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Has America Outgrown Limits of Representative Democracy?

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posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 05:54 PM
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Hi all. I ask you a simple question. Has the United States of America outgrown the system of representative democracy?

To explain what I mean, a representative democracy works well on paper for a smaller country where the lawmakers and politicians are still in direct contact and rapport with the constituents whose views they are supposed to represent.

Let's take for example a representative democracy functioning in the 1800's.

A congressional district leader would represent let's say a few hundred constituents from his district. This would allow him to fairly represent their needs and views in the house of representatives or senate. Even with a few hundred constituents he is able to "tap the pulse" of his constituents and know what they want, and what policy changes they need.
In a smaller scale country, a scale which America represented long ago when a Representative Democracy was ideally suited to its population scale, such a system works because people still have a say and the congressional representatives who represent the constituents under them are able to actually understand the direction that THE PEOPLE want the country to go into.

However NOW, in the new modern society, the population of America has exploded to such an extent that each representative has in his district such an inordinate number of constituents that it is impossible in his entire life time to ever truly hear their plight or be responsible for their needs. Congress still has the same number of seats yet the population of America has exploded by hundreds of percent.

The way an ideal Representative Democracy works the way I see it in theory is that the PEOPLE control the fate and destiny of the country through the people they elect. Those people are elected not to do whatever THEY want to do at their whim, but rather what their CONSTITUENTS directly under them want them to do. The politicians SERVE the citizens.

In today's America however, citizens merely elect a politician whom they feel will "do roughly along the lines of what they want" because they know he will never truly hear their too multitudinous voices and basically citizens are entrusting these politicians to just take the country in whatever direction they want and merely HOPE that the guy they elected is "somewhere within the scope" of their own ideal direction for the country.

As you can see, I feel the system is obsolete and is no longer working today.

We elect leaders that can no longer hear us and will no longer listen. We elect guys like Bush and Obama and while polls consistently depict things like A VAST MAJORITY of the nation not wanting to go to war, "leaders" like Bush and Obama merely decide for US what they feel is the right direction for our country to take. And what should have been the buffer against that, our personal representatives, the guys who are supposed to represent our views in congress, i.e. our House and Senate, turns into a betrayal because those representatives in today's system as I've already stated can no longer hear our voice or tap into our collective unconscious because we are far too vast and multitudinous for them to ever truly understand or hear. One district leader may represent millions of people now and so when he sits in congress he can no longer hear their individual plight and instead ends up ignoring them all and just going with whatever the government as a newly autonomous entity (autonomous from the control of the people) wants to do.

This system is failing now. The country doesn't want war. The country doesn't want the banks to be bailed out. Millions of calls and emails and constituent outcries flooded every district and every level of government on deaf ears and the policy makers still continue to make "their own decisions" based on what they feel is best for the country simply for the fact that there are way too many people in their districts and they no longer even bother to listen. There is a huge disconnect between government and citizenry now.


As I've said this system is failing rapidly and I feel that a coming revolution may force us to rethink it in its entirety.

What kind of governmental system could work in a modern society of such vast scope and size as never imagined or predicted hundreds of years ago when our republic was first founded?

Should a court room-esque "Trial" type government be instituted?
Where instead of us electing representatives that ignore their vast constituency and make decisions on their own whims (and those of lobbyists) what if we had a system where every single legal dictate and direction for this country is cybertronically voted on by every single American. But each issue is represented by a series of debates with a "prosecutor" and "defense" type opposing teams.

Let's say there is a looming war with Iraq. We have an elected prosecutor team officially debates FOR going to war on national TV/internet and makes a case for WHY we as ONE COUNTRY AMERICA must go to this war. Then we have a defense team of legal/political experts that present their case for why we should NOT send our soldiers to die in this pointless war. After the case is presented, the entire nation votes electronically. The winning vote decides what the country does. Period. No fraudulent and corrupt "electoral college" that no one can even explain and that don't have to follow the mandate of the citizenry, no corrupt politicians doing as they desire, only the citizens themselves voting on each and every single direction of the country. Would such a system work?

If not, what WOULD work for a country of such scope, complexity, and size as AMERICA?




posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 06:04 PM
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I agree, we've outgrown it, and I've been trying to think of something to take it's place.

Direct democracy or anarchism, will only work if everyone is spread out, and not condensed in certain places. We need the people spread like butter, because it is never good in huge clumps.



posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 06:11 PM
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reply to post by rufusdrak
 


S&F

You know what? You've given me food for thought. I'm going to have to mull, and drink, but mostly mull. . . . well, mostly drink. . . and I'll try to come up with a suitable response.




posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 06:38 PM
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Our representative form of government would still work,if those elected were writing the bills. Special interest groups and lobbiests write most of the obscene bills that have come out of congress of late.

