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Your Views: Ideas to help our government function better

POSTED: December 28, 2013 1:00 a.m.

Regarding Brandon Givens’ article on dysfunctional government, here’s my wish list:

First, eliminate primary elections. In open-primary states, this allows members of one party to cross over and vote for the nominee of another party. Thus, one political party can participate in choosing the nominee of its opposition.

That’s not democracy at all, but a vile sabotage of the spirit of representative democracy our founders envisioned. It follows one fundamental rule: It’s always easier to sabotage your competition and make them lose than it is to be accountable to the public interest and do the hard work of real government that would properly merit re-election.

Instead of using primaries to determine nominees, parties should caucus at political conventions to directly determine their nominees and their party platform. That beats the heck out of allowing the opposition to select your nominee and then have that guy who is their choice determine your party platform.

In general elections, we should stop seeing campaigns as a set of competing individuals and instead see it as a competition of ideas between political parties and party platforms. Running political campaigns as a contest between individuals furnishes ample opportunities to sabotage elections by smearing, attacking and faulting the individual. It is the politics of personal destruction. This is where many honest and decent candidates on both sides get pruned away by forces that would play each side against the middle.

My theory: If we stop nitpicking the faults of individual candidates and focus on parties, ideas and platforms, we will be far more pleased with the net results of governance the system provides us. This might provide a government that actually works to address and fix issues of public concern and resolve matters of foreign policy, instead of a completely dysfunctional group of individuals who refuse to work together.

Dry up unlimited corporate money in election campaigns. The Supreme Court ruled this funding is constitutional under the First Amendment, but has not determined that this right applies only to real human beings and not corporations. If you’d like to know what I really think, google “George Carlin The American Dream.”

Regarding congressional districts and gerrymanders, I’d suggest enforcing consistent use of rectangular or honeycomb-like hexagon shaped congressional districts because geometric shapes are intrinsically nonpartisan. Acceptable geometric shapes should tile together perfectly.

Establish a permanent pool of previously nominated and approved candidates for seats to the Supreme Court. From this pool, a retiring justice would pick his or her own replacement. This streamlines the process and eliminates partisan fights over potential nominees.

Know and recognize character smears and misinformation. Feeding and reinforcing the worst presumptions about the opposition provides a false justification to dismiss their concerns and deny their rights. This is excused as opinion entertainment, but the net result is voters don’t know who to trust or what to believe.

Lies and misinformation are powerful enemies of democracy and functional government. We must be vigilant to guard against them in every aspect of our lives.

Bruce Vandiver
Lula


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