Saturday, February 10, 2007

Direct versus Representative Democracies

I took some time to research these colloquial terms and find out about some of the nuances beyond each taken definition. In America we live in what is coined a representative democracy. In other words by way of the electoral college we elect representatives from divided districts to represent us as individuals and spend tax revenues in our best interests, or so we thought. The more people there are within a given geographical district the more representation that district receives. The more representation that district receives the more leverage, spending power, and pork "kickbacks" there are to return to the larger districts. Small states or should I say states that are "inhabitant challenged" like Montana generally gain some influence in agricultural and other rural entitlement issues because many people in populated areas simply don't understand that bread comes from grown wheat and meat comes from beef on the hoof. Besides, representatives from agricultural states are masters of playing up the nostalgia of the family farmer's plight. That issue is a whole other fight.

The reported benefits of our representative democracy seem to stem from fluid efficiency and minority protections. I am not so sure about the efficiency part because in Washington, D.C. it seems the only efficient actions of Congress revolve around the ability to stagnate and remain grossly inefficient. (maybe the Romans called this a juxtaposed paradoxical dichotomy?) The senators and representatives elected in each district supposedly keep the best interests of the majority that elected them in mind but all too often decisions and paths taken in Washington seem to trail the best interest of the politicians' political parties rather than the constituency back home. I can think of zero times a politician really cared about my opinion and cared to write or phone me as to how best serve my interests as a constituent.

A direct democracy basically means what it says. People control far more with their individual votes and have a direct say in the passing of laws and initiatives and allow the elected leaders to serve as more of a puppet with the voters controlling the strings. A single vote carries weight rather than appearing as a speck on the blotted mass of a majority canvas. I like that idea. At the time the framers of our Constitution decided on a representative democracy instead of a direct democracy, the technological advances of today seemed unfathomable and were in fact beyond reach.

It just seems to me that in this modern age of emailing, e-filing, e-dating, e-driving, e-gaming, and e-breathing that some form of government could take shape that would put the power back within the hands of the people rather than the politicians and their suspect loyalties. Why not divide the country into equal districts and use a modern computer program to devise a system so that each vote in each district is worth a certain number of points. Basically this is so that 200 hundred votes in a district in eastern Montana carry the same weight as 300,000 votes in a particular district in California. Then if voters in a particular district act lethargically no one is to blame but them for passed legislation they disagreed with. I know this example is oversimplified and I do not have the budget to commission a full study. Government waste and size would be drastically reduced and with the electronic gadgets available today you could cast your vote on the next spending bill or war declaration from your office or even the throne in your favorite bathroom. The point is, somehow the taxpayers have to take control of their country's interests and tax monies before self-serving politicians destroy the country. The modern political party system is a razing machine intent on the destruction of productivity, efficiency, and protection of the citizens and their property. The parties are now jackals consumed with the pursuit of each other leaving the nation's business behind. The threats to our security stalk ever closer in the night.

Give me your opinion on direct versus representative democracies. Please take a second to fill in a comment. I'd love to hear YOUR opinions.

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