America must implement a policy on Election Reform that is equitable and fair to everyone. It is something we must do if we are to be a progressive society, a society for everyone, rich or poor. We, the people of the United States of America, must take back control of our lives by taking back control of our government. And the only way we can do that - be a government by the people - is with a logical Election Reform Bill. It is past due because our elected officials are thinking only of their careers and their futures. As our representatives, the only thing they should be thinking about is doing what is right for the American people who are their employers.
America must make radical changes in order to change and move forward, bettering our society.
We must elect a president who is willing to put forth to the American people and Congress a constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to sixteen. Teenage crime has risen over the last four decades because America's youth feel alienated. They either feel apathetic about their future, or they fear it. Consequently, and sadly for them and society, today's teenagers enter adulthood with a defeatist attitude. They have no hope because they have no say in their own future. It is time to give them their say; it is time to give them the responsibility of helping shape their future.
With the information highway, and cable television, our children are more intelligent and more worldly than children of similar ages were in any time in history. We need to treat our teenagers as young adults. Our forefathers said that taxation without representation is tyranny. America must abide by its own laws. If an American sixteen or older earns a salary and pays taxes, then he or she must have a say in electing their representatives.
We must also have a president who is willing to put forth to America a constitutional amendment to restructure Congress. All terms of office should be for four years. The U. S. Senate should go from six-year terms to four, and the House of Representatives should go from two-year terms to four. Six years is too long for our senators to go without being accounted for by the people who put them in office. Two-year terms in the House are unfeasible in that representatives must spend most of their time away from Washington raising funds for their next campaign. It is more efficient to have four-year terms for all the people's representatives, with no term limitations. This includes the most important representative of the people, the president. It is the people's right to elect whoever they want for as long as they want. A government by the people. If an elected official is doing an exemplary job, we should keep them there to continue that fine work. No one, not even our government, should be able to take away that inalienable right from us.
Implementing a campaign tax in the amount of $20 for every adult and dependent, which would be matched by the federal government, would take away the power of the special interest groups and their lobbyists. A family of four would pay $80 a year. Based on a population of approximately 250 million taxable Americans, it would mean $40 billion every four years for the approximately 2,500 incumbents and challengers who run for president, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, and governors. No candidate could spend any more than the amount they receive. Equal amounts for each office. The presidential candidates would receive the most, then those running for U.S. Senate, and so forth down the line. Political campaigns have become a contest of who can raise the most money. It has become a contest of who can purchase the most advertising. That is not fair to the American voting public. Wealth should have nothing to do with a political campaign. Equal time is the most equitable way to hear what our candidates have to say about what they will do for America.
Shortly after the end of the election, their accountants would have to make public all monies spent. This plan would stop candidates from outspending their opponent, from spending one week of each month traveling to raise funds for their next campaign, from taking PACs, and from granting favors. Most of all, it would ensure honest voting in Congress; votes that represent the opinions and beliefs of each politician's constituency.
In return for this free funding by the people and the government, our elected leaders would have to spend a minimum of four days every month in town meetings hearing the peoples' views on forthcoming bills. The American people must be heard, and they must be represented. That was the philosophy of our forefathers, of a democratic government, a government upon which this nation was built.
To keep campaigns on a respectable level, candidates can only advertise what they will do for the country (if elected) and how. Any negative campaigning should reduce their funding by ten percent. The American people have had enough of the lies and deceit. Negative campaigning is why only 50% of our country votes. It is one of many reasons why America's politicians are looked upon as demagogues, with one purpose in running for office: To gain as much power as possible.
It is about time our politicians represent us instead of their own interests and pockets. It is about time America's voice returned to Washington, D.C. Politicians have turned our society aggressive, hostile, angry, and cynical. Taking control of our elected leaders means taking control of society, which means taking control of our lives and our future. Although it means a small amount of money out of our own pockets, America must rally behind it.
Regarding the infamous Electoral College, the president must be elected by the people. We cannot allow what happened in 2000 to happen again. It proves that the American vote is irrelevant, and it will only lessen the amount of people who vote, and make our country more and more distrustful of government. A constitutional amendment abolishing the Electoral College, allowing the popular vote to elect our president is essential in order for the people to legally have their say.
All votes will elect our leaders and they will run an above board campaign and serve the people in an honest, communicative, and dutiful way! This will be our legacy to our children and to America's future.
Bruce Schwartz is a lifelong political activist. THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, his novel on politics today, discusses this subject as well as others that affect every American. It is on sale on the Web at http://www.thetwentyfirstcentury.com and at http://www.amazon.com. All of the author's royalties are being donated to the Alzheimer's Association.