How Do We Climb Out of This Mess Together?

Friday February 5, 2018

I’m talking about the divisiveness. I’m talking about the crappy way our political parties are divided.  There is the perceived containers, between Democrat and Republicans.  For social programs vs for fiscal conservatism. Then there is the reality. This is the latest, that I am looking at:

I really want to know what it would look like, if we got rid of ideological politics, i.e. political parties. What do we gain by them anyway? There are conservative democrats, there are pro-choice republicans, there are aisle crossovers, left, right, and mostly moderate/centers.  What would happen to our political process, if we didn’t have parties, and we just had candidates? Each one, not shoved into a political-party style box, but just who they are, and what they stand for. What would that do to our government’s task of over-seeing elections? Would we still have a need for primaries?

I have some thoughts. Will write more later.
Monday February 8, 2018

So, here is what I’m thinking.  Maybe without political parties, we can have primaries to just narrow the field to a top 3 contenders.  Our elections have rarely, if ever, had more than 3 candidates with a viable chance to win. What’s more important, is that without having to run on a political party line, the candidates won’t be tagged with a political party’s entire agenda.  Most candidates and elected officials don’t have an agenda that is 100% aligned with a political party.  Where they differ, often times leads people to say, well they aren’t 100% aligned, so they are flawed in some way.

I think we should also look at the kind of requirements we should have, for anyone running for elected office.  We have never had any requirements, but why? Because it is representation by the people, for the people.  Well, that is nice in theory, but it has resulted in a lot of unqualified people in positions of power.  What’s more, it’s led to an abuse of power.

So what kind of requirements should we be talking about?  Well first, I think we need a requirement of transparency.  Regardless of the level of government you are running to represent, you are signing up to represent the interests of the citizens.  When two people start dating, it’s important to both get tested, for STDs.  You get trust, by earning trust.

  • Anyone running for and/or elected to public office, must release their tax returns, for the previous 10 years. This needs to be a requirement, not just a norm. It should come with financial disclosures. All tax returns:
    • Personal
    • Business
    • Non-profit foundations
    • Any other income or debts
    • Any non-disclosed information identified will be grounds for expulsion/impeachment from office

Anyone appointed to serve on staff, at the federal level, should be required to submit the same.

I also think that anyone running for office, should have to prove their competency at understanding and applying our laws. We like to believe that anyone should be able to step up and run for office. I love that ideal, but if you are making the commitment to represent the people, under the framework of our constitution and laws, you must also make the commitment to knowing them and upholding them.

  •  Every candidate for office should be required to take and pass the citizenship exam

Most campaigns fight over debates.  The candidate stronger at debating, or strategically in a position of needing more air time, will want more debates.  The weaker debater or already strong in the polls, may not want debates.  This shouldn’t be up to the candidates.  There should be a set number and unbiased format for all debates.  They should have an amount, schedule, format and content based on the office the campaign is for.

  • Local office
  • State office
  • Federal office

Finally, the office of the President, is arguably the highest in the land.  They do not just represent all citizens domestically, they also represent our country, on the world stage.  It is the right of the citizens, to know if the person running for President, is mentally and physically fit. This elected office, is the only elected position, who has nuclear codes, and that isn’t something to mess with.

  •  Every candidate for President and Vice-President, should be required to take a physical and psychological exam, by an independent doctor.
    • They should not be allowed to choose the doctor, but one should be independently appointed, nominated by either Congress, the FEC or the AMA.  It should be a check and balance on whoever may hold that office.

I’m sure there are issues, people can find, for all of this. I just think that the 2016 elections show how naive it is to just suggest that anyone can be President.  Clearly we do need to protect our elected offices more than we have been. We need to require a commitment, transparency, and fitness from any candidate seeking public office. It won’t prevent every abuse of office, but I believe it will be an improvement on the status quo.

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