In the 2000 election
cycle, the Democratic Party raised over 520 million dollars. Even this
figure pales in comparison to the 750 million dollars raised by republicans.
But no amount of money can change the fundamental flaws that plague a
corrupt and dysfunctional system. Ideologies and flowery speeches do
not solve social problems. Mindful activism does.
Political Reform: The fatal
flaw in the system of democracy.
What is a
Functional Organization: Red tape and bureaucracy prohibit our
government from functioning as an effective organization.
The Ability to Win:
The financial aspect of the system produces politicians who are strong on
salesmanship, but weak on problem solving ability and personal character.
Political Reform Parties: In order for a true democracy to exist, people
must be in a position to select from a wide range of candidates rather than
a select few.
Soft Money: A
chart displaying dollar amounts of soft money contributions from the
oil/energy industry over the past six years provides a concrete glimpse at
the magnitude of the problem.
The Power Elite:
Both Thomas Dye and William Domhoff argue that in the United States, power
is no longer vested in the people, but rather, in a select group of upper
class individuals, or, the "power elite.
and the Transfer of Values: The power elite never disappears because it
is self perpetuating. Young people who are on their rise to the top accept
the values of the power elite, making them their own.
The power elite, largely through their influence in the area of research and
their use of 'policy planning groups' are able to shape, and in some cases,
create public policy.
Oppressive Influence: All facets of a capitalist society are ultimately
influenced by the economy and the corporate realm; even those areas that we
would usually consider completely unrelated to the power elite.
Money on Politics: In spite of the democratic principles of the American
political system, politicians cannot be considered to be true
representatives of their people. Rather, their opinions and behavior
are heavily influenced by the vast resources of their political
Political Power: An examination of the Economic Stimulus Plan, the House
Energy Plan, and the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which demonstrates the
powerful impact that large donors can exert on the shaping of government
Partisan Politics: High speed internet, prescription drugs, and
insurance: Examples of congressional representatives displaying their
loyalty to the wills of their donors, rather than to their constituents or
their own personal conscious.
Political Power 3: When considering almost any issue, the solution
advocated by either congress or the president will not necessarily be in the
best interest of the people who these elected officials are supposed to
serve. Essentially, everybody will find a solution that is in the best
interest of their financial supporters.
Think Tanks and
Political Reform: Think tanks don't need money. They need
Thinking in Politics: Ideologies - beautiful words, and lofty ideals -
don't solved social problems. We must recognize that our beliefs, in
and of themselves, are not solutions.
Some Advice From
Abraham Lincoln: People have ceased to be their own rulers, and have
resigned control of their government to the political parties, the money,
and the institutions that they have created.
Lessons taught by a film that portrays the struggle - both in Washington and
Tokyo - to end, and in a few cases prolong, WWII.
as a Call to Action: Names of deceased individuals, and a description of
their ties to the Whitewater scandal.
Questions: Answer to some questions submitted by visitors to the site.
The Root Causes Of Social
Dysfunction: The major problems of our political, educational, and
health-care systems all stem from the same root causes. There are things
that we can do to attack the causes of the disease, and not it's symptoms.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
In order to achieve political reform, and once again make the arena of
politics a noble one, we must concentrate on removing the financial
restraints that prevent many prospective candidates from seeking office.
A candidate must be able to run for office without the requirement of more
than a nominal sum of money. In order to facilitate this, we must
redesign the entire campaign finance structure. No longer will the
government give money to any particular individual or party, but rather, it
will support the mechanism through which there will exist a level playing
field and equal exposure for all candidates. Additionally, there will
be no campaign contributions. The political sway of wealthy
individuals and major corporations will be eliminated, returning the system
to a such a state where the phrase "one man, one vote" will ring true.
Granted, there will have to be some type of screening process that will
eliminate - with the direct input of the public - the vast majority of the
candidates, but this system should be no more burdensome to the public than
the present one. No proposed solution is going to be perfect; there
will always be objections. But our present system is outrageous, and
anything better than outrageous is a step in the right direction.
A Specific Proposal: A
summary of the specific criteria that should be met in order to create an
equitable political selection process.
Possibilities: The internet, as of yet untapped with regard to the
modern day political process, could become a powerful vessel for the
dissemination of candidate information, an important part of the candidate
screening process, and the newest method of voting.
Runoff: Let's say that the conservative candidate gets 40% of the votes,
liberal candidate A gets 35% of the votes, and liberal candidate B gets 25%
of the votes. Under our present system, the conservative candidate
would get ALL of the electoral votes. This doesn't quite seem fair.
The automatic runoff, by having voters choose the candidates in order of
numerical preference, would prevent such situations from occurring.
Candidates: The present process by which candidates are screened
involves each candidate producing a large number of signatures on a
petition. Traditionally, these signatures have been bought. Instead,
we could set up private evaluation boards similar to those now in place for
accrediting educational institutions. They would rate the candidate in
various categories on a scale of one to ten.
Metaphor: The present political system is illustrated with a
metaphor, which explains why most of us feel frustrated with the current
state of things. But you can change the system. Here's how.
Many people believe that the most fundamental flaw in our political
system is the inherent unfairness of disproportional representation.
Not only is representation disproportionate because the interests of the
wealthy few are given precedence over the interests of the less fortunate,
but also because the system is designed such that 'winner take all'.
If candidate A has 49 % of the vote, and candidate B has 51 %, candidate B
wins everything. This hardly seems fair. Although these two
issues are definite flaws in the present system, they are not the root
causes of political dysfunction. The most fundamental problem with our
system of government is that political parties, rather than the people,
select the political candidates. Political candidates are loyal to
their parties. Parties are loyal to their financial supporters.
This hardly seems democratic.
Representation: Until the people, rather than political parties, select
the politicians, the vast majority of citizens will remain malcontent with