Right now, a lot of Americans are very angry with our elected representatives. The AIG scandal, the appointments of tax delinquents - it really doesn't matter if you are a life long Democrat or a life long Republican, it doesn't matter if you like Obama's Presidency or not: there's a lot to be angry about and we feel powerless.
One of the reasons we feel powerless is because often we are. All of my Congressional representatives are doing exactly what I want them to do: we're on the same page. But that doesn't really help, does it? There are all the other Representatives and Senators. I can send them letters, but I don't vote in their elections, I'm not their constituent, so that's almost pointless. I have no power.
I wish we could institute a "House of Commons" where all of us could vote electronically on any bill we chose to. Most of the time our votes would make no difference because not enough of us would bother to get involved. That's fine, but when a lot of us DO want to have our opinions heard, at least we could.
There are plenty of objections. How do you ensure security? Maybe
this is an answer. Aren't we afraid of "mob rule"? Yes, definitely but perhaps the mass vote might be worth one Senatorial vote or two House of Representatives vote. Maybe more - I don't know what the right figure is but anything would give us some power. Maybe it's two House of Representatives votes AND one Senatorial vote.
In my imagination, I see it working like this. You register to vote just as you do now and get a token you can use for electronic voting on any bill. If less than a certain percentage of people bother to vote, the "Commons" vote is discarded. If enough people are interested, the winning vote gets counted and is part of the Congressional vote. What percentage? Again, I don't know. Is 50% of registered voters too few or too many? I don't know.
I do know this is probably unrealistic. Too radical, for one thing. And it's weak on being truly representative because Internet access isn't
available to everyone. But it might just get more people involved in their own government and their own Government. It might also give some pause to other representatives when they see that the "Senator representing all of America" has voted on a certain bill. Our opinions and our votes definitely would matter.
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© 2009-11-07 Anthony Lawrence