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Forum Post: Our votes DO count.

Posted 2 years ago on May 1, 2012, 11:52 p.m. EST by vrum (6)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

It isn't just about the Presidential election. Congress writes the legislation. Our votes count. But our voice is neither coherent, focused nor organized.

We are accurately represented insofar as we don't ask clearly and strongly for what we want. So the representatives ignore our 'noise' and listen to the well organized special interests, lobbies and money.

It is up to US TO IDENTIFY SOLUTIONS THAT A BROAD BASE WILL SUPPORT. We don't need an independent party, we need an independent PLATFORM and then get representatives to pledge to abide by its proposals.

If we simply focus on a few central issues that strike a chord across party lines, then we can enact fundamental change to make elections fair, keep our representatives from undue influence by special interests.

First we need to discern what issues should be focused on, which solutions will cross party lines and generate a tide that will take all candidates to pledge a PEOPLE's PLATFORM... BEFORE the election.

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19 Comments


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[-] 2 points by SingleVoice (158) 2 years ago

It's much easier to change the people in the system we have now than to change the system itself completely. The core constitutional system is fine, it's all the corruption that has happened to the representatives running it.

One thing that crosses party lines is to get rid of everyone in congress who has been there more than 4 or 5 years. They are the ones that have created and perpetuated this mess. Then vote in new people that aspire to your views and hold their feet to the fire to keep their word to you and if they don't, vote them back out.

Getting rid of all the career politicians should be a goal among all people regardless of party or viewpoint. The new ones elected in would be based on viewpoint.

Let's throw all the bums out and start fresh.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (28497) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

YES - " Let's throw all the bums out and start fresh. "

So there are good people in office that support legislation like repeal corporate personhood, OSTA, Campaign finance reform, banning ear marks and other like legislation. Lets support them and vote out those who stand opposed - the bums.

[-] 0 points by SingleVoice (158) 2 years ago

The only good ones are ones that have recently been newly elected. The ones that have been there for a while tell you what you want to hear to keep being re-elected and keep the status quo. They are not being honest with you. They are responsible for this mess because they've been there for decades creating this mess. They don't want to lose their power. Politics is all about power. And the media keeps promoting the worst of them that do the most damage. These people won't give it up if we don't get rid of them. Check the voting records of those you think are on your side and you'll find out they've been lying to you and if they really wanted change, they would have been fighting for it on the floor of the Senate and the House all these years.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (28497) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Bernie Sanders is not doing a good job of representing his constituents? I believe your view is much too general.

[-] 1 points by SingleVoice (158) 2 years ago

You've proved my point. He is fairly newly elected and came into the Senate in 2006. He has only served 1 term at this time therefore he isn't considered one of the career politicians who have created this mess.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (28497) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

But you would propose to oust him as an incumbent? Because that is what it sounds like you are asking for. Look at the individual and their past performance - not how long they have been in office or their party - look at where they stand on issues.

[-] 1 points by SingleVoice (158) 2 years ago

What I've said is to limit them to 2 terms. He will probably win another term, then in 6 more years after a total of 12 years in the Senate, he should step down or be replaced by someone fresh. Of course, it always depends on who else is running but I would like to see more citizens run for office and less career politicians. They seem to lose touch with the rest of us.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (28497) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

As a general rule of thumb - you may well have a valid point. Again I say it is more up to the individual and their performance.

Again it is the issues that count and that is where all politicians should run - on issues.

Also it is on the public involvement to keep the issues in play and support or confront them.

Kick all politicians out of office that go against working for the people.

[-] 1 points by SingleVoice (158) 2 years ago

On that we can agree.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (28497) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Progress. {:-])

[-] 1 points by SparkyJP (1646) from Westminster, MD 2 years ago

The reason our voice is neither coherent, focused nor organized; IS because we need a fundamental change to make elections fair. IMO, we can not expect success, working within a corrupt system, to enact change to that same corrupt system. The cards are stacked against us from the start. This is why I'm an advocate for a Direct Democracy.

http://osixs.org/Rev2_menu_commonsense.aspx

"It's not the vote that counts. It's who counts the votes." - Josef Stalin

[-] 1 points by vrum (6) 2 years ago

Can't get direct democracy without a change in the constitution. And to do that, we need to at least begin to organize and prove that there is a coherent organized voice of the people in favor of this. Let's practice now! Let's identify something that many people can agree on, like the need for finance reform and for whatever legislation it takes to keep corporations from being able to finance candidates, whatever it takes to limit lobbyists and special interests from making any form of financial contributions to support any party or candidate. Much as I believe that 'campaign finance reform' should and would top the list of a People's Platform, I am just open and curious to find out what a broad base of americans would otherwise support.

