All the ideologies, with the exception of anarchism, consider law to be a major means of instituting and maintaining the social norms they support. In all forms of democracy, law should come from the people, either directly or through representatives. An area of difference that affects democracy, as well as most of the other ideologies, is how hard law should be to make and change. In the context of the United States, laws can be legal but not necessarily ethical. If we look back into history, laws legalizing slavery and banning women suffrage lasted for a long time. What current laws do you wish for a change? Do you foresee the gay rights (same sex marriage) to eventually become a federal protection?
When I think about how much more productive our democracy could be, how much healthier it could be, I think of the non-participation rates that have weakened the democratic under-structure, if you will, in our United States (though in my view, we are anything but in decline). I understand the conservative desire to not be under the thumb of their government, to take part in their government and not be ruled by it. I also understand the liberal desire to use the power of a strong government to regulate what is otherwise a capitalist system that eats democracies like ours for lunch, creating non-allegiant Multi-National Corporations that abuse their relationships with consumers and labor AND nation-states. I have come up with an idea or two that I believe addresses both concerns AND draws upon the American desire to consume…which will rebuild our economy and bring home some of that 32 trillion stored off-shore…and strengthen, I believe, our democracy:
Here’s my idea, let’s use Election Day here as an example, which ought to be a National Holiday, with paid days off for everyone, fireworks, the whole deal—but that’s a different conversation--: Make it less of a reward to not take part than it is to take part instead of a mandate to vote or a punishment for not voting, or the current no-consequence abandonment we see…example: 10% off of some product or service offered by the state if you do vote, 5% off if you do not...I dunno. But more innovative solutions are necessary, solutions that allow for individual sovereignty while recognizing and protecting state’s and nation’s rights. Count up those who have not voted come census—draft them (or citizens from all tax brackets in the states with the lowest turnout) into another new government program I’ll create while KING for a day…an ombudsman system for monitoring elected officials. Six month terms, with a write-up in the local news reporting back on what YOUR legislator has done over that time.
Also, I am partisan, but you don’t have to be. Vote for who you wanna, please, by all means- I encourage you to vote for incompetence even, should that be your choice. Please, just vote your conscience, exercise your right to vote your choice. PLEASE. No-one can claim they are being ‘dictated to’ when they are casting their vote. And drive someone you like and someone you don’t like with you. Walk with some friends. Find a senior or a veteran, take them. Vote! One caveat:
If you believe man has no authority to govern man, ok. State that. Aloud. To your pastor. In your church. If you believe that Our American Government, with All Of the Checks and Balances in place and review undertaken over the course of a full century…if you believe that Our Shared Institution of United Federal government is an illegal Authority forcing taxation on you, ok. You have that right. Go to church on Voting Day instead of the voting booth, and register your Concern for the Direction of America by praying for voters. Give to God your honor and Allegiance and Authority to govern you and your Family of Churches and Spiritual Warriors. Cool. And don’t vote. Don’t register as voters, don’t run as candidates, don’t refuse to raise MY taxes---I vote. I give to the Government willingly. I pledge Allegiance to the United States of America. When you make your “secession statement” to your pastor, the “right” to evangelize-“to tell me or my wife what contraception we can use, which Amendments states ought to apply within Civil Law, etc. are not lost, but indeed, Given To your God. Awesome!
Register this statement with census. Fair enough? By registering your belief that America is an Illegitimate Authority forcing Taxation on You, you have agreed to not vote, as a vote is for where to direct tax dollars. It is tax dollars that provide the essence of Our Ability to Enforce the Constitution as a Social Contract. A zero percent tax rate…nothing is more Un-American. You will, through your pastor, still have to pay taxes, just at the Church Rate, whatever that is decided to be Fair by the Voting, Accepting of America American Public.…say, ten percent of the yearly tithing’s to your Church.
Such statement, once registered, ought last ten years, and one consequence can be: and because we love our neighbors, we will not take up arms, but-This will mean not allowing you to withhold your taxes to the detriment of the People’s Treasury, for example. “Any exemptions?” No. Not corporate, not personal--nope---no vote, no tax exemptions----there ya go! No new taxes? Awesome!
The Starve the Beast Strategy that the Dominionsts I have written about all semester are using to usurp established and legitimate Presidential and other governmental power is hereby described as executed long-term sedition, which can only be described as a slide Toward Treason. When you choose not to vote, you choose to not take part in the social contract, and so disrespect the rest of Us who do, and when you refuse the Agreed and Codified rights of All in the Name of Individual freedom, you are, in fact, beginning the process of seceding from America.
Americans who love their country support the services and rights that are degraded merely by our births. That’s right; we each scratch the varnish on American Freedom, and are responsible for cleaning up after ourselves---if we do, we are also responsible for turning to our neighbor and discovering how else to be best useful. This is called Humanity. So you still have to pay taxes…you are making sure your God has a record of your “registering your concern.” Let God do the Rest! have Faith!
Those who do not accept these Human Contracts with the American Constitution give up and do not attempt to recover the very basis of their philosophy: if the Constitution is Bible-Based, then the Bible is also merely a document stating the very basic rights given to all Humanity, and under any threat may not be separated by any Human. You, in the name of your god, are doing just this. This is coercion toward faith, a perversion of God’s Love, a version of America that cannot be allowed to exist.
Here I have outlined two solutions for helping heal American Democracy; is it law? More public policy, maybe, but laws might actually begin to change even MORE rapidly towards progress if either or both ideas were taken up by or discussed among rational actors.