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Friday, November 6, 2009

A Truly Democratic Idea

Many people think our structure of government is a Democracy. It isn't. In fact, our structure of government is a Republic. In that we elect people to represent our interests. In a true Democracy the people would govern directly. There would be no elections. Instead, everyone in the country would be a part of the government. Now, such governance is nearly impossible logistically and so while the word Democracy is often used there's almost no examples of a true Democracy in the history of the world.

Meet David Franks...he would like to bring a true Democracy to the United States. This system would utilize all the effectiveness of modern technology: television, cable, internet, MP3 players, etc. It would also be an idea that starts locally and would spread if effective until it turned into a bottom to top system of governance. Any citizen would be given the opportunity to suggest a local ordinance or law. To do so, they would be required to put together a video of about ten minutes. Before this, each idea would face the local council. This council, that would replace the local legislature, would consist of ten people and they would be rotated randomly from the local voter registration rolls every ten days. That way the corruption that normally occurs in the local legislature is eliminated. If a majority of the council likes the idea, then a video is produced and it's run on a regular basis on a local cable channel set aside specifically for all these ideas. It's also put on the internet, podcasts, and any new media that comes along.

That video gets played for ten days. Then, there's a break for 30 days. In that break, two sides will form. One side will form to favor said idea and another to oppose. Then, a debate will be held videotaped and put on television, radio, internet, etc. That will happen for the next ten days. Meanwhile, there will be a central number where everyone in the community can call to vote. They will be given an access code that identifies them and them only. Each issue will have its own code. So, everyone will only be allowed to vote once on each issue. Meanwhile, the debate will continue to run regularly over tv, internet, radio, etc. regularly over the next ten days and an updated tally of the vote will accompany the replay.

At the end of the ten days the votes will be tallied and any proposal that passes will become the local ordinance. If this system catches on, more localities will try it. As it expands, passed ordinances will be emailed to other localities so that local activists will have information about what is and isn't working in other areas.

Nationally, once a majority of localities pass any given idea, then it comes up for a national referendum and a similar time frame and structure will hold. With this idea, there would no longer be any County governments. There would still be local executive branches. There would still be a president and a Congress, however, as the idea expands more and more representatives would be eliminated. The goal is to transform our government from a Republic to a Democracy.


Anonymous said...

The Russians had a word for these local councils of rotating citizens: they called them Soviets.

mike volpe said...

fair enough. I am, by the way, not endorsing this idea. I want to write about things you aren't likely to find elsewhere. I am very curious to hear what people think.