[-] 1 points by forbetter (54) 2 years ago

Spot on. Direct democracy is the solution and is now possible through technology, and in my opinion only through technology. An open source website can be created which allows all citizens of a country to vote on EVERY issue of governance that receives the most number of sponsors. This way, instead of depending on representatives who can get corrupted or be lobbied, we can participate in governing the country ourselves, individually.

You would need an open source, free version of something like votenet.com, a modified version of this which also allows discussions (pro and con) on EVERY issue before a vote is held.

Furthermore, there is no need to sign petitions to dissolve government as mentioned at the link you gave, that will not work IMHO. You could instead organically grow this direct democracy website by inviting student governments, then town governments, even corporations to govern themselves through direct democracy. As this form of governance is superior and more citizen/member friendly, it will automatically catch on, spreading like wildfire to one day forming a national government.

[-] 2 points by SparkyJP (1646) from Westminster, MD 2 years ago

Thanks for speaking out. I too envision an open source location where discussions are held and votes made. Having ALL views and opinions laid out in front of them would be imperative, prior to their vote. People need information to base their votes on. A possibility could be found here -

The V2

http://osixs.org/V2_Menu_V2.aspx.

As far as the petition, in a Direct Democracy, the majority prevails; so it would be important to track and document the number of Americans who want and agree with this change. Once the majority is reached, it would serve as a trigger to ratify DDT (Declaration of Dissolution and Termination) and EDT (Execution of Dissolution and Termination). I am not discounting the need to grow organically, which would be absolutely essential, but a central location is still needed to tally votes and calculate support. How we achieve our goal can be debated (and will be), however the more important issue is that we begin our journey. How we live our lives and the lives of our children hang in the balance.

There are many different ways to structure a DD. One would be, as you suggest, allowing ALL citizens to deliberate and then vote on EVERY issue, void of legislators. This type of government would be a significant change from our present system, and require heavy participation and heavy demands from our citizens. I question if most people want to be that involved in posting, debating, understanding, and voting on EVERY issue that comes up.

The diagram of the system I advocate for can be seen in the diagram in the middle of this page, labeled "Government 2.0".

http://osixs.org/Rev2_menu_commonsense.aspx

This system builds upon the one we have by adding two more branches to government. The "Technology Branch" and "The Peoples' Branch". The technology branch will keep the V2 maintained and secure, but the The Peoples' Branch will provide the checks and balances and become the Executive Branch. The Peoples Branch will conduct oversight of ALL OTHER branches using the V2. If either the Judicial, Legislative, Administrative, or Technology branch get out of line or creates laws or policies that collectively, we do not agree with or reject; the majority of The Peoples' branch can intervene and veto their decisions in real-time. An open source site like you mentioned, would be used to help guide the legislators to do the peoples work and would allow them to interact with us.

Of course there are many other variations; but the idea that this is OUR government and we can create whatever government that suits US. Here's some links to promote thought:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_democracy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_democracy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deliberative_democracy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-democracy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varieties_of_democracy

And Remember ........................................................

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the CONSENT of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness

[-] 1 points by forbetter (54) 2 years ago

Sorry for the late reply SparkyJP. I was studying the links you provided and brainstorming the best type of internet enabled Direct Democracy as I am evaluating launching an Onlide Direct Democracy project myself, supported by other developers and contributors.

On the point you raised about most people not having the interest/ability/time to legislate themselves, this is not a big deal as they can give their proxy to any person/expert of their choosing - with the condition that it can be taken back at any time.

From one of the sites I found through your links, I realized there are quite a few people working on Internet Direct Democracy projects so its very much viable, but almost all the projects are in their initial stages, and most don't seem to be going anywhere with a lone wolf having developed it. Here is a link to some of the projects:

http://www.metagovernment.org/wiki/Active_projects

I studied each DD website at this site, and the ones I found interesting are:

http://directcongress.org/ (the most professionally run DD website that is to launch on Jul 4, 2012 but it is not open source. They say they will have supporting Congressmen sign legal contracts guaranteeing they will vote according to the decisions of the majority of people from their site).

http://www.openassembly.org/ (apparently its developer got some input from OWS)

http://liquidfeedback.org/ (this online direct democracy platform was used by the the Pirate Party in Germany to enter a state legislature)

The main problem with online voting in my opinion is authentication of voters, because people can register multiple accounts and thus vote multiple times. You could ensure integrity of votes by giving voting privilege to only those who have proven their identity with something like a birth certificate or citizenship card. But then the question arises, WHO PERFORMS THE AUTHENTICATION: an unelected organization or an agency (Election Commission) appointed by the old system would have to do this if you go by the method directcongress.org is pursuing. This creates a chicken and egg situation: even the very first vote would not be based on Direct Democracy because the voters have been only authorized by a vestige of the older system or an unelected organization. Therefore, the WHOLE system built on this flawed foundation will be tainted.

