Representitive Government

In a republic, the people are supposed to elect those among them to represent them in legislative bodies.  In the United States, much of the form of our government was crafted by people who understood the practicalities of travel and transportation in the late 18th Century, when people, goods, and even news all travelled at the same speed, a horse at a walk.  Perhaps its time to rethink how we elect our representitives?

Consider also that our representitives were elected for two legislative bodies that were in theory to provide some checks and balances even within the legislative branch by using differing methods.  Our Senate was to be selected by the States to represent the State as whole, often by that State’s government, rather than by direct vote of the citizens of that State.  But that has changed to direct vote, and now those Senators are subject to the same political forces that select the Representitives.

Or do they?

In many House districts, political party machines have been able to adjust the boundaries, ‘gerrymander’, the districts to rig the districts to favor one political party over another.  Within each district, a simply majority, or even a plurality, gives that seat in a ‘winner-takes-all’ manner, thus reducing the real value and meaning of “representitive government”.

Every “crank” has an idea to fix the problem… so why not me too?

Here’s my personal crack-pot idea:  Eliminate districts and allow citizens to chose their representive directly using proxies.  Each two years, candidates for the House of Representitives (and the lower houses in State legislatures) may canvas citizens across the country (or State for State legislatures) to secure a minimum required number of proxies to hold a seat in Congress.  There would also be a maximum number of proxies that any given Congress Member may hold, to limit the power of any given Member.  In session, during floor votes, the Member votes their proxies.  Obviously, those who hold more proxies wield more votes in Congress, as I believe they should.  On the flip side, this means that smaller minorities may select a Congress Member whose voice is at least heard during debates and as members of committees.  I would suggest that committee votes are one member, one vote, unlike floor votes.

The canvasing period would be divided into two phases, the first to select the Members, the second to allow those citizens who had proffered their proxies to candidates that had failed to gather enough proxies to qualify as a Member, to proffer their proxy to another who had, to ensure that they still have real representation.

This new system gives a voice to even the smallest group, as they find and support their representive with their proxies, unlike our present system which gives inordinate and very undemocratic advantage to the majority, or even to just a united plurality.

During the troubles that led to the War for Independence, forward thinking citizens put forth the notion of “No Taxation without Representation”.  I believe the new mantra should be “No Legislation without REAL Representation”.  It is time for a rethink of our electorial processes.  Please join me in calling for reform in both State and Federal Constitutions giving a REAL voice and REAL Representation in our government.

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