—April 11, 2007 ...
Diseanchant with politics in the land of the free is widespread, and growing. It is increasingly rare to find anyone who is not completely exasperated by the current (and seemingly unending) political chaos.
But as difficult to believe as it may be, there is actually a way to completely rid ourselves of this interminable menace.
We simply bring back the draft.
Of course I'm talking about something a little different than what we normally think of whenever we hear that highly volatile word. What I have in mind is a draft of everyone, of every citizen without exception, and not—ipso facto—a draft into military service.
Service, yes, but not necessarily in the military.
The worthless politicians are notorious for giving a lot of lip service to the idea of public service, and I think we would all agree that engaging in civic duties is indeed a good thing (if only there were more of it).
The problem with public service, however (as it is currently practiced), is that not everyone may participate in it. You have to be wealthy to run for public office. Consequently, politics in America is all about money, no matter what the politicians are mouthing off about.
The only way to effectively change our situation and really do something about our problems is to change the system to make it possible (even obligatory) for anyone to serve in a legislative capacity.
We need to strip the rich of their exclusive power to make the laws. In other words, we need to figure out a way to put the poor and middle class into legislative office.
Such a task is not as daunting as it might at first seem. Already we are in command of the technology that would enable us to accomplish this goal.
In the same way that anyone (rich or poor) may be selected for jury duty, the same kind of system could (and should) be implemented for the purpose of selecting representatives to serve at the legislative level.
Instead of someone running for office (always a person of means) and going through all the nonsense and lying involved in the process of campaigning, we should simply select our legislators in the same way we select citizens to serve as members of a jury.
In other words, make it a form of public service that we as citizens are required to participate in, not something that we may be involved with if we just happen to be wealthy.
Yes, bring back the draft, appropriately modified to include everyone, some for military service, some for legislative (or other public) service.
But in the interest of maintaining checks and balances, being drafted into the legislative service should only apply to the House of Representatives. The Senate should remain an elected group. That way we could still have elections for those who are so insistent on maintaining their right to choose their lawmakers. Such a system would constitute a sort of compromise between the rich and poor. Both classes could serve and thus participate in the process.
I am sure that you can think of reasons why such a system would not work, and you might be right; but you must admit, it couldn't possibly any worse than it is now. Could it?