A New Theoretical Idea of Governance

My post a couple of weeks ago remarking on Justice Scalia’s passing and politics as usual here in the states brought to my mind again my tongue-in-cheek belief that if a person actually wants to be a career politician, he or she should automatically be banned from running for political office. Because clearly if you WANT to make your career in such a dirty cesspool, there is something at least a little wrong with you. And thinking about that reminded me of a notion I put forth on my Facebook feed many years ago that was immediately shot down by several people. Maybe you’ll all shoot it down too, but follow me down the rabbit hole and really think about this rather than giving it a knee-jerk response.

My idea is that we set up our society to be governed on a lottery system. There would be some kind of computer or machine built that would randomly select people for every office from local to federal level that we’d of course have to figure out a way to make incorruptible. We could keep the age and citizenship restrictions that exist, if we want, but basically when a person comes of age, they automatically get entered into the lottery. You serve one term if selected at whatever level, and then you are INELIGIBLE for ten years following your service so you can actually live and experience real life, thus giving you something to draw on should you be selected again ten years later. Maybe we would make it so that no one can serve the same office twice. Of course, any candidate would have to pass a drug and sobriety test (and I kind of feel like our current lawmakers should take one every time they go into work anyway) and a mental evaluation as we wouldn’t want anyone with dementia or severe mental health issues making decisions that effect so many. We’d probably want to make sure they can speak and understand English at a high level as that is our primary language. So there would be some vetting process, but for the most part, the playing field is leveled.

I can already sense some of you recoiling away from this. But Kat, we can’t risk the redneck hillbillies being in political office, or an inner city drug dealer, or a hooker. We can’t risk being the laughing stock of the world. And to that last part I would say – ummm… too late. Really, do you still delude yourself that America is admired by the rest of the world and has any kind of reputation to protect other than that of top bully in the schoolyard? But seriously, if anything has been taught to us in recent decades is that intelligence and ethics are no longer admired traits nor are they requirements to hold any positions of power, who are we kidding here? And if the veneer of “rich white man” really makes a difference to you, you need to examine your priorities in life. I acknowledge that switching to a society set up in this way is terrifying, but it is also exhilarating to consider. Just stick with me and imagine this post-transition. True equality. A land where you don’t just say “any kid can grow up to be president of the United States” as a bland statement but where it’s a very real possibility. Every citizen knowing that they could be called on at any time to serve a term of office. No more political parties polarizing the people. And the notion of an unwed single mother serving as governor of New York or an atheist President serving with a Born-Again Christian VP is fascinating to consider.

What would be the changes on a societal level? Well, first we would fix up our health and education systems VERY quickly. We’d have to as we couldn’t risk someone who has a 2nd grade reading level as an adult or someone who has easily preventable health issues make us look bad. I think that we’d also make sure that our education included more civics courses, that ethics play an important part at every level, and that every citizen could learn how to form their own opinions and then back up those opinions with facts, in an ideal version of this. Housing needs would be met, because again, who would want the embarrassment of a political leader that was a homeless veteran and would be potentially returning to that life after he served office? In brief, I think a lot of our current issues that get frequently sideswept would get the focus they need and get taken care of.

And what changes would we have on an individual level? Really picture this part in your head. How would you feel growing up knowing that at any moment of your adult life, you could be called to serve a term of office? And if brought to a high enough level, that your entire life history would be brought to the attention of the world? Would you have thought twice about some of the choices you made (and maybe are still currently making)? I think having both that right and that responsibility to be an active participant in government would bring about a lot of positive changes for children growing up under them, but might make many in our current society crack under the pressure. I have to wonder, though, if we would run into the same issues with this that we do currently when people are called for jury duty. I can remember being vetted for a jury case and a veeeeery important businessman started shouting for the plaintiff to die, that he was scum and deserved it, just to get kicked out sooner rather than later. Under this system, would someone take crack just to get out of serving a term? Or pretend to be certifiably insane?

Please note: this is just a theory I’ve kicked around. I’m in no way saying “let’s go out and do this tomorrow!” But imagining a society and a government built like this in the future is intriguing, and it helps me better see the many flaws that exist in our corporate oligarchy that we have today. Maybe it will help you do the same.

America – a poem

Copyright 2013, Kat Micari

  Copyright 2013, Kat Micari

I am America
Sick and writhing
Obsessed with health
Rotting from within

I am America
Sliced and diced
Corpulent and uncaring
Numb to the core of my being

I am America
Selling the dream
Stretched to the limit
Listen to the proclamation

I am America
Static blocks all sound
Who knows what to do?
The wrong people are killed

I am America
I am the masses
A loud voice
Heard by no one

I am America
From sea to polluted sea
One nation, incorporated,
With lies and injustice
For all.

Copyright 2013, Kat Micari
From The Little Book of Insurrection, or the Poetry of My Discontent

Seems appropriate to post this with what’s been happening lately.

The Perpetuation of Societal “Systems”

Ah, System of a Down. This song still rings so true. And I had to include the link as thinking about the system of systems got me thinking about this song.

So much of our lives today are controlled by various systems. We have the education system, the health care system, the welfare system, the prison system, systems of belief (religions of all sort), the systems of government, energy systems, non-profit systems of various sorts, and so on and so forth until thinking about it makes your head spin. And not all of these systems are necessarily as broken as the prison system in existence in America today, but there is a major problem with all of these entities. That problem is that regardless of the type of system in place, at some point the function of the system becomes almost entirely to perpetuate that system, so that the societal issues it was created to address becomes less and less relevant in comparison to the needs of that perpetuation. And that is when the systems become at best an annoyance to society and at worst, a very real danger.

We humans are so creative and so innovative, but then we get complacent, people start to feel greedy and power-hungry, and we get stuck in a rut, not always by our own choosing. There is, I fear, a dumbing-down and numbing effect by lingering too long in these ruts, though, and that is not healthy for us as a species.

I feel so much compassion for the people caught up in these systems too. So one of the questions that most interests me when I contemplate society breaking itself out of these societal ruts and growing to new potentials is: how do we transition those caught in the machine right now? If new energy is the future, then can we take the people currently drilling and transporting oil and working in nuclear plants and train them in the new technology? If America wanted to move to true national coverage for healthcare, can those working currently for private insurers have the opportunity to become employees in the new system? How would that even work? It’s interesting to think about.

As far as the American prison system goes, I have a story. My husband worked for the city where we lived in CA, and they had a fantastic program that worked with former convicts to train them and transition them for jobs once they got out of prison. The city went from having one of the highest recividity rates in the country to one of the lowest. And then they lost their grant money, because they weren’t one of the worst rates any more. So a program that worked lost their funding because it worked too well. The moral of that story is that you are more likely to keep your funding if merely skate along and show some improvement but not too much improvement. Such a backwards way of thinking to me.

What systems trap you the most? Which ones would you break out of? And which would you like to see society eventually shed itself of? I’m curious.

Crumbs – a poem

Appropriate poem for election day.

Kat Micari

Crumbs

We squabble over crumbs on the floor
While the big pile of money… oops… food
Sits on the table just out of our reach.
We eat self-help slogans,
Never acknowledging that this game
Of life is rigged against us.
Sound bites offer little sustenance.
We dance as the puppet masters
Pull the strings.
We follow the magician’s
Sleight of hand
And allow ourselves to be astounded
By the misdirection.
We obsess with details,
Refusing to ever see the big picture.
And we are amazed that we remain
Forever hungry.

From The Little Book of Insurrection or the Poetry of My Discontent
Copyright 2013, Kat Micari

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