8 Changes We Need in Government and Politics
We, the People…
Hey politicians, remember us? The citizenry you are supposed to represent? Well, we’re fed up.
We’re tired of the polarizing, mud-slinging you call campaigning. We’re tired of the way you rule our country instead of leading. And we’re tired of your self-aggrandizing, spotlight-seeking, power-hungry legislating that works more to further your own personal agendas than promote any kind of real leadership for our nation. With a Congress who has voted themselves better pay, better benefits, and better pensions than the majority of American citizens, we are perilously close to the same system of “taxation without representation,” that gave birth to our country 236 years ago.
It’s time We, the People, stood up and started working to elect government officials who truly have OUR best interests at heart, instead of their own. Our politicians want to create real reform for our country? Sounds good to me. I, for one, would be more than happy to elect any candidate from any party who was willing to push through the following items of change in an effort to reform our political leaders.
- Create Term Limits. Politics is a civic duty, not a career. Two consecutive 4-year terms in office should be the maximum limit for every political office. Since serving as a politician is a civic duty that requires individuals to leave their “real” jobs, offer politicians one year of salary after their term has ended so they may use that year to find a job. No more lifetime pensions.
- Lawmakers must adopt same policies they pass. The Federal Government is one employer. As an employer, they should be bound by the same policies they enforce on the private sector. Those serving in office should abide by the same healthcare, tax policies, and laws as the rest of the citizenry. This will NOT discourage good people from running for office. No good people currently run for office anyway. This will eliminate the power-hungry and the greedy from running for office and open the way for those who actually want to serve in the best interests of our nation and not in their own best interests.
- Salary for lawmakers should follow chain of command. No one in any government office should earn higher than the President. The President’s salary (and therefore, all serving below him) should be commensurate with the current salary levels of the majority of Americans. Again, as stated in the first item, no more lifetime pensions.
- President should run with his Cabinet, not just Vice President. People need to know the real policy-makers. No more hiding behind the current CYA strategy and only announcing if your candidate wins the election. Americans have the right to know if they are electing czars before they cast their votes.
- Cap the amount candidates can spend on their campaigns. According to the NY Times, as of the end of August, the Romney campaign had spent over $530.7 Million, while the Obama campaign spent over $615.6 Million. In this time of economic crisis, that is obscene and reckless spending. Cap campaigns at $100 Million and force candidates to make do with that. It will level the playing field and allow contributors to funnel that money into our economy instead of into power and corruption.
- Disallow PAC and Super PAC campaign contributions. Money is electing our officials and special interest groups are making national policy as winning candidates pay back contributors. Never has there been a more dire conflict of interest.
- Open ballot access to more than two candidates. Our two-party system is broken. It is creating a greater divide than ever before. One of the hurdles facing third-party candidates is the difficulty gaining ballot access. This needs to be rectified in order to promote fair elections that truly represent the people.
- Open debates to more than two parties. Similar to ballot access, only this is controlled by the media and advertisers. No matter how much of a long-shot a candidate might have, he or she must have the same opportunity to debate the issues and be heard by voters.
This is a politically charged season with battle lines being drawn between political parties and venom being spewed between friends and neighbors. The thing is, we have very little control over anything in our current federal government. We have been lax for too long and allowed those in power to change the way our country is run. Congressmen and women, Senators, Presidents, and Lobbyists have built a people-proof system that allows them to wield absolute control over our government, regardless of what the people want.
Make no mistake. Both parties are to blame. Both parties are at fault. After months of seeing blog posts, Facebook status updates, and Tweets about how citizens from all sides are fed up with our government and politics in general, it’s obvious that what we have now is not working. If any politician from any party were to commit to enact the change outlined above for the good of the American people, we would be much better off.
What changes would you make in Washington if you had the choice? I would love to hear your take on how you’d like to see our politicians govern to better represent and lead our country. Please share in the comments below.