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Great as far as it goes, however. . .
on October 7, 2012
As Edwards correctly observes, American voters are angry at and have a low opinion of Congress; they know the system is broken in that it serves the interests of wealthy campaign contributors rather than the electorate, and yet year after year, the people return most of these worthies (or ones like them) to Washington to perpetuate what is unquestionably a travesty of democracy. The answer to the seeming paradox of the majority of the electorate voting against its own interests is simple: voters are given no other choice. Big Money selects the candidates to be presented to the people at election time, backs their campaigns, and as a consequence, installs the best politicians money can buy who will reliably enact legislation favorable to the moneyed interests who installed them. Republicans and Democrats, alas, are opposite wings of the same bird, beholden to the moneyed interests comprising its head.
The fatal flaw in Edwards' well-intentioned but ultimately inadequate bundle of remedies is that it fails to sever the umbilical cord between Big Money and the electoral process, thereby continuing to limit the available choices of candidates to those selected by and in the service of a wealthy elite. No amount of symbolic rearranging of podiums and cloakrooms, no attempt at finding "non-partisan" redistricting boards, etc., will change the reality of the democratic political system serving the interests of those who empower it; and presently, those providing "the mother's milk of politics," -- money -- are the ones doing the empowering.
The knee-jerk solution offered by those aware of these basic truths is public financing of political campaigns. However, public financing will remain a pipe dream as long as the present crew of politicians remain in power, because private funding keeps them in office, making it unlikely they will kill the goose that lays the golden egg.
There is a solution, however, to this seemingly intractable quandary.
A new democratic political process bypassing Big Money and TV will be required -- one that restores power to the people by actively reengaging them in participative democracy, rather than succumbing passively to Big Money's political propaganda administered in 8-second sound bites in 30-second ads on TV.
This new political process involves both a change of venue and a change of media. The new venue is neighborhood theaters (rather than Barcaloungers at home) electronically linked by the new medium of the Internet (replacing TV).
Imagine millions of people converging on virtually every movie theater in America on Saturday mornings, when the theaters are normally empty, paying ten bucks at the door for the privilege of participating in first local, then city-wide, then county-wide, then state-wide, and ultimately national assemblies with every auditorium linked electronically via the Internet. Today's multiplex theaters provide multiple auditoriums where individuals can go to discuss and debate their preferred issue, devising platforms, identifying spokespersons and leaders who will then carry their message both horizontally to the other Internet-linked auditoriums doing the same for a broad spectrum of issues, and vertically, to linked auditoriums discussing any given issue. The net result would be to hammer out a consensus on the issues through participatory democracy and the elevation of leaders within the movement to stand for election and carry the people's message to the centers of political power, ultimately enacted into law.
For further details, read Chapter 8 in "The Predicament: How did it happen? How bad is it? The case for radical change now!" available at Amazon Kindle. [...]