Fixing America Part 1: politics

political spectrum


“You can lead a man to Congress but you can’t make him think.”


Milton Berle <in 1950>


“The answer is that there is no good answer.

So as parents, as doctors, as judges, and as a society, we fumble through and make decisions that allow us to sleep at night — because morals are more important than ethics, and love is more important than law.”


My Sister’s Keeper


Senator William Jenner in 1954:

“Today the path to total dictatorship in the United States can be laid by strictly legal means, unseen and unheard by the Congress, the President, or the people .

. . . Outwardly we have a Constitutional government.

We have operating WITHIN our government and political system, ANOTHER body representing another form of government, a bureaucratic elite which believes our Constitution is outmoded and is sure that it is the winning side . . . .

All the strange developments in foreign policy agreements may be traced to this group who are going to make us over to suit their pleasure.

We must consider our danger not only in the terms of the treaties or agreements which have been completed, but in terms of those still in the pipelines, or already in effect, but still invisible to Congress or to the people . . . .

This political action group has its own local political support organizations, its own pressure groups, its own vested interests, its foothold within our government, and its own propaganda apparatus . . . . Someone, somewhere, conceived the brilliant strategy of revolution by the assembly line .The pattern for total revolution was divided into separate parts, each of them as innocent, safe, and familiar-looking as possible. The men who made the blueprints know exactly WHAT the final product is to be. They have planned the final assembly years ahead.”






change things can politics


Back in May 2012 I wrote about fixing america in terms of ‘repairing our faults‘ and it was addressed to the people of america.



Today … this is part 1 of 3 about fixing America. Part 1 is Politics and part 2 is specifically about politicians and Part 3 is about America in general.



Part 1.


We in the USA are edging our way into a presidential election cycle and the politician hyperbole is elbowing its way onto the media airwaves.



It becomes far too easy to try and discuss elections and the issues they discuss in simplistic terms … anger, immigration, women, minorities, income inequality … whatever.


The sheer oddness of large parts of America sometimes make it difficult to find a sane anchor is … oh … which lets me bring up te other slightly insane issue … China <why doesn’t anyone bring up the fact USA is the second largest IMPORTER of products to China?>.






The main things politicians do is tap into the contradiction that the American economy is growing <but never as fast as hasty Americans ever want> but the general public has poor expectations – this disconnect seems to reflect the prosperity’s limited reach and a belief that Washington is supposed to fix everything <and their dysfunction isn’t going to fix it>.



A late 2014 Pew Research Center Poll showcased about 71% of those surveyed were dissatisfied with the way things are going in USA and just 49% predicted 2015 will be better.



Those attitudes fueled developments of splinter groups voicing a specific issue or specific point of view. This fragmentation exacerbates the politic playing field issues.



All of this almost forces everyone to ask a couple of questions … is this the demise of democracy as we know it or simply a political system gone awry? … what is the point of elections when the result is always the same? Does it matter that victory after victory reflects the center <which translates into do little to nothing>?




… years from now people will reflect and note that America did NOT get the center with Obama and the angst we feel is a reflection that we did not select a centrist … electing someone who is not a centrist is what we seem to want but … well … be careful what you wish for.



After doing some research I found that since 1989 politics, choosing the best leader that can be found, has been replaced by a contest between who can best serve the needs of the market … all the while fringed by unstable populist movements.




All that said.

equal we are all

Here is what I would do to fix American politics … the overall theme is “level the playing field so I can assess & elect the best candidate.”



Four things I would do.



– Money.



Cut off election financial aid <or cap it>.


I don’t want the one who can run the most ads to win … I want the one who says the most with the same amount of ads.


To watch American politics today is to watch money speaking. The 2016 US elections will almost certainly be the most expensive with total campaign expenditure exceeding the estimated $7bn spent in the 2012 presidential and congressional contests. In order to afford running almost everyone depends on other people’s money <because a normal everyday smart working schmuck doesn’t have his kind of money around>.



graffiti heart moneyThe sums are absurd looked at in isolation.

They look unreal when compared to other democracies. Britain’s 2010 election spent less than $100m. In fact, Canada has a law which allows politicians to lay out a maximum of about $25m for the first 37 days of an election campaign, plus an extra $685,185 for each subsequent day.


Rejecting a challenge to such campaign finance regulation back in 2004, the Canadian supreme court argued that “individuals should have an equal opportunity to participate in the electoral process”, and that “wealth is the main obstacle to equal participation”. “Where those having access to the most resources monopolize the election discourse, their opponents will be deprived of a reasonable opportunity to speak and be heard.”



I want everyone to spend the same amount of money … and I would actually have someone figure out the lowest level of spending which insures a highest enough level of awareness of each candidate.


This actually increases the importance of tv debates because less controlled messaging <advertising> means debate messaging becomes that critical comparison moment for messaging.



Remove money as a variable. I don’t want money or someone’s wealth to decide what I hear.


