OCCUPY Congress: Don't replace congressmen, replace Congress, replace with Actual Democracy, the people as the Legislature!
To be free, to be equal, to be counted, our votes must count! Vote for laws, not for men. I'll say why I firmly believe this in a moment.
Our voices will count only when our actions do, the action of voting for laws is the only true way to govern ourselves. We must cease pledging allegiance to the flag and ”The Republic for which it stands”, and pledge allegiance to the Flag and “The Democracy for which it stands...” once we make it an Actual Democracy. The details of how to do this are coming. But this is my goal, man ruling himself, governing himself.
Represent yourselves. Represent your children, your future and their future. Represent America by voting for economic equality, vote for equality of opportunity at work, school, in the market place, in the media, in your religions, in your sex life, in your taxes, in your very lives. For our votes to count we must become the Congress. We must become the law makers. 200 million of us can do it better than any group of Congressmen possibly can. We group-source, group-think, group-research, every Corporation is a group, a think tank, on how to get our money with minimal exertion and maximum return. The only chance we have is to “group-govern” our nation, and the best group we can form is the group of all the people, of “WE the People”.
Would you vote for the issues you march for, advocate over social media, advocate in conversation, beg your representatives to vote for? Things like reversing the climate-energy-environment troubles that threaten our very existence, like equal justice in the courts, at work, in health care, in education, and in life, generally? Well, you can't. And the only way you and all the other citizens and their children down through the ages will be able to is if we become an ACTUAL DEMOCRACY: one where the people make and vote directly on the laws and not for other flawed and corruptible people to make the laws “for them”. Who makes the rules RULES. We are RULED by our Congress, not Represented by our Congress.
The mechanics of ACTUAL DEMOCRACY:
Right now Article I of the Constitution assigns the Legislative Responsibilities of the Nation to the Congress: that is the House of Representatives and The Senate. They make 'bills' that are proposed laws by having these bills generated in subcommittees of committees. When a subcommittee passes a bill it 'passes it on' to the full committee for passage, which is passing it on the full House of Representative for them to vote on the proposed bill. It's a three step procedure. The Senate hase the same procedure but only with fewer members on the sub committees, the committees, and the full Senate. If both the House and Senate pass the bills, they frequently need to “reconcile” the bills because they are usually slightly different versions in the House than the Senate. Once the “joint House and Senate” reconciliation vote succeeds in passing then the 'final bill' is voted on by the full house and the full Senate. If it passes it goes on to the President to be signed into law, vetoed, or neither. If neither happens within ten days the bill is automatically vetoed.
The Congress can override the President's veto by a 2/3 majority vote in both houses of Congress. In which case it becomes a law.
The Executive branch enforces and administers the laws. This is set out in Article II of the Constitution. Article III requires the Courts to interpret the laws and run trials for those accused of violating the laws.
Actual Democracy, as I envision it, will replace Congress with the people directly voting on the laws. Instead of the 438 members of the House of Representatives and 100 Senators generating or submitting bills through subcommittees, to committees, from the committees to the full Houses for Votes, the people will do it, almost exclusively electronically. There will be subcommittees of various types set up, probably, at the beginning, the same ones currently in Congress. They will be made up of citizens who volunteer to be on such a committee. People interested in labor will go on the labor committee. Those interested in banking to the banking committee. Same with education, military, commerce, transportation, the budget, etc. They will elect members for subcommittees. The subcommittees will debate issues, call on experts for their opinions, then propose bills to become laws, which the full committees will vote on and send to a docket of proposed bills. The bills that get a majority vote from the full committee will then be scheduled for open debate by the people and after a given time, probably months, will get voted on by the people. A majority of the votes for the bill will send it on to the President for his signature. Democracy, plain and simple.
If problems arise in the process then the people will address the problems, change the process by passing laws to change it. We have amended the Constitution 26 times. There is no counting how many laws have been changed, replaced, or thrown away, Any interference in the process of voting and making laws will be severely punished. In future years we may not even recognize the law making process of the people from what it was when it began. That is not important. What is important is the majority of 200 million citizens will be choosing and voting on the laws under which they will live. Each coming generation will no longer be tied to the previous generation's laws that they inherit through inertia and laziness of the current and previous generations.
What problems appear will get fixed. What path to travel in the progress of the nation will be chosen by the people. Then corrected by the people. The American governmental experiment will continue, evolve, and serve for the benefit all the people. Nothing else is political equality, a just society, and a free and independent society of the people, by the people, and for the people. The media will publish all the various opinions they care to publish, but lies of fact will be subject to legal and civil attack. The Corporations will generate goods and services, hire employees, sell stock, but do so under the watchful eye of the people. Power will no longer slip away from the people into the hands of a few.
The real and probably final question is a big one:
Are the people wise enough, responsible enough, involved enough, smart enough, strong enough, and concerned enough to 'bother' making the laws, to expend the time and energy it takes to study, evaluate, challenge the guess that the law will be a good law
The best answer to this is Jefferson's answer in his first inaugural address in 1800, when he became the third president:
“ "It is often said man is not wise enough to govern himself; then he should govern others?" It's there, in the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C., carved in stone!
There are many others who have answered this question. Plato, in his book “The Republic” concluded that the people were not wise enough to govern themselves, that they should be governed by “Philosopher Kings”. And it reads like he might have been running for the office.
The best answer I've that challenges this claim is Bertrand Russell, in his 'Historhy of Western Philosophy, p 107:
But even if we suppose that there is such a thing as "wisdom," is there any form of constitution which will give the government to the wise? It is clear that majorities, like general councils, may err, and in fact have erred. Aristocracies are not always wise; kings are often foolish; Popes, in spite of infallibility, have committed grievous errors. Would anyone advocate entrusting the government to university graduates, or even doctors of divinity? Or to men who, having been born poor, have made great fortunes? It is clear that no legally definable selection of citizens is likely to be wiser, in practice, than the whole body.
It might be suggested that men could be given political wisdom by a suitable training. But the question would arise: what is a suitable training? And this would turn out to be a party question.
Our elected representatives, our Congressmen, make the laws. Laws are limits on the free actions of men required to keep the peace when people differ. To protect the weak from the strong. To use tax dollars to build and maintain the infrastructure, to keep a police force, a judicial system to punish law breakers, to guide the course of commerce and economics, set up schools, etc. Once the criminal code is made law becomes an adventure is spending tax dollars. There are inevitable 'kick backs' to the law makers when they help a group of businessmen get wealthy. The 'special interests' buy the votes of representatives. Those who have capital, a lot of money, which is power over others, fight hard for laws that let them keep that power, and even enable more power to be gotten. Every hour of labor gives a good percentage of the fruits of that labor to the 'owners', the bosses, the rich and powerful, making them more powerful. The citizens of the United States have been through this economic theft of their productivity for 218 years under the Constitution and Capitalism. That's 11 generations of oppressed workers, teachers, scholars, artists, machinists, bricklayers, artisans, manual laborers, and just folks and citizens. Too much greed has taken away all faith in this government's form and function. The only solution is to change the form and function of the government and move on to a 'more perfect' form of government: Actual Democracy.