Solution was Anticipated by, and Desirable to the Founders, but Infeasible at that Time
“[A legislature] … should be an exact portrait, in miniature, of the people at large, as it should feel, reason and act like them” (John Adams, 1776)
“The People were, in fact, the fountain of all power, and by resorting to them, all difficulties were got over. They could alter constitutions as they pleased.” (James Madison, 1787)
“The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.” (George Washington, 1796)
It all depends on who you trust for critical decisions by your Government:
- Congress alone, often following Oligarchs’ orders, OR
- Congress supplemented by the People making a few crucial decisions independent of Oligarchs’ influence.
For Example, see Benefits for 20 important issues that Congress cannot consider, but the People can address.
Starting in 1898 in South Dakota, about half the States have already chosen to trust the People over the politicians; none have changed their mind! Including City and County Initiatives, about 70% of the People already vote on ballot initiatives at Federal Elections.
This very successful Solution was discovered early in history and applied nationwide as follows:
The Citizens themselves could propose solutions to difficult problems. A very large grand jury decided if any of the proposed solutions were worthy of consideration by all Citizens. When one was found, the jury presented it to a meeting of all Citizens, who considered it and finally voted on it. This process is fast enough to clear the backlog of problems and keep up with the speed of Oligarchs’ mischief. It is a Solution enabling multiple problems that are beyond Congressional capability to be solved concurrently.
The ancient Athenian city-state invented this system. They called it democracy. It proved so successful that in 186 years Athenian culture became the foundation of all Western Civilizations. New England town halls adapted it, but no one believed that all the people could communicate easily in a large country.
Today’s instant Internet communications, social media, and air travel are the communication gamechangers! For the first time in history, the people in a large nation can benefit from this improvement to democracy. The Athenian Solution is feasible today. If the ancient Athenian citizens could do it 2,500 years ago, we can surely do it today! “All power is originally in the People and should be exercised by them in person, if that could be done with convenience, or even with little difficulty.” (James Wilson 1804)
Our Democratic Republic is essential for governance of the United States. But we have the wisdom and knowledge of all our Citizens, including all in government, to make a few profoundly difficult Democratic decisions that are beyond the capability of our Democratic Republic Government. The People have the right and duty to alter our Constitution to take advantage of the Solution; we should and can adapt the Athenian model to manage these profound decisions.
Athenian citizens called a proposed solution “probouleumata”; we call it a Direct Initiative. Athenian voters called their grand jury the “Council of 500”; we call it the “Initiatives Qualifying Assembly” or IQA. Public debate we call free speech and freedom of the press. Voting by all the people we call Federal Elections. The People voting on Direct Initiatives is Direct Democracy; it emulates congress voting the People’s instructions.
Can We Use our State Initiatives Systems for the U.S.?
Yes, but only with great difficulty and limitations. States Initiatives require from 2 to 15 percent of the voters to sign their approval to qualify the initiative onto the ballot. In 2016, the State average cost per qualifying signature was $5.63, yielding a total of $78.12 million. (In 2016, the people voted on 157 initiatives and propositions in 34 states.) The magnitude of these costs would provide Oligarchs with an irresistible opportunity to control a National Initiative process. Oligarchs would have no difficulty corrupting a National System that is built on the State Initiatives system.
A national initiatives system based on our State Initiatives System or the Swiss National Initiatives System (used successfully for 125 years, taking a poor landlocked nation to one where personal income now exceeds the U.S.) could be used as a stepping stone to the Athenian approach.
Using this Solution in our Democratic Republic
The Solution ensures that no Government entity is operationally involved or can interfere. The system is incorruptible (domestically and internationally), with many inherent safeguards including a repeal safeguard. The IQA is well designed and large enough to manage itself and make wise decisions. Operations are one week each month; costs are modest. Funding is an entitlement of the People. The IQA is an exact portrait (a mirror) of the People, assuring relevant initiatives and saving voters’ time. The Oligarchs cannot bribe it because a 500 Member Grand Jury is far too large a risk exposure, changes 1/12th of its membership each month, and is strongly protected from tampering; penalties penetrate corporate shields and include mandatory jail. Because no one is running for re-election, Initiatives can address long-term issues.
Our republican form of government will continue unabated without interference, except that the People will have the on-going Initiative power by direct democracy to correct it when Government becomes excessively misrepresentative, ineffective, or corrupt. It continues our United States’ great experiment in government, perhaps even reestablishing our world leadership that Oligarchy has destroyed.
The big issue is how can we Campaign and implement the Solution? This is the next section.