November 4th Conversations

By: Claudio “Armchair Political Pundit”. Cortés 

On November 4th a record number of American voters found ways to do their duty as citizens and cast a vote, despite a whole litany of obstacles and attempted intimidation. Throughout the election process I found myself having what seemed like the same conversation over and over again about how 1 candidate would pass any array of self imposed political purity tests, I would reply… this is a conversation for November 4th, the day after the election, lets not call in the circular firing squad just yet, given that I saw the goal of this election to be of more import than an ideological gymnastics session I found the goal to be simply…ensure that 45 and all that his ilk represented were no longer in possession of the ring of power thats is the resolute desk. 

Here we are now, November 4th turned into November 22nd, and results are still yet to be completely finalized as some parties would rather order recount after recount in minority heavy districts rather than read the writing on the wall. Despite these formalities the result of the election can be announced with complete certainty, Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States, clearer heads have prevailed and the last 4 years will soon be used in history books and law school curriculums as talking points and argument prompts. This last election cycle proved one thing about the american public, we are still a divided country, we can have all of the heart warming chats about unifying divides and making things more equitable, but frankly these sentiments are simply that…nice thoughts. Our two party system of government as it stands is no longer viable, when you have a Democratic Party that contains Alexandria Occasio Cortez AND John Kasich there is no middle ground, this is also an issue that the Republicans face although I am admittedly less sympathetic to their plight they have a party that on one hand contains literal Nazis with different types of red insignia and the stalwart GOP old guard who have spent the last 4 years calling themselves “never trumpers’ (although they are indeed still categorized as collaborators) who I am sure would like to see some sort of wrestling of control from that element of the party. 

Our political system is fractured beyond repair. When the framework of our current system was laid out, its ability to withstand Donald Trump and all of the “norm bending” that came with it was not taken into consideration. This regime managed to highlight systemic flaws that need to be addressed before a more competent populist with fascist tendencies takes power again, which if allowed will very likely happen. If you know me, you are by now aware that I am not a fan of complaining about problems and not offering solutions to them. From the comfort of a definitive Biden victory I would like to offer the below suggestions  to create a more perfect union moving forward.

  1. Solidify “norms” into process and law 
    1. Make illegal the ability to personally profit from the office of the president
    2. Releasing of Tax Returns ahead of declaration of intent to run should be compulsory 
    3. Make oversight compulsory and independent of any administration 
    4. Expand the separation of powers to include the Justice department. Over the last four years, the DOJ has been transformed into the political retribution wing of the executive branch, the notion of justice does not have a political affiliation and neither should  those chosen to carry it out. 
    5. Apply caps on appointment power
    6. Ensure that diplomacy is carried out by actual trained diplomats who have passed the foreign service exam and not the buddies and relatives of those currently in power. Diplomats  are the face of america outside of america, let’s make sure that those who would represent us abroad are at least qualified at the most basic level to do so.
  1. Eliminate lifetime appointments 
    1. Since at least 2004 there has been a concerted effort from the more right leaning elements of our political machinations to essentially hold on to power by ensuring that people that adhere to their political leanings are in lifetime seats to ensure that laws that may make their way in front of these indebted lifetime appointees are held up or struck down based on political lines. Our court system was founded with the intent that the holders of Judge seats make their decisions in the clearest and most apolitical manner, only turning to the letter of the law to rule on cases. Recent history has proven that this is not the case any longer, it has been compromised by activist judges to rule based on their political or religious beliefs. When something is not working in the way that it was intended to do it is time to troubleshoot, one solution that we can adopt is implement a term limit to these positions, by doing this we remove some incentive on the part of bad faith actors who would rather pack these systems with their ideological clones, an additional measure that can be implemented is to let the american public choose their own judges as we do on the local level, if you would like to serve on the supreme court you should make your case before the american people, not just our elected representatives, as they too tend to act with self serving intentions, a simply popular vote and a confident stride towards a truly representative democracy.
  1. Allow for the expansion of political parties in earnest. 
    1. Our binary system is stalled, why? Because we have four distinct political parties attempting to operate as two. Within the Democratic party we have the traditional middle of the road big D dems that tend to be more moderate and adhere to neoliberal ideals, in contrast to these we have the demoratic socialists, who believe that real progressivism requires the type of radical change that the current system will not allow for, i.e. we cannot supply our citizenry with no cost medical care (like the rest of the western world) because their party colleagues believe in the free market and may or may not be beholden to the whims of the medical and insurance establishment. On the other side of the fence we have members of the GOP who believe in boot straps, low tax and keeping the racist stuff quiet (the southern strategy), and then we have the trumpists also known as the “fuck your feelings” wing that believes that the role of government is to “secure the existence of our people and a future for white children” and ensure that the civil liberties of machine guns remain unharmed. Every side of these parties no matter how you look at them, are becoming more and more entrenched in their own beliefs, making “rule by compromise” a thing of the past. By allowing for the separation of parties, we allow the american people to choose, more clearly, who is representing them, we no longer have “nose holding votes”. A separation will force those elected representatives to begin to entertain power sharing  when they see who the people award a mandate to represent them in the halls of power.
  2. Enforce age limits for representatives 
    1. The “retirement age” in The US is 65, this should apply to our elected officials as well. New blood leds to new ideas, the median age of american politicians is currently 59, with the ages of leadership being in the 70s or 80s, this has created an odd phenomena known as a gerontocracy, we are being led by people who are ordering for the table while on the way out of the restaurant. I encourage you to review footage of the last time that someone from google or facebook had to testify before congress to explain why this is a bad thing.  
  1. Impose term limits on representatives 
    1. Being a politician should not be a career path it should be a vocation. We have term limits on the presidency these should also apply to Senators and Congresspeople. How can you really ascertain what the will of those that mandated you to be a representative is if you spend all of your time in the halls of power? The longer you spend away from your home constituency the more disconnected you become from them, it’s not complicated. By limiting terms, we can once again, ensure that new blood brings with it new ideas and eliminates complacency 
  1. Outlaw lobbying 
    1. Corporations are not people. Representatives are elected to represent the human beings that saw them fit to represent their will. By eliminating monetary incentives that are associated with lobby culture, we ensure that representatives truly have the best intentions for their constituents in mind when making decisions that impact their lives directly. 

Am I missing anything? What would you suggest to help ensure the survival of american democracy? 

Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

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