Thursday, March 03, 2005

Participation

“If a due participation of office is a matter of right, how are vacancies to be obtained? Those by death are few; by resignation, none.” Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)

I want to participate in this democracy, but find no way to act besides voting for representatives that do not clearly represent any position, except the desire to be elected by the population.

Am I expected to take this situation as a serious opportunity to participate? Legislative authority needs to be redistributed. I want the option to represent myself or choose someone to represent me; anyone of my choosing that I feel can represent my interests better than I can. I'm serious about this, I want to be able to choose my own representative not merely choose between preselected alternatives. The freedom to choose is embodied in the write in candidate and our almost complete lack of freedom is embodied in the radio button. I want to be able to write in a name and have my chosen individual represent me. My candidate should always get elected! He should always win the opportunity to represent me.

Maybe the current system was the best that modes of communication and transportation allowed two hundred years ago, but the physical limitations of the past have become entrenched interests of the career politicians of the present. We need to reorganize the system to benefit from advances in communication and transportation. Why must legislators sit in a room together and sign paper? Why must the role of legislator be a paid position held by a few? The role of legislation should be the role of a citizen. Any citizen capable of using a computer and proving sufficient ability and knowledge in the subjects dealt with should be free and empowered to participate in the proposal and ratifying of legislation.

“Of the people, for the people and by the people”, we can make this more true. We can distribute legislative authority to a greater part of our population, so that those who want to participate actually can.

This sounds nice, yes, but you doubt it will come about. What is the motivation of those in power to share their power? Why would these career politicians give up the professions they’ve invested in and profit from? They will give up their power only if we take it from them with the threat of force. That is how we gained and paid for the system we currently have, and that is how we will advance this very same system; popular support, coupled with the support of those principled individuals currently in power.

I want to participate, but I do not want a new profession. I want to be a citizen that can participate in the democracy he belongs to. The answer to my desire is the reason why we are disenfranchised as a nation.

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