Don’t you find it strange that there is so little conversation going on about alternatives for fixing our national political system? This, despite the fact that a large majority of Americans believe that our system is not working properly, or is, in fact, broken.
While we have noisy arguments on virtually every conceivable policy matter, there is no discussion of addressing the most fundamental of our political problems. Today, for example, many of our finest political minds are filling the airwaves and blogwaves about the position we should take vis à vis toppling Middle East autocrats, the collective bargaining rights of public employees, when to get tough with Somali pirates, how much to cut from this year’s federal budget, who should be the Republican 2012 candidate, etc. Of course, many of these topics are important. But our country is suffering far more from the problem of profoundly inadequate governance than from whether another $30 billion should be cut from the budget, or from miscalculating when the handicapping should begin for the next presidential race.
Our politicians, our political scientists, and our other highly-trained experts from many related disciplines must begin an urgent conversation about how we can fix our government. And the rest of us must join in with a frenzy commensurate with the increasing possibility that the fate of our country will be strongly influenced by the outcome. To be sure, we have been spoiled. We were provided by our Founding Fathers with a system of government so well-designed over 220 years ago that the basic mechanism of checks and balances has required virtually no tinkering since then. But with the handwriting now so clearly on the wall that our under-performing government will lead soon to mediocrity for our society as a whole, we need our thought leaders and experts to give us the tough news – that our system now needs to be fixed – and to begin the conversation by which we reach a consensus on how to do it.