Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Radical Change - Pondering a New Elections Paradigm

Very few days pass where I do not lament the current elections process: Several wealthy, connected, and, by most accounts, incompetent individuals compete for the coveted "leader of the free world" position - the President of the United States. How much pandering to opinion polls, manipulating facts, slandering, and empty promises must we endure? I make no distinction between liberals and conservatives as they are both equally guilty.

Candidates and their constituents spend millions of dollars waging advertising wars against one another while speculating on how best to help poor Americans afford heath insurance. Debates are limited to only those candidates with enough campaign contributions to attend. Political columnists and media pundits weigh the choices voters make based upon which candidate is a woman, a man, black, white, young, or old. Knowledge, leadership, judgment, and experience never make the headlines. Let's face it - our leaders are elected on the basis of popularity, not merit.

Why not make radical change (other than the fact we would be relying upon the politicians we elected using the aforementioned system to invoke the change)? What if money wasn't the driving factor? What if we were not allowed to see a candidate's name or picture or even hear their voices until after the election?

Their gender, race, and religion would remain unknown. Each candidate would prepare a resume outlining their experience and providing references. The candidates would have an issues packet available to every American that outlined their concerns, plans, and justification of their approach. If the candidate held any prior public office their entire voting record would be made available and explanations for their votes provided in the issues packet. Each candidate would submit responses to a standard list of topics, e.g. the Iraq war, Global Warming, Nuclear Proliferation, etc. Anyone in the country could submit a question to the candidates which would be answered in writing. But that's it. Nothing else. No debates, no ads, no shaking hands and kissing babies, no political commentaries, no working the crowds.

What if?




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