Building Utopia - Twin Cities Message Board › The National Election: Our Part in Democracy or Our Complicity in Patriarchy?
As a springboard for discussion, we will review these questions at our public forum.
1. Does the American electoral system act as an instrument to convey the voice and will of the people? How can we determine and measure this?
2. What was the original intent of the creators of this system? Did they intend it as a device to serve democracy? Or was another other purpose built into its design?
3. Whatever the original intent of the electoral system, has it since evolved to correspond with (and allow for) the nature of American society today?
4. Does voting make a difference? Does it actually matter who we vote for? What evidence can we produce to make a case either way?
5. Do we have any reason to believe in a distinction between federal and local elections? Can we participate in the latter in good conscience even if we cannot do so in the former?
6. If the American electoral system does not function as the voice of the people, then can we find any value in our participation in it? If so, what is that value?
7. Even if elections represent the will of the people, by voting do we only put at new coat of paint on a house with a rotting foundation? Do we only effectively appoint a new captain to preside over the Titanic? In short, are elections a tool which can address our systemic problems? If not, what other resources for fundamental social change are available to the people?
8. Once we identify flaws in the system, in what way can they be remedied? Will some reforms or legislative fine-tuning suffice? If so, what reforms should we call for?
9. If reform is insufficient, would a Constitutional amendment be required to rehabilitate the system? If so, in what way should it be amended — and to what end? Or is the electoral system so fundamentally flawed (in its very design) that nothing less than its abolition and replacement with a new system will suffice?
10. If we engineer entirely new electoral processes and machinery, do we have reason to believe it will be sufficient to ensure representative democracy, or are the impediments to government of the people widespread in other quarters of society? If other impediments remain, what are they and what can be done about them?
11. What is the impact of capital and wealth on the electoral system?
12. Many people fail to vote — even if not as an expression of an organized, principled boycott. Is the failure of so many people to vote not itself an indictment of the system? What message or lesson can we draw from this, if any?
13. If the system fails to represent certain segments of the population, and yet a voting minority places the imprimatur of “democracy” upon the government which arises therefrom, what impact does this have on public policy and on the tenor of the social landscape?
14. Suppose the people join together en masse to boycott the election. What impact would it likely have? What impact would we WANT it to have? And what would be the next step?
Edited by Jeff Mincey on Oct 10, 2012 10:02 AM