I spent the last few days brainstorming the practicality of an alternative model that is fairer and decentralized. It requires some imaginative thinking, so bear with me:

  1. This DD project should be open source.

  2. Enable every person on earth with internet access to create a group of any kind. We shall call this a "Tribe". The creator of the group will be known as the "Founder".

  3. Let the Founder determine who joins the Tribe he has started. In order to ensure the authenticity of votes in his Tribe, the Founder will have to himself/herself verify the identity of a membership applicant. People will only flock to those Tribes that have Founders of integrity, those they can trust to ensure the integrity of the vote (authenticity of voters). What if the Founder presents himself as person of integrity and one supporting DD, but rigs the vote by creating and allowing duplicate accounts into the membership? The Founder will be required to state in the Founding Laws of their Tribe, visible to all, if he/she will be holding physical General Assemblies where ANY member of the Tribe can challenge a vote that was held online, and ask for a re-vote in the General Assembly that will supersede the vote held online. The website will allow the Founder to setup sub-tribes, so that General Assemblies are sufficiently small and regional enough to allow everyone to participate in votes.

People who have been authenticated by the Founder can vote on proposals, but people who have not yet been authenticated will have the right to contribute to discussions and participate in unofficial, non-binding polls once allowed into the Tribe.

  1. Choice: The ideal political system is one where everyone has complete choice in picking the sort of government/Tribe he wants to live under, a free market of competition amongst various governance systems. Such a system where anyone can choose how they are governed will erase the problem of "tyranny of the majority". The Founder will be required to state the Founding Laws of his Tribe such as whether the Tribe will be governed by the Founder (top-down) or through direct democracy, with each Tribesman possessing the right to vote on ANY issue. The people will at all times have the choice to withdraw from a Tribe at will. Only if a Tribesman agrees with the Tribe's Founding Laws/terms, will he join it. It will be specified in these Founding Laws beforehand whether and how the Founding Laws can be modified.

  2. Each Tribe will be facilitated to form alliances with other similar Tribes. For example, if I create a Tribe called Canada, and another person has created the same, they will be facilitated to negotiate with eachoter and merge into one if they wish or receive each other's proposals. Different types of treaties could take place between Tribes: Economic Union, Political Union etc.

  3. Conventional politicians will increasingly flock to this site to form Tribes where they can get input from people who support their platform or person. People will only vote for those politicians who they feel will abide by their DD decisions on the site. Ultimately, there will be enough politicians in City Council/Congress/Parliament to push through an amendment adopting Direct Democracy as the form of governance, bringing taxes collected under the direct control of the people.

  4. Charities, non-profits and activists will increasingly relocate to this site because it offers a more interactive and just form of governance. These organizations and individuals will form a web of relationships with eachother, evolving a world consensus or constitution that is under the direct control of the people.

  5. Large Tribes will be able to negotiate terms/discounts with corporations for their members - counterbalancing their clout.

  6. Contributors to this project, whether developers/advisors/activists should be compensated for the hours they put into it. This is imperative to provide an incentive to people to develop this project and it is only fair. Revenues will be raised through charging organizations on the site that earn revenue. The site will be free for those organizations that earn no revenue.

This project perhaps has the potential to re-organize the whole world for the better from the grounds up.

What do you think?

[-] 1 points by Shule (1976) 2 years ago

"I'm not interested in public opinion." -George Bush.

(ouch, that's really close to home.)

[-] 1 points by vrum (6) 2 years ago

I agree to a great extent with the ideas of shifting towards more direct control, in real time, of our democratic process. Legislative representatives are thus held to account in real time. I see a direct migration from the current system as entirely feasible, with technology as the means to enable more immediate capacity to organize interested people around specific issues and legislation, and, if necessary, to discipline 'legislators' who stray from the people's will. I don't think we will want to be involved in every decision, thus 'representation' will continue, the same way I am glad to cede restaurant management to the manager and to vote with my purchasing dollars or with a call to the owner. Two things that come to mind: people without access to technology are left out. I am a great fan of universalizing Internet access - but in the meantime, what do we do? I also like the idea of organic change towards direct democracy, and that can also happen through working examples enacted by student & town councils etc. all the way up the representative food chain. But that doesn't prevent us from also proving the power of our tech enhanced voice through PROPOSITION focused democracy. If Norquist could do this with his No More Taxes Pledge - why can't we also do this for Campaign Finance Reform? It ain't either/or. These are all pragmatic steps in the organic evolution of government.

So again: why not direct at least some of the Occupy energy towards identifying a specific set of SOLUTIONS that can prover the 'power of the people' in the coming elections?... but for things at least as important as 'no more taxes' to a majority of Americans: like fair elections and finance reform, access to quality education, health optimization and disease prevention, etc.

[-] 1 points by Shule (1976) 2 years ago

I'm all for it.

[-] -2 points by firinne (-2) 2 years ago

Forget the Rigged Elections. Focus on Regime Change:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/forget-the-rigged-elections-forget-the-democratic-/