The United States of America—We the People—must update our governmental systems or we will not be a democracy that reflects the will of the people. There is conclusive evidence that the system of government we practice now has been undermined and compromised. The world we live in today, is radically different than that of the founding fathers. Many of the principles that guide our democracy are not working and no longer apply. What must change? Let’s start at the top and identify governmental procedures that are undermining the will of the people.
The United States Supreme Court. In spite of high moral and ethical goals, the Supreme Court is dominated by those who fear accountability. A majority on the court have violated standards that all other branches of the judicial system are required to follow. (conflict of interest, full financial disclosure, impartiality) In addition, some members have been placed on the Supreme Court based on their political bias and not their ability to remain neutral. Their rulings have little or no basis in the Constitution. For example, women’s rights, religious dogmas, and extreme political positions.
In the recent past, decisions like Citizens United entitled corporations to the same rights as citizens. A majority on the court overwrote the Constitution to put personal and political ideologies into law. This has led to confusion, the countering of environmental protection laws, and the erosion of women’s rights. In addition, the lack of accountability enforcing ethical and moral behavior of justices has supported ways to negate the popular vote, limit the voting rights of citizens, and, in fact, intercede between constitutional rights and the will of the majority because of a political agenda. (Bush v. Gore).
When absolute power corrupts, as it always does, accountability is necessary. The legislature has the power to hold the Court accountable. We can adjust the machine in motion.
Ensuring voters rights. There are voters who have directly experienced a rigged system where people in power can circumvent the people’s will by manipulating the electoral process. They know their vote doesn’t matter. They know they have been cheated.
The fact that the electoral college can be used to negate the will of the people has never been more evident than when the results of the last popular vote were rejected by some. In addition, the loser in that election attempted to illegally place fake electors who would overturn the popular vote. Had they succeeded, the USA would have a fascist president who stole the office. This happened in the past. Circumventing the popular vote is a real possibility. The electoral college must be done away with or bypassed by federal law. We The People learned that the candidate we voted for could be denied his or her win by people that do not represent them, but have the power to manipulate the outcome of elections.
In addition to the damage done by the electoral college, restrictive voting laws allow politicians who fear defeat, to cleanse the voter rolls of voters who might vote against them. They also have the power to gerrymander voter districts in favor of themselves. In these ways, they maintain their positions of power. But in these ways, they undermine democracy and convince citizens that the promise of representative democracy is a lie. If the government is lying about something as important as that, then what else is the government lying about?
The answer is “very little”, but a few bad practices overshadow our government’s checks-and-balances, responsiveness to the needs of the American people, and the Constitution. We need a way to bypass the electoral college with a federal law that requires electors in each state to vote for the candidate who wins the popular vote. We also need a Federal Voter Rights Act that bypasses politicians who manipulate local policies to cheat citizens of the right to participate in our democracy. (US Supreme Court decisions in the last decade have cancelled significant portions of the Voter Rights Act)