There should be no rush to pass laws. Why not allow time for the people to digest them,report their thoughts to their rep's,then have a vote.

IF the recent problems with our representative form of centralized government aren't resolved,I forsee this country divided into regional republics.



posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 06:41 PM
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No, the problem is not that we as a nation have outgrown a Representative Democracy.

The Problem is that the representatives have isolated themselves from the constituency. By permitting politician to become a career path, the person is only in touch as he wishes to be. The argument of being the voice of too many voices is laughable when the many voices say one thing and the representative votes on his own. Often ignoring the people he was to represent.

The 2008 Presidential Election had three senators that spent the better part of two years trying to become president. That is, nearly 1/3 of their term in office. Were they not needed to do their job? I mean we were paying them the whole time.

An additional problem is that the representatives assume power that goes well beyond their mandated limits as set by the US Constitution. Speakers of the House are not supposed to be visiting nations with unfriendly status. The President and only the President is supposed to be the one to negotiate treaties. Why did the Pope give Pelosi that award again some time after her private trip to Jordan and other Mid-East nation's leaders?

For all the trillions that the US is over their budget on how many are from programs and unconstitutional treaties (that virtually eliminate tariff duty on imported goods), highly unconstitutional monetary system (Only Congress has power to coin money and regulate the value--President appoints/approves Chairman of the Fed) and of course the tax system (IRS head is again a Presidential appointment/approval).

Basically, if the federal government were to operate only under Constitutional guidelines and make Amendments for the power to operate in additional areas (like they are supposed to do) then the State legislatures would have the power to reign in the federal government like they are supposed to do.

The constituency have far greater control of their State governments and can quickly correct problems in the system by voice, vote or (if need be) force. Under these conditions greater individual responsibility and civic duty can happen. Which of course bring about vocalization of ideas and fresh representation on all levels of government.

Heck, I bet we could even dust off and polish that old trophy of "Greatest Nation on Earth" once again.

[edit on 29-9-2009 by Ahabstar]



posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 06:43 PM
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reply to post by rufusdrak
 



However NOW, in the new modern society, the population of America has exploded to such an extent that each representative has in his district such an inordinate number of constituents that it is impossible in his entire life time to ever truly hear their plight or be responsible for their needs.

I think that this is only true in some districts in America. For example, the district that I come from in Florida is rather homogeneous in political ideology. The problem would arise in larger, more populated districts. Of course, even where I'm from, there are those that have opposing views. This would've happened in the 1800s as well. If one is upset that one of the opposing political party gets elected continually to represent them, they could always move somewhere else where their views are better represented. Of course, that's not always feasible. That is why it is the duty of all Americans to get involved; don't just sit back and complain. Get up and do something! Then just hope that for those two years your representative will represent you the best that he can. (Not to mention that there will undoubtedly be someone in Congress that thinks as you do; I would say that the representation in Congress has evolved some from the "old days". I know many more representatives from other states that someone back in the 1800s knew came from their state!)


Congress still has the same number of seats yet the population of America has exploded by hundreds of percent.

Not exactly true. The Houses number get redone every ten years, by the census. Today, there are 435 representatives. Surely, there weren't that many back when there were only thirteen states! The Constitution says that one representative can only represent a certain amount of people. When that number is reached, more reps are added.

The Senate doesn't change much though. Each state gets two Senators because it's not based on population, but making things equal.


The way an ideal Representative Democracy works the way I see it in theory is that the PEOPLE control the fate and destiny of the country through the people they elect. Those people are elected not to do whatever THEY want to do at their whim, but rather what their CONSTITUENTS directly under them want them to do. The politicians SERVE the citizens.

Your correct. This is the ideal way that the American system would work. However, the state that things are now isn't the fault of the system. Rather, it's the fault of the people who don't pay attention to politics and just choose the same people over, and over. This allows politicians to get into the pockets of the lobbies.


As you can see, I feel the system is obsolete and is no longer working today.

It would work better if there were more than two parties. With only two parties, they become mirror images of one another and the politicians don't feel like they need to stand up for anything but what will get them money. Still, this isn't a fault in the system, rather, it's the fault of the voter not paying attention to politics.


We elect leaders that can no longer hear us and will no longer listen.

We elect said leaders because they know they don't have to listen because their job is secure because no one is going to vote them out because no one pays attention anyway.


There is a huge disconnect between government and citizenry now.

Yes, but not because of a flaw in the system. The voters keep putting the same people in office. That's the problem. The concerns of the people wouldn't fall on deaf ears if the people actually stood up and voted people out consistently that ignored their pleas. Even with all the outcry of late, I bet that many of these same buffoons will still be in office next November.


