[FoRK] 11 steps to democracy

Kevin Elliott k-elliott
Wed Oct 5 12:54:13 PDT 2005

At 06:29 -0400  on  10/4/05, Damien Morton wrote:
>1. Mandatory Voting - no quorum, no democracy. It will take a few
>elections before you reach the 80% turnout mark, but eliminating
>eligibility for governement services unless you have a
>certificate that you voted will help things along. If youre a
>citizen, then you vote, otherwise you are less than a citizen.

How does forcing people who don't want to vote improve Government? 
Even better, how does forcing the people who most BENEFIT from 
Government to vote make it more sensible?

>2 Dispense with single-member districts and go for proportional 

And this fixes what?  Get a few more lib's and greenies in a suppose. 
Makes the individual Rep/Dem  MUCH less beholden to a particular 
area.  Frankly I'm not sure that makes things better.

>3. No more first-past-the-post, winner-takes-all elections. No more
>allocating all electoral college votes to one side or the other.

*shrug*.  Except in extreme cases this has no effect on who gets 
elected.  Al Gore would have one, and a hand full of earlier 

-DRAMATICALLY improved opportunity for voter fraud.  Right now their 
are only a handful of places where stealing votes is productive. 
Gore couldn't win Texas  and  Bush couldn't win Illinois or 

I have to ask, are you from Europe?  A lot of your ideas are very 
"European" (which I don't have anything against).  The problem with 
the European style is it doesn't understand how HUGE and diverse the 
US is.

>4. Force the merging and disempowering of local governement. Not
>every butt-fuck town needs its own police, school system,
>sewerage, etc etc. Efficiencies and scale savings here would
>save a ton of money, and eliminate a huge amount of pigs from
>the trough.

This is silly.  In EVERY state in the union local government exists 
at the pleasure of the state government.  One of the more amusing 
element of the US is that no state extended the federal system they 
demanded of the Feds to their own structure.  Local government exists 
because the state finds it expedient/convenient for it to exist.

>5. (HARD) Force small, low population states to merge together or
>with larger states.

And this would do what?  Could part of California seceed?

>6. If you are going to have electronic voting, charging 25c for each
>vote will ensure that each and every penny is tracked and
>accounted for (and therefore also the votes). Put the nevada
>gaming comission in charge, and payout the monies raised to a
>lucky winner, each election. Better yet, buy inexpensive,
>reliable voting machines from India.

Bah.  This is  a solved problem.  Having voted in Nevada, it's not 
hard  to design a straightforward and secure voting  machine.

>7. Make it illegal to donate campaign funds to individuals. Instead
>channel it all through the parties (who are somewhat harder to
>corrupt than one congressmen at a time). Making campaign
>donations taxable will ensure that the IRS has plenty of
>incentive to track down and account for every penny.

Please.  It's my god damn money.  What could be more fundamental to 
my right than the right to throw it away however  I damn well please.

>9. Eliminate fixed 4-year terms. Allow the president to call an
>election anytime he wants. This will shorten election campaigns
>and reduce the power of the almighty dollar in them.

It  also makes it easier for the political structure to change VERY 
quickly.  As structured today, the 2 houses serve to different 

The house is designed to be very responsive.  Every 2  years every 
single body in that building can change.

The senate is designed to slow change.  To make sure that we're 
making the RIGHT decisions and not being hasty.  The BEST the 
president can hope is that he can replace 2/3 of the senate  during 
his stay.

>10. Force licencees of the airwaves to give free airtime to
>candidates. The airwaves are a public resource. Hearing what the
>candidates have to say is a public service, maybe even eminent
>domain applies here.

I don't need to hear more of  what they have to say.  I KNOW  what 
they have to say.  Any American who  wants to hear more about  what 
they have to say has  plenty of resources at hand to  figure out what 
they have  to say.

Seriously.  I voted for Bush both times, I only half listened to the 
debates, and I STILL had plenty of information  to decide who I'd 
vote for.

>11. Adopt the Parliamentary Democracy practise of question time, in 
>which the President
>must publicly respond to questions from members of congress.

I don't have any idea on this one.  Would we be better if the 
President was a good at informal  debate?  I don't know.  It 
certainly isn't part of his job- I'd expect the president to take a 
longer, slower approach  to problems and really think them through. 
I don't see how debating  plays to that.
Arguing with an engineer is like wrestling with a pig in mud.
After a while, you realize the pig is enjoying it.
Kevin Elliott   <mailto:kelliott at mac.com>
AIM/iChatAV: kelliott at mac.com  (video chat available)

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