A strong political process is a key to any successful country. While America tends to get more right than it gets wrong (even if it doesn’t always feel like it), when it comes to politics, there’s always room for improvement. So how do we create a more robust political process when it seems like all we have our two parties fighting with each other, and then the rest of the population bickering amongst themselves? While it won’t be easy, there are a few key areas that would lead to significant improvement.
Follow the Money
There has always been money in politics. Running campaigns, running around the country and the world…it’s not cheap! It’s natural that politicians need to solicit donations from individuals and companies. But in the case of corporations, democracy can’t work if the money that they donate can simply be turned into an agreeable vote further on down the line. At a bare minimum, it would be better if all donations were made fully transparent, and easy for voters to search for. At the extreme end, would it better if all donations had to be made anonymously?
America is touted as the land of possibility, and to a certain extent, it is. But when you look at the representatives that form congress and the Senate, you’ll notice that it’s not quite as diverse as the country is. Women, for example, make up just 20% of Congress, and 22% of the Senate. That doesn’t seem like a fair representation when they make up half the country. If you look into African American and other ethnic representation, the reading doesn’t get any better. Finding ways to encourage a more diverse ruling elite could only do good things for the country, as more people would be able to feel like their values are represented.
We live in a political age, where most people find themselves talking about one political issue or another on a regular basis. But chatting at the water cooler doesn’t equate to political engagement. In particular, there are issues with youth political engagement. Voter apathy among that demographic is pretty low and should be higher. It may be beneficial for the rest of the country to follow the initiative of the Secretary of State of Arizona and have mobile registration stations at college and university campuses. The youth are the next generation, after all: it’s important they’re engaged!
Focus on the Issues
There are many issues that we could be tackling together. Instead, we all too often fall into arguing about our fundamental differences. Politicians do it, and so do the general public. Instead, let’s focus on our similarities, and work together to find solutions. There is no alternative: anything other than constructive engagement is just a waste of time.
Make it Positive
Finally, let’s try and make politics positive again. It’s not always a party, but there’s more potential for greatness than is commonly discussed. Let’s dream big, and good things will invariably follow!