Fix the System

The poltical system of the USA is facing major issues of which the average citizen is unaware. The power to fix these issues lies solely in the hands of the public.

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Location: Peabody, Massachusetts, United States

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Radicalization of the Electorate

The Occupy Wall Street movement which has spread to cities around the world represents a dramatic shift in the state of the electorate. By definition, a radical is someone who does not believe the system works and that it will require significant changes to restore proper functional order. This is a spectrum, of course, ranging from those who think that voting out most incumbents will solve the problem to people who think government should be scrapped and rebuilt from scratch. The popularity of the OWS movement is a direct indicator of radical ideals becoming more popular and even mainstream.

Like it or not, OWS is a radical movement. I would argue that it is specifically a radical moderate movement. In that its issues are primarily with aspects of the system that affect both parties equally, and are agreeable to a large majority of the electorate.

Unfortunately, most of these folks are new to radicalism, and are not used to thinking outside of the box, hence the lack of focus of their message. I would suggest three main issues that they could take up that would be of most value to making progress in the direction they would want to see.

1. The most important issue they should be taking up is the overturning or legislating away of the Citizens United decision that recently changed the political landscape and is effectively taking small donors out of the political process. This decision is the most damaging development in our democracy to date. I'd love for someone to prove me wrong here.

2. Massive electoral reform. As long as there is so much to be gained by having a "controlling interest" in Washington politics, there will be corporations finding ways around whatever rules are in place. Even if we fix issue number 1, we are still fighting an uphill battle. I would personally love to see presidential elections REQUIRED to be funded by public funds, so that all candidates winning the nomination of a nationally recognized party would be allotted equal funds to run their campaigns. Maybe you could fund this by commandeering all of the funds currently in the possession of the wide variety of PACs out there. (Yes, I know commandeering these funds would never happen and would likely be judged illegal.)

3. Give some REAL power to the new Bureau of Consumer Protection. It has been eviscerated by all of the special interests - in this case, primarily Wall Street and other big businesses.

If OWS could get any of these three issues addressed, even in part, it would be a huge victory. If they can get more politicians to pay attention to these issues, it would be highly beneficial. If they can get the word out, it's a step in the right direction.

Radicalism, in general is difficult to focus. I almost want to laugh at Obama's attempt to align himself with OWS. (He might be able to do so by doing something significant on one of the above three issues, but I don't see that happening.) However, if the right ideas or leaders can emerge to bring a focus to a movement like this, there's no telling how powerful the movement might become.

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