This isn’t a secret.
America’s political mechanism is broken.
We are in danger of devaluing, to the point of scrap, the one American asset most of the world truly envies: The Ballot. Other countries have elections, but to Americans the ballot is at the core of our national identity. Our precious freedom attained by the gun was immediately entrusted to the ballot.
Every citizen has an equal voice, by way of the ballot, in deciding what vision the country pursues. The late addition of women and minorities to the rights established by the Founding Fathers–white men bound by their time to envision the privilege solely for themselves–fulfills the incipient promise of the franchise. Every citizen in the United States has both the right to cast a vote and a guarantee of its equal weight.
That is the ideal. A free society, governing itself, its citizens eager participants in the franchise. An appropriate respect for the power it wields. Confidence in its integrity. Civic pride.
Clearly the mechanism in place today makes a mockery of that ideal. But how to fix it?
My two cents in three proposals:
A Drafted Citizen Government. Send the professional politicians home. Vote out every sitting elected official. This reset is key. It’s the bomb hidden in this post. We must draft our representatives from among our ordinary citizens. Social Media makes this doable, for the first time in our history. We have among us exemplary human beings, high achievers and visionaries, humanitarian saints, solid citizens. Competent, honest and psychologically stable people from across the vocation spectrum. Let’s petition them, for the public good, to serve in local, state and national government. We need to take our self governance seriously.
Mandatory voting. Voter turnout has not reached 60% since 1968. Turnout was 49% in 1996. This is a shameful waste of democracy. Let’s require everyone to vote in every national election. People could abstain from affirming any of the candidates, or referendums, but they would have to choose that option on a ballot. No national election in which the vote was under 95% participation would be validated. Mandatory, issue-specific, civic education. As for working out the logistics of reaching the most isolated voters, so often left out of the national conversations, we could make good public use of youthful energy. Who will doubtless bring with them the vital tool of our third proposal.
Voting by smartphones. There is technology available that makes all previous modes of voting obsolete. We should be filling out our ballot by phone. Surely the brilliant minds at work in Silicon Valley could come up with a tamper-proof voting app. Two hundred million votes cast and verified electronically. A complex, massive project, with major challenges. But a necessity if we are going to finally achieve universal suffrage.
We must face up to our obligations to our country and our future. We can’t keep swinging back and forth between two failed political parties, alienating half the country at each inauguration. We have to fix this.
And we must find our solution in a transparent, universally accessed, unimpeachable ballot. A ballot that validates the voice of every single American. Then we may confidently follow the vision of the majority.
Let’s find out what the country really thinks about the important issues facing us: Climate, health care, tax policy, immigration, crime and justice, global conflict.
Serious matters, with the clock ticking.
Save the Ballot and you save America as an ideal.
Coders, your country calls.
This post is an experiment. I tried to find a core value that everyone across the political spectrum could affirm and express it without partisan keywords. Use neutral language for a dire situation. Replant the thoroughly radical idea that we free to govern ourselves.