Phil Mirzoev's blog

Friday, December 17, 2010

The US has a hopelessly out-of-date political system: reform urgently needed

This post was written in reply to the questions put by one history student, very much disenchanted with the modern American politics.
His main assertions about the present state of affairs in the US institute of the political power were the following:
1. Every politician that gets elected always leaves with quite a considerable amount of money, then before they got in politics.
2. 9 out of 10 times a senator or congressman will vote along party lines, even if an opposite vote against their party would be more beneficial for the people that elected them.
3. The party that does not have the majority will do everything they can to sabotage the other party, even if the law or amendment will greatly help the American people.
I have lost all respect and trust in the people who run our country. They seem to put themselves first, their party second and the American people last.
Such was 'the cry of soul' of the inquisitive athor.

All those assertions and claims are both quite accurate and legitimate.
The problem is not about personalities, but about system. The US has a hopelessly out-of-date political system, which just can not fully support the democratic standards at the proper level in the 21ht century (by no means it follows that the US is not a democracy any more, but that it is losing its efficiency and can turn from a democratic country into a DEMOCRATISH country if nothing's changed). It's kind of unprofitable and equally difficult to be honest within the old system within the new realities of the 21th century.
In my opinion, the objective need for a deep reformation concerns the legislative branch as well as the executive one in America.
That's a BIG problem, because it would require to modernize the Constitution on the one hand, whereas the Americans are veeery conservative and prejudiced against even the very word 'change' when it comes to the Holy of Holiest - Constitution. Sort of crisis that needs to be solved.
Presidential model consolidates too much power in one hand, whereas the US is federation. Centuries ago strong presidential power for the US was justified for a number of 'evolutionary' reasons, but. I am afraid, not any more - now that's become an obstacle, that decreases flexibility, accountability, and increases the risk of wars and corruption. Either the US needs many presidents, or just no one and a powerful parliamentarian system.
The representative system based on the domination of two parties, ideological basis of at least one of which hopelessly eroded due to natural causes, is a completely obsolete too. For example, a group of people who are able and willing to solve the problem of green energy must join the ranks either of GOP or Dems, though both parties historically are not geared to lead the energy revolution. A century ago the ideological problems of the balance between socialism and capitalism were topical, important and occupied the heads of people. Now times have changed, and those problems have been solved on a practical and theoretical level many years ago. The right way of transition to a new energy consumption/production model, as well as new information, transportation, ecological, credit etc model is a much more topical and consequential question nowadays for the modern democracies than all that rickety ideological skeletons of the 20th century.
I want to vote for a group of people who can free the nation of oil, not for those who can defend me from oil companies, or who can on the contrary defend oil companies from me. But neither can I delegate power to those people, nor can those people offer themselves directly to the people within the existing system. It's just an example.
The malignant detriment from this to the world most powerful democracy is none too small. The 'slippages' are reflected in a loss of feedback: American people don't always understand what to require from the Government and, even worse, how to hold the Government to its responsibilities. People in Government in turn understand that the success of their careers is not dependent on the success in service to the people's needs.
One more serious consequence from the dilapidated model is the currently observable dysfunctionality of the state political machinery itself. There's a perceptible lack of unity of the US inside itself, and a lack of the inner feedbacks that would allow the Government to restore this unity on a fundamentally new level. It may well be a great mistake on the part of Obama trying to find a compromise with a party that got COMPLETELY IDEOLOGICALLY BANKRUPT: 

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