Thursday, January 22, 2004

Do we need more politicians? Any right minded individual may be induced to vomit at the thought…but I came across the following editorial originally published in the LA Times:

“How to Fix Politics? Believe It or Not, More Politicians”
By George Kenney

In short, Mr. Kenney explains that elected congressional representatives in the House of Representatives currently represent about 670,000 citizens each. This is such a significant number that legislators quickly lose touch with the people who voted them in, special interests have a greater power than they deserve, and campaigns become so expensive that regular Joes and Janes can not afford to run for office. Increasing the number of representatives can go a long way to establishing faith in our government, redefining representative democracy, and eradicating the power elites who claim to be from Kennesaw, Wisconsin, but really only desire to be in DC “doing the people’s work.” Mr. Kenny proclaims that a five-fold increase in the number of reps, with a long-range goal of one rep for every 100K citizens would be ideal.

“The only way to restore genuine democratic representation is a substantial, long-overdue increase in the size of the House.”

I agree. Though with technology, why not make that one rep per 50K, or 20k, or 10? Read on…

Like I stated, I love this idea, but I would like to take it one-step further (and I would be willing to assist in the effort to make this a reality). The logistics of 3,000 representatives and their staffs running around Washington, DC is scary. Why not let them work from home?

What would keep representatives from working together over a decentralized network, right from an office in the heart of their constituencies? Perhaps they could travel to DC a few times a year for meetings, but other than that, all communication and voting would happen literally at the local level. A few advantages off the top of my head:

1) Such an arrangement would instantly make it harder for special interests to corral representatives and write legislation to their own ends.
2) Smaller constituencies = less power to the individual rep, which makes the job less appealing to the DC-lifers and power-mongers who merely desire the glitz and glam of the job and see the job as a stepping-stone up to their next government job.
3) Keeping the reps out of Washington and with the people they are supposed to be representing increases the usefulness of democracy. I guess you can call it “Power to the people.” (even though I hate that term).
4) Increased opportunities to third parties such as libertarians, greenies/commies, reformists, etc. to win elections and bring fresh ideas to the stale demopublican government monopoly.
5) How awesome would it be to strip people like Tom Delay (bling-bling, spendy, spendy), Nancy Pelosi (Clintonista-wannabe) or Tom Allen (George Mitchell-wannabe) to 1/5th or less of the power they currently possess? Drool…

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