Guy Dwyer Wrote:
Yes, that article has interesting observations and a logical conclusion, as far as it goes. But there's much more to the story of how and why the intent of America's founders has been overlooked, ignored, and thwarted so much that the intended system of checks and balances and separation of powers no longer serves the best interests of the people.
Part of the reason, in my view, is the nature of partisan political parties, which were not part of the Constitution when George Washington became president. Remember, it wasn't until near the end of Washington's term that Alexander Hamilton founded the "Federalist Party" to combat the influence of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who responded by organizing the Democratic Republican Party (which came to prominence in 1800 when Jefferson became president).
As I've pointed out in posts some time ago (I've been occupied in other places and with other things for a good while), partisan politics is the core problem, and it is really what the author of the article is talking about. It is what puts politicians and political activists into the "clubs" he speaks of.
FDR is really the only president who has been able to overcome the opposition, but as we've seen, his legacy has been gradually denigrated and is at risk of being completely destroyed. Reaganism has replaced it, and it has morphed into something even far worse than it was when it originally infected this country.
An article I have cited before -- Partisan Politics: A Corrupt, Failed System -- addresses why we should scrap the political electoral system we have now, since it is hopelessly divisive and merely perpetuates conflict and division, and we should replace it with a system that liberates and empowers the people. (And another article -- The 21st Century Declaration of Independence -- suggests how we can do that.)
Guy Dwyer -- Welcome back. We've missed your perspectives that are always well thought out. I'll comment on your 21st Century Declaration of Independence, but first I'll reprint Article 5 of the Constitution for those less familiar:
"The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate."
I fully agree that the Electoral College system needs to be scrapped. From a practical sense, I see little prospect of 67 percent of both houses agreeing to do anything let alone the legislatures of 75 percent of the states. However, putting that big hurdle aside, the 21st Century Declaration has many good points.
The other point I will make though is that reorganizing our government will not likely change our partisan divide. We will still have liberals and conservatives and something in-between. For those elected officials who occupy the extreme ends of the political spectrum...perhaps the 30 percent on the right and the 30 percent on the left, these idealistically driven people are not inclined to compromise on much of anything. Even if they have little knowledge of an issue or proposal, they will always vote with their tribes.
So it is left to the middle 40 percent to carve out some kind of agreement with compromises that are distasteful to the extreme elements. That is the case in our America democracy or in a European Parliament.
Our government reflects the views of the people we elect. If we want to change our democracy, we need to elect good people. When only some 60 percent of the electorate decide to participate in a presidential election, then the situation is ripe for demagogues like Trump to get elected.
Any organization is only as good as the people we elect.
Not voting is not a protest. It is a surrender. -- Keith Ellison