We think America’s political system is broken in every way possible. It’s not- it’s working perfectly! It’s perfectly producing the terrible results we have. It was never designed to produce anything else.
The Founders were amateurs
We have a political system that was built by people with no experience forming a democracy. They never designed it to produce good results. They tried. And they did a good job for their time. But they knew nothing about design, sociology, or even communication compared to today’s experts.
After they designed it, they did no testing. After they launched, they identified no measures of success and measured nothing. Of course it doesn’t work very well. But in the beginning, it didn’t have to- it just had to create an appearance of national independence over largely independent states containing largely independent communities.
Idolizing their work keeps it lousy
The founders had great PR over the centuries. Americans are taught to be proud of our founders and their accomplishment. We could tell our children: “The good ideas of our founders served America pretty well for about 75 years, till the civil war. Since then, it has only worked well when we were lucky. And boy, were we unlucky at times.” But no. We teach them that America still has the best political system in the world. That’s the perfect thing to teach to ensure our lousy system isn’t fixed.
What’s needed? Accountability
If we started to design a political system, we wouldn’t even know the purpose of the design. I looked into this a few years ago. Most people didn’t even know where to start. Or they picked unworkable ideas, like, “they’d do what the citizens wanted.” I did some research. I talked to lots of people for a good two months.
What I found was this: We need it designed to deliver accountability to voters. That includes not being accountable to wealthy donors and special interests. But it’s not just “making Congress accountable in elections.” It turns out that’s almost no accountability at all. If Congress were truly accountable to voters, everything would change.
What’s accountability, and how can a system deliver it?
What IS accountability? That’s a great place to start- realizing our cultural notions about it are poorly defined.
How can a system deliver accountability? That’s another excellent question. Think about how long you’ve had complaints about US politics. Yet this is probably the first time you’ve considered this question.
These are new thoughts for most people. And few people understand new thoughts from reading. You have to read it slowly, absorb it and ask questions. Even better is, when you hear your mind arguing against it, realize your mind is thinking with ideas that keep the status quo in place.
Americans have been dissatisfied with government for many, many decades. “Throw the bums out” is not a new expression. All your current thoughts, even the ones that rebel against the status quo, are already part of the status quo. They’re part of the forces that keep the existing system in place.
Keep all this in mind as you find out about accountability.