are doomed to have extremist governments if this trend continues and you can clearly see why voter suppression is so important to alt-right Republicans.
In some gerrymandered districts, we have candidates winning primaries in safe districts that have won with a vote of less than 15% of the total voters in their districts.
Our democracy is broken and we must fix it. Failure to do so will make electing people like our president a way of life and not just an exception. We must shed the past while learning from it and embrace new democratic institutions for the future.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:
“Be not the slave of your own past – plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with new self-respect, with new power, and with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.”
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