Saturday, May 12, 2007

Of the People

Our government has been hijacked and no one seems to care (enough). Our constitutional rights have been vanquished, our judicial system is being rigged, our economy has been on a twenty-year decline thanks to free trade (loss of industry, loss of the tax revenue from industry, and loss of tariffs), deregulation, tax cuts for the rich, and corporate welfare (which dwarfs the money spent on individual welfare by a long shot). The gap between the wealthy and the poor is widening and the middle class is disappearing.

The problem, I believe, is that our population is almost completely ignorant of the inner-workings of our own government. We vote based on the buzzwords that are spoon fed to us by the media. We vote for the politicians who are the best at whispering sweet nothings in our ear.

So I have a solution. It's an exercise in futility because few people will like it and it will never be put into practice, but I think it's worth mentioning.

The average citizen NEEDS a first-hand understanding of how our government works so they can be competent voters. We also need diversity in our government. We need more non-bureaucrats running the bureaucracy. We need more compassionate, non-control freaks working in our prison system. We need fresh minds and fresh ideas. Most of all, we need people in our government who would rather be doing something else. I know that sounds crazy, but you can't pull a cart out of the mud with people who have a vested interest in being stuck in the mud.

We need mandatory civil service by every citizen.

That's right, every citizen needs to serve a few years in the government in order to qualify for government services. In return for imposing on the lives and career tracks of every citizen, government services should extend to universal healthcare and higher education.

Not only would we be a country bursting with fresh ideas and renewed progress, but we would be a country of healthy, educated citizens.

Also, when Congress votes for a war, THEIR KIDS should be automatically enlisted in the military.

So now we would be a country of healthy, educated and involved citizens that would only go to war if there were an actual and serious threat to our nation's safety.

Oh well, it's a thought.


Gus_J said...

And it's a good thought. Unfortunately, that wouldn't probably work very well either. If the heart isn't in the act, it'll probably be like jury duty, people will just do their best to get out of it, while others who usually don't have the time embrace being part of the democratic process. Also,with compulsory involvement, some freedom would be surrendered. Part of our system is having the right not to give a shit. Instead, people like you and me should get involved and be a voice of the people. Taking money from external sources while in a seat of power should be forbidden, part of the big problem right now is BRIBERY from lobbyists. We need to start by throwing them out of the process, they should be allowed to have their say representing corporations, but they shouldn't be able to grease the wheels of legislature with money, vacations, luxuries. Politicians are custodians of the people and should bring home less money than teachers.

Heather Annastasia said...

Yeah, you're right. Compulsory service would negate freedom.

But the only way you could get out of it would be to give up your social security, healthcare, and government grants that would cover college tuition and significantly help with home loans.

So what I'm thinking is that we would have a complete reversal of how things are run now; rich people would opt out and the Average Joe would be running the show.

This is an exercise like Plato's Republic ; it's not about whether this would actually work, but it's about coming up with off-the-wall ideas that might work in some form.

For instance, maybe this idea wouldn't work as an across-the-board mandatory thing, but maybe we could offer college tuition, lifetime health insurance, or other incentives to people who are willing to devote a few years to working in the government.

Gus_J said...

Now you're talkin'!

thoughtaloud said...

I think this is an amazing idea. We had something like it in the GI Bill and I do not know why we did not expand on that idea. Federal money sent to the state and local level is so scarce compared to what it used to be (as I understand.) As a college student I can really empathize with this position: the bueracracy needs new blood and personnel that accurately reflect pluralism in America, college kids need a way to pay for college. I don't understand why we don't put two and two together and cop the dough for this sort of overhaul.

Anonymous said...

College kids DO have a way to pay for college. Multiple ways in fact. There is one caveat, however: You must work hard and have some ambition. There should not be any reward for laziness and incompetency. Anyone with the ability to research and self-start who has even decent grades can find a way to educate him/herself. If you can't get a scholarship (which is unbeleivably easy if you just try) then get a student loan. The rates are reasonable and it helps you build credit for later in life when you will want to buy a house. If all else fails, join the military. The GI Bill won't pay for Ivy League, but so what? Look at state school tuitions, they're very cheap. If you don't want to hang your butt out in the line of fire, enlist in the airforce. If you don't want to go military, get a job in the oilfield and save your damn money (you'll make a lot of it). If you don't want to do that, wait tables or tend bar and save your money (you'll make enough of it). If you're too proud/lazy to wait tables or tend bar, you're fucked. Have some babies and collect wellfare.

Anonymous said...


Excellent point. Have you ever read The American Republic? The book is brilliant and predicted all of the problems our government has today. Incredibly insightful. Reads something like a title opinion but is definitely worth the effort.

Anonymous said...

Oh well, it's a thought...
off-the-wall ideas that might work...
How about no law or legally binding document may be enforced if the average high school graduate can not understand it. Imagine the consecration this would cause in political, judicial and banking circles.

Freedom of speech
Would like to see political contributions allowed only by people who can legally vote in a particular election. National election...all legal citizens could donate, a county election...only those who can legally vote in that county should be allowed to contribute. While I understand that the freedom to speak does not mean the “right” to be heard, one of modest means has no voice when big money from out of town comes in to a local election.

Personally think our political system as is encourages and rewards/promotes the wrong type of people to run for office and is designed to protect and perpetuate itself.

Occasionally I see a bright spot in politics, but it gets extinguished quickly by the system.


Shoaib said...

The people online seem to think Ron Paul has the answer. Check out the results of my poll.. huge disparity
His online support is ridiculous.

Free Documentaries said...

As a college student I can really empathize with this position: the bueracracy needs new blood and personnel that accurately reflect pluralism in America, college kids need a way to pay for college