Monday, March 6, 2017

One simple rule to improve Western "representative" democracy

By Denis G. Rancourt, PhD

Representative democracy is designed to limit popular interference with elite rule, while providing a nurtured illusion of community and justice.

However, if the system goes too far in dissociating itself from the popular will, then the entire society is at risk of destabilization.

My recommendation especially applies to the Western states Canada and the USA, which incidentally both shun proportional representation. Canada shuns proportional representation because the managerial elite can get away with it, while continuing to sell off the country. The USA shuns any improvement because it is already the freest and greatest nation in the history of the universe.

Nonetheless, purely out of academic interest, I make the following considered suggestion.

In order to create and improve democracy in the USA and Canada, I would implement this simple rule:

Voter registration for each election requires attending one all-candidates debate or presentation in person in a riding for the upcoming election, whether federal, provincial, or municipal, from beginning to the end of the debate or presentation part, at least; in which all candidates are invited to and accommodated in the said debate or presentation.

If you don't care to attend at least one such session in the 4 years between elections, then it is presumed that you don't care to vote and the collective prefers that you not vote.

The simple rule:
  • ensures that sufficient such events are held
  • brings the focus onto representation rather than blinded leader selection
  • increases so-called transparency and accountability
  • reduces the chance of over-influence from payed-for or manipulated propaganda
  • gets you meeting the candidates and trusting your live impressions
  • gets you into the community meeting your neighbours who care to vote
  • makes for better all-candidates events
  • invigorates the democratic process
  • informs you like nothing else can
  • gives you a chance to ask questions and communicate your views directly to the candidates ...

I would add "parliamentary privilege" for all attendees, so one can say what one wants to say without the societal cost of prosecution or litigation.

Bring back the town hall meeting, as a first step. Then we can talk about proportional representation, referendum mechanisms, independence of government watchdogs, actual whistle-blower protection, rules against moneyed interest groups, campaign donations, and, eventually, even participatory democracy.

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