All I Want For Christmas Is A Democracy That Works…

I have been thinking a lot about this. I am trying to make positive suggestions instead of complaining about the way things are. Some days I’m better at it than others.

It occurs to me that, yes, I want a recount of votes. Having seen what happened when Al Gore conceded while there were questions, I don’t want to make the same mistake twice. I say this not because I want the Democrats to be in the Oval Office, though I do. I want the recount and whatever results it shows to be the final results that everyone can agree on. I want results based in facts and the system we have. We used to believe in sportsmanship as a country. I still do. You can’t change the rules just because you don’t like them, but the rules must be based in facts.

Next, it occurs to me that if (not likely, but possible) Hillary does get elected by the recount, we go back to the mess in Washington we have had: Democratic president, Congress of Republicans who despise the President and have already pledged to stop everything she does, including appoint a Supreme Court justice. So, our options are Trump, whom I’m afraid of, or Hillary, who won’t be able to get anything done. Neither continuing gridlock or going back in time seem like good ideas. Among other things, but probably most important, is that none of this will benefit actual Americans. When did “It may not make their lives better, but it won’t make them worse” become the high road?

Where did we go wrong? Is there a chance democracy can work? What would make it do that?  I’d ask Santa for the answer but since I don’t think he can get that sleigh down my chimney, I suspect that’s not happening.  In case he’s listening, though, my Christmas list is short this year. I can deal with presents for my kids and my wife and, for now, I don’t need anything.  I’d be happy with nothing under the tree and a working democracy in Washington because a lot of people are counting on it.

A working democracy is something like this, as I understand it:

  1. We elect people we want. We don’t settle for voting for people we don’t really like.  I don’t care what parties, I don’t care what process is used. None of that matters. Good people should run, and parties shouldn’t make that harder to do. So, first off, good people with good hearts and minds run. We choose between the best person between those running, knowing that we would gladly settle for our second or third choice.

2. They do what’s best for the country. The people we elect should not be in it  for   themselves. They should be in it for the public good. When they leave office, they should have their salary (and maybe their benefits, if we can all have them), but nothing else. They should not have more money or more power when they leave. They should not lobby or speak and get paid a billion dollars for it. What they should get is the sense that they have left the world a better place. That and their salary ought to be enough.

3. Laws they pass should be fair to everyone.   That means everyone. If you’re a human being, the laws should apply to you. There ought not to be punishment unless you do something wrong. If you have done something wrong, there should be consequences. Laws should not be made to harm any one specific group under any circumstances.

4. Leaders should actually do things. They should be respectable –not perfect, but respectable — in order to be respected, but they ought to actually do things. Those we elect shouldn’t necessarily do what we want. They should do what’s right, as best they can figure. They should have high moral standards for us, and for themselves. More often than not, we should be able to agree with them.

5. They should work together. I get that it’s an adversarial system. I get that people have different opinions. Within that, they should not be picking fights with each other just to have an argument.  Arguments should be about ideas, not each other.

6. Decisions should be made based on facts. Most people agree on reality. If you are going to make a case for something, there ought to be a case to make. If you can’t prove it, you shouldn’t be saying it.

7. In the end, people ought to be happy with their government. If they’re not happy with it, they should tell their elected officials until they are happy with it. People should be happy, not corporations, not the market, not other countries — people.

 

So, here’s the final thought. If your legislators aren’t the things above, vote them out. They’re preventing democracy from working. We are responsible for our choices. Of course, Santa could deliver a functioning government, but — for logistical reasons only — I’m not planning on it.

 

Resisting oppression with peace,

 

John

 

 

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