– Stop districting voting blocks.



Having republican voting blocks <districts> and democrat voting districts is crazy.

vote choice elect

Make a politician win the popular vote in the area they will be representing … whoever is in that district.



I don’t want a republican county or a democrat county … I want a people county selecting by popular vote a person to represent their county interests.





And choose ALL politicians by popular vote <President included>.



In almost every Gallup poll since 1944 only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state <about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided>.





Politicians designed redistricting so that politicians could benefit. This is political reengineering at its crudest and worst.



What bullshit.


If we are truly a Republic <which USA is> than the people should design districts <so that they encapsulate their needs and wants – schools, taxes, infrastructure, etc.> and then by popular vote select a representative.



Remove districting as a variable. I don’t want a district predestined to select a specific party.



– Mandatory voting





This one is gonna be controversial.

voting apathy

Make it mandatory to vote.



We bitch and we moan and we point fingers.


But let’s point fingers at us … the people.


And fix the system at the people level.



What the hell … we make everyone have an id <or drivers license … we make everyone have insurance… we make people do the things that insure a better society and safer society … what the hell … make everyone vote.


– Make them read more.






book numbersMake them read more.




I’m consistent with this on all issues and people.



Reading is good.


Even with … maybe even especially with … politicians.



Why did I suggest this one?


Apparently politicians must feel they are too important to read.



A 1977 survey revealed that the average congressman spends only 11 minutes a day reading at work.



The results of that survey must have been so embarrassing that no follow-up study has ever been done.



I have no evidence that today’s representatives are any more reading friendly than their 11-minute-a-day predecessors.



This suggests a number of conclusions <many quite disturbing> … but suffice it to say … if they are not reading that means they are having other people tell them the information <and that scares me>.


Make politicians read more.




number jumble

Those are my 4 things I would do to fix American politics.






I admit <this is not a ‘fix suggestion’ but rather a mini-‘bitch session’>. And, in closing this one out, I suggest some things about politicians as a precursor to Part 2.



I am tired that both parties paint the other as dictatorial and ominous and themselves as ‘the indignant righteous’.


It insults me and it should insult the intelligence of any and all people.



We are a Republic that uses democratically elected representatives for some of the national government.


Democracy is might makes right.


A Republic is limited in what it can do no matter how much the everyday people may swing back & forth emotionally <think Ebola, immigration, Iraq/middle east military, etc>.


I state that because inevitably this means our elected representatives have some responsibilities.



I don’t demand politicians with practical business experience <mostly because I struggle to find anyone anywhere who doesn’t have some sense of practical business even if they haven’t run a company> but I do demand politicians that seek solutions that reward, and not undermine, the relationship between effort and reward.



I don’t want politicians spending money they don’t have and purposefully setting up systems that encourage the everyday person to take silly behavioral risks with financial repercussions <encouraging everyone to buy a home begets an attitude of buying a home regardless of whether I can afford one or not>.



I do want politicians who understand the greater good <we should use money from people who produced to take care of people who cannot produce> without abusing this ‘greater good intent.’



I don’t want politicians setting up committees discussing “getting answers for the American public” simply because the American public has asked for answers <sometimes we don’t need to hear an answer and sometimes what we think we want to hear today is simply replaced by some other ‘thing’ we want an answer to the next day> but instead help the American public decide what answers really need exploring <and not make that decision based on political posturing>.



I do want politicians to not think of elections as a purpose or a means to some end but rather an opportunity to represent the people they represent.



These are the things I value <not values> and believe leaders have responsibilities to keep these things in mind when doing what they have been elected to do.



I want a system built around encouraging labor and rewarding labor … encouraging making and not taking … encouraging responsibility and not decadence … encouraging hope and not diminishing those who lack hope.



The reality is that people do want to work, like to work and feel better when they are working.


There is a sliver of population that doesn’t pertain to.



I want politicians who recognize that, state that, and work hard creating a country that works hard to be the best it can be instead of acting like the small sliver of the population that sits around talking and not doing.

political soul speak correct






We have a number of problems in the country <all quite solvable> that political posturing is preventing from being addressed or corrected.


I don’t like it when politicians use fear to motivate interest <it tends to make smaller issues sound big – think the Ebola issue … if you can remember the hue & cry of that time>.



I don’t like it when politicians use Americanism as exceptionalism to motivate interest <it makes us sound small and reflects a lack of understanding everything is interconnected globally>.



I don’t like it when politicians use hyperbole or mis-state an issue to make a point <stating immigration as an issue when they really want to say “Mexican immigrants” but realize than it becomes racial and … well … blatant stereotyping>.





What I would like is someone who doesn’t insult me with superficial promises and silly diatribes that stoke fear.



What I would like is someone who doesn’t insult the intelligence of any and all people and a political system which not only does NOT encourage this but actually penalizes politicians who pander.

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Written by Bruce