They say all politics is local and that grassroots politics is at the heart of it all. Well, I’ve got some ideas for transforming all politics to local politics in more than just name.
Right now, access to power is the sole province of the wealthy --- and the laws that result from the legislative process are as enriching to the health and well-being of the average citizen as filet mignon to a Hindu.
But what if politicians were bound to an agenda dictated not by the people who paid for their summer homes, but by the people who voted them into office?
How about if instead of voting for people who will cease pretending they serve our interests the minute they are sworn in, we voted people into office to follow our directives above all others?
What if we altered our current electoral system so that the basic issues facing most Americans were the ones politicians spent their time addressing: health care, job creation and retention, crime, education, poverty, domestic tranquility, budget deficits, transportation, infrastructure improvement, security, environmental responsibility, international credibility and any other topic that can reasonably fit on a ballot?
What if our elections were not devoted to choosing one talking head over another from political parties that only require each other for sustenance and have long since rendered constituents superfluous? What if instead of going through the motions of testing politicians’ ability to lie unabashedly, we elected politicians based on their ability to obey the will of the people?
What if we voted on a slate of priorities and required our politicians to limit their activities to projects that effectuated those priorities? Simple majorities would dictate initiatives in order of the votes they get. Ability to accurately interpret the will of the people would be the sole basis on which to judge the success of a politician, and would determine her re-electability.
What if this process started at the neighborhood level, progressed to the city-wide level, proceeded to the county-wide, then state-wide, then region-wide and finally nationwide? All working off the same matrix of priorities as defined by the majorities in the spheres within which they served.
Neighborhood priorities would be pushed by neighborhood representatives; city-wide priorities that may be slightly different than the neighborhood variety would be advocated by politicians elected in city-wide elections; state-wide priorities for state elected officials and nationwide priorities effected by nationally elected politicians.
Then campaign finance reform wouldn’t be necessary since adherence to the will of the people – and not the corporate elite – would guarantee political longevity. The two-party system would be extinct since it would require far more than two parties to adequately represent our diverse population. Disaffected populations would be more inspired to vote as the one-to-one correlation between voting and true representation became clear.
And we would finally rid ourselves of the cult of personalities that have allowed the democratic process to be subverted to its current sorry state. But hey, it’s just an idea.