I have wondered this over the past few years as the government of the United States has stumbled, bumbled and fumbled legislation on everything from healthcare to immigration. They have disrupted scientific progress, hamstringed our military and stunted the growth of entire economic sectors because of the complaints of a few. They have completely ignored the long term growth, security and stability of our nation for the short term gain they personally could abuse. So, why do we need representatives?
Historically the founders of this nation instituted a Constitutional Republic because of the legal protection afforded citizens, the necessity of representation due to the vastness of our nation and the time required to communicate between citizens. With eighteenth century technology, a Constitutional Republic is the best, most liberating system of government for our nation.
However, we no longer have the constraints associated with an eighteenth century nation. The technology developed by our military and scientific communities frequently known as the internet has shrunk our nation and eliminated the delay that time imposed upon our founders. We can now communicate with each other across our vast nation in less time than it takes to write our messages.
With such technology the need for representation is non-existent. Each citizen of this nation could vote on each and every issue brought before this people without trading our vote to someone who does not know or care about our beliefs, practices, needs and convictions. We can vote for legislation just as easily using an internet website as the members of Congress can do in Washington DC.
However, just because we could vote for legislation doesn’t mean we should. With the current system allowing legislation to pass with a simple majority, tyranny would abound if the populace could merely cast their vote online. The requirements for passing legislation would need to be fundamentally altered.
A super majority would be necessary to ensure that compromise and prudence took center stage and not knee-jerk reactions and selfishness. Were a system to be imposed where every citizen could vote on each piece of legislation at least a four-fifths majority should be required to pass the legislation. It would be very difficult to achieve such a super majority. So it would require that the nation as a whole would be supportive of that legislation in order for it to pass.
Another issue that would need to be addressed is the size of legislation proposed. Bills would need to be limited in scope in order to facilitate an informed citizenry in not only reading, but understanding and discussing that legislation to the point where they could vote on it. Single issue bills, which are currently considered piece meal, would have to become the normal operating legislation for our nation.
Another area of concern would be local or regional issues. Issues brought before the entire nation would have to be national interests only. The states and regions involved in local issues would have to begin negotiating with each other for those issues and not bring them before the entire nation. That will limit the amount of legislation and allow the citizenry as a whole to be able to deal with the issues facing this nation as a whole.
The security of such a system would need to be absolute. In order to achieve that absolute security a closed system linking all of the voting centers across the nation would need to be constructed. The cost of such a system across the whole country would be expensive.
The fiber optic system being created by Google, is estimated to cost $140 billion were they to expand to every home nationwide. While a voting system would not need to be so widespread, a link to local voting centers or town halls would be most prudent, it would still cost in the billions of dollars.
However, the current cost of representatives per year is around $100 million. That is just for their salaries, and not including staff, benefits, transportation, local legislative spending and overspending. With that in mind a value of $2-3 billion a year and probably closer to $10-15 billion a year could be saved were the citizens to run the nation instead of elected officials. With those kinds of amounts, a nationwide closed fiber optic voting system could be paid for in savings over the course of a decade.
The implementation of such changes in our current system would need to be proposed as a constitutional amendment. According to our constitution an amendment requires two-thirds of both houses of congress or two-thirds of states and then it is required to be approved by three-fourths of states.
The current representatives would undoubtedly fight against any such proposal, along with the political parties, corporate lobbyists and every other leech and corrupt organization that is pushing its own agenda instead of what is best for the nation as a whole. So, three fourths of states would need to approve such changes.
With the low approval ratings of members of congress and the government as a whole, this is not an impossible task. A grassroots campaign could efficiently and effectively garner the necessary support among the states to pass such an amendment and shackle our government back to the will of the people. Based upon their recent actions, and their inability to properly represent the citizens of this nation, such an amendment is not only the proper course of action, but is necessary for the future of this country and the prosperity of our citizens.