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Casey Kitchel

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Political parties should be banned in the United States of America.

In George Washington's 1796 Farewell Address, President Washington warned the American people of the dangers political parties pose to the nation's government (that of the United States under the Constitution). Considering the current government's stalemate and the abilities of political parties to “divide a nation”, it seems most evident that he was right in expressing his concerns for the future of this country and for the welfare of its people.

As it appears, elected officials are more concerned with maintaining their own party's control over their rivals rather than serving the interests of the people and opens up the debate on whether political parties should continue to dominate politics in the United States of America at the expense of the American people and at the expense of a functioning government.

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  • Jun 8 2013: Direct democracy by a public poorly informed of the broader implications of their choices could be as dangerous, if not more so, as the very narrow choices made by our politicians based on greed and power. The people with the most money, charisma and cunning would provide the "education" that the public receives to decide on public issues. Few of us have the time to research and become fully informed on one major topic, much less a broad variety of them. A better foundation for public involvement in decision-making is well presented in Tom Atlee's book Empowering Public Wisdom, with the use of Citizen Deliberative Councils (CDCs) and Wisdom Councils. Input from those councils would be particularly useful if broadly established and made a legally integrated part of the decision-making process. Tom also presents a good argument against direct democracy without the appropriate educational foundation.
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      Jun 9 2013: Isn't that a little like Plato saw it some 2500 years ago? So, our country should be run by "smart" people.
      • Jun 9 2013: Run via a smart system, not smart people. But informed people, yes. Direct democracy without being well informed can have very poor vision and make poor, uninformed choices. Citizen Deliberative Councils (or Wisdom Councils) are a randomly selected group of 50-500 people (thus representing a broad set of views), placed into an isolated, but transparent setting (all proceedings viewable by media and the public), given unbiased facilitation by professional facilitators, with a neutral set of guidelines (see Dynamic Facilitation), given access to a broad set of information sources (experts, internet, etc.), given a specific problem to review, deliberate on the problem for 3 days to 5 weeks, depending on the complexity and importance of the problem, coming to a consensus on what they can agree on as desirable solutions, present the consensus opinion and dissenting opinions, make those opinions available to voters or other deciders to aid in decision making. A decision is made on how to handle that problem. This process would provide a relatively unbiased source of information from a diverse set of people. Sounds complex, but it has been shown to be effective (see Oregon's Citizens Initiative Reviews for an example). Such a group could even be given concurrent decision or veto capability in legislation. The next CDC, dealing with an entirely new problem, would involve a completely new set of randomly selected people. My explanation is, admittedly, sketchy, in the limited space provided here. Please take some time to read the book, Empowering Public Wisdom.
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          Jun 9 2013: It sounds almost to good to be true.
          Let's see if I understand. Large groups of people will get together in a transparent environment, make complex decisions aided by facilitators and once the decision is made it would be enacted into law or what ever. For the next issue and other group, etc....
          As opposed to the way it works now, every two years, I am bothered by inane commercials interrupting my ball games and on election day, I go down to the polling place and cast my vote for someone else to put up with governing and I go on with my business. I am afraid under your system I may get caught up in one of these councils. I don't have time for this.

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