Democ­racy un­der siege

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION -

Dear Editor: Most Amer­i­cans are fed up with the drama of our elec­tion process that started more than two years ago — the me­dia blitz, the 16-ring de­bates, scan­dals, emails hack­ing. etc., and, need­less to say, the money spent on polling data, su­per PACS, con­sul­tants and pun­dits. We could have built a cou­ple more Tap­pan Zee bridges.

Most Amer­i­cans need less than six months to make up their mind; in most de­vel­oped coun­tries, it is only few weeks. Con­sid­er­ing our av­er­age at­ten­tion span, most of my Repub­li­can friends and my pro­gres­sive Demo­crat friends have made up our minds long be­fore.

The me­dia/po­lit­i­cal ma­chine keeps the bunny go­ing as they ben­e­fit from the hype, drama, lies, mis­in­for­ma­tion and ig­no­rance.

Our elec­tion is based on money and theater and lit­tle to do with democ­racy, a real curse on our sys­tem. The Supreme Court has sided with big busi­ness and bil­lion­aires in Ci­ti­zens United, claim­ing cor­po­ra­tions are peo­ple and their un­re­stricted money can buy elec­tions. With more than half the el­i­gi­ble vot­ers stay­ing home even for pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, far be­hind most other coun­tries, our democ­racy is un­der siege.

We have to make it eas­ier to vote — by reg­is­ter­ing to vote on­line in ev­ery state; au­to­matic reg­is­tra­tion when you ap­ply for a li­cense to drive, get mar­ried or own a gun; or earn enough to pay taxes. Vot­ing should be manda­tory, sim­i­lar to pay­ing tax, with a $10 penalty if you don’t vote in any elec­tion, taken off your tax re­turn. When there is such univer­sal voter par­tic­i­pa­tion, it should be pub­licly fi­nanced, tak­ing money out of the democ­racy equa­tion. At the same time, we should give a $10 credit to ev­ery vote by a citizen.

This is a sim­ple so­lu­tion to our democ­racy, de­ranged by ap­a­thy. This way we will have no one to blame but us if we elect the wrong per­son to rep­re­sent us. Thomas Koshy Kingston

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