What kind of governmental system could work in a modern society of such vast scope and size as never imagined or predicted hundreds of years ago when our republic was first founded?

The system that we have now, with a citizenry that cares, that's not afraid to vote "their guy out" because he did some shady stuff.


Where instead of us electing representatives that ignore their vast constituency and make decisions on their own whims (and those of lobbyists) what if we had a system where every single legal dictate and direction for this country is cybertronically voted on by every single American. But each issue is represented by a series of debates with a "prosecutor" and "defense" type opposing teams.

We can't even get 75% of Americans to vote consistently in any election. What's going to make "cybertronic" voting different? Do you think that the average American is actually going to take the time to study all the sides of an issue before voting on it? That's the advantage of a republic like we have.


No fraudulent and corrupt "electoral college" that no one can even explain

The Electoral College only elects the president. Many people can explain the electoral college, too. Only twice has it not gone with the popular vote, and each time is disputable.


and that don't have to follow the mandate of the citizenry, no corrupt politicians doing as they desire, only the citizens themselves voting on each and every single direction of the country. Would such a system work?

No, because Americans don't vote now as it is. They surely won't vote on every single decision. Unless it was done in American Idol style perhaps.


If not, what WOULD work for a country of such scope, complexity, and size as AMERICA?

What we have now, with an informed citizenry added. The founding fathers weren't dumb.



posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 06:45 PM
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Originally posted by Ahabstar

The Problem is that the representatives have isolated themselves from the constituency.


The reps for the less populace parts of New Hampshire refused to come up here for the town hall healthcare meetings. They all stayed in the Southern part of the state where they are comfortable with the sheep.

On one hand I feel angry they so openly cast us in the Northern part of the state aside. On the other it makes me really happy to know they don't give a frak about us. That information makes decisions I know we'll have to make in the not too distant future that much easier to make.



posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 06:47 PM
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reply to post by rufusdrak
 




I answered the door two days ago and standing there on my door step was the former Tánaiste ( deputy prime minister ) of my country.

Retired from political life and back at his profession as a barrister .... there he was standing in front of me, on his own, interested to know what i thought about the Lisbon Treaty . (He was doing a little "lite" canvassing for his former party.)

Yes there is a greater sense of intimacy associated with political life in a small country .
Yet we have our worries also ....... small countries fear parochialism from their politicians ie.`Pork barrel` spending for their constituents.
Although, with the ever expanding European Union , the citizens of small states are beginning to realise how anonymous they truly are .
I certainly feel a sense of disconnect with the European Union .

But at least i was able to share my thoughts with the former Deputy Prime Minister . ...... even if it was a yes vote in the referendum that he angling from me.

I will be voting NO ....again.

Just a citizen of a small country sharing his perspective.





[edit on 29-9-2009 by UmbraSumus]

[edit on 29-9-2009 by UmbraSumus]



posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 06:53 PM
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However NOW, in the new modern society, the population of America has exploded to such an extent that each representative has in his district such an inordinate number of constituents that it is impossible in his entire life time to ever truly hear their plight or be responsible for their needs. Congress still has the same number of seats yet the population of America has exploded by hundreds of percent.


This is where your premise falls. We have gotten so used to having the government take care of all our needs, that we have forgotten how to take care of them ourselves. If we stop requiring the government to baby-sit us, and we make ourselves grow up, then maybe government can stop taking care of all our problems.




The way an ideal Representative Democracy works the way I see it in theory is that the PEOPLE control the fate and destiny of the country through the people they elect. Those people are elected not to do whatever THEY want to do at their whim, but rather what their CONSTITUENTS directly under them want them to do. The politicians SERVE the citizens.


We have given that “right” away. What did we get for it? A body politic that thinks we’re idiots.





In today's America however, citizens merely elect a politician whom they feel will "do roughly along the lines of what they want" because they know he will never truly hear their too multitudinous voices and basically citizens are entrusting these politicians to just take the country in whatever direction they want and merely HOPE that the guy they elected is "somewhere within the scope" of their own ideal direction for the country.


That’s because we HAVE become stupid. Not enough smart people to cut through the cloud of idiots.


We elect leaders that can no longer hear us and will no longer listen.


See “stupid” issue above.




This system is failing now. The country doesn't want war. The country doesn't want the banks to be bailed out. Millions of calls and emails and constituent outcries flooded every district and every level of government on deaf ears and the policy makers still continue to make "their own decisions" based on what they feel is best for the country simply for the fact that there are way too many people in their districts and they no longer even bother to listen. There is a huge disconnect between government and citizenry now.


We still have the power to change it, though. We (as Americans) need to get off our over-fed asses and create the “change” that we have been praying for. Instead of a damn “messiah” though, we are just going to have to do the job ourselves.

In my humble opinion, of course.



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