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How can young Americans restore their faith in our political system?

As a first-time voter in the upcoming 2012 election, I'm trying to follow political campaigns and formulate opinions. But recently, the only things that have caught my eye are scandal and corruption. Lobbying and political red tape have taken the government further and further away from serving the people. In a country where more votes are cast for the season finale of American Idol than for the Presidential Election, how do we restore faith in a system that seems broken?

Topics: politics
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    Jan 14 2012: you don't. it is broken beyond repair.
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      Jan 14 2012: Why do you discourage young Americans from trying to improve their country's government?There must be something about the U.S.A. worth fighting for. Do you really advocate abandoning hope for a country that allied with the Hungarian underground to free your country from hostile invaders? Are you enjoying participating in our constitutional freedom to speak freely here in America, no matter how disparaging your remarks? I say shame on you for not withholding your painfully negative opinion in an otherwise positive forum.
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    Jan 15 2012: Fix the political system. Then i might have some faith.
    • Jan 16 2012: I agree that we need to reform our political system, but how?
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        Jan 18 2012: I think the people at top right now are so far removed from the situation, (the situation being us, as a people) and can't look at things from the bottom up to understand what's really going on that they are going to have to go. i just dont think that they understand. It's up to the next generation. put someone up there who is new, but smart. We really need to start from scratch. Do you understand what i'm saying? lol, i dont know if you got it or not, im kinda tired. :)
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          Jan 18 2012: Every 8 years, at the most, we put put somone new in the White House. If the voters are largely ignorant and apathetic then the new guy is more what the party wants than what the people want. The malfunction has been diagnosed and the cure is prescribed-- American citizens who are qualified to register to vote must do so. They must inform themselves and support the candidates and issues they prefer. The fix is difficult because the system responds exclusively to involvement. Whoever is directly involved in the process has influence on the outcome. Shane is asking how the anemic condition of eligible voters can be revitaized. It is easier to say than to do. But it can be done. Thanks for your thoughts Curious.
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    Jan 15 2012: I'm sorry but do you really have any reason to have faith in your political system? From over here it looks like it's covered in infinite layers of smoke, designed to trick... Many in Sweden don't think to highly of our political model either but most agree that it's at least a leap closer to democracy compared to the Americans.

    So from my point it is (as you say) broken and it's actually breaking much of the world with it, this needs to stop!
    Tear the constitution and crowd-source a new one!
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      Jan 18 2012: See, i like your idea, but with how people are nowadays, im afraid that a new constitution would be corrupt, or we would do to much arguing and bickering to gt anything of value done.
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        Jan 18 2012: I think that if we actually made it opensource (or something of the kind) the best possible result would come from it. Sure there will always be bickering when different opinions have to get along but through that we can solve our differences and come to live in a society where as many as possible are pleased about the way that it's working...
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      Jan 18 2012: America's influence is far-reaching and many non-Americas are understandably concerned about her condition. I do not think those who are not American citizens should advocate "tearing the Constitution a new one". America's Constitution is unique in that it is a living, amendable document. Young Mr. Connolly's question is asking directions about how to move forward, how to restore faith in the system. To help him can you share with him some of the superior characteristics of your Swedish government? Also, why do you characterize being "a leap closer to Democracy" as a virtue. The United States of America is not a democracy, it is a Representative Republic of the People; by the People; for the People.Thanks Mr. Strobl.
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        Jan 18 2012: So, I tried to check the Wiki on Americas constitution... The irony being this message:

        "Imagine a World
        Without Free Knowledge
        For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia. Learn more."

        Perhaps it is exactly this and things like this that has lead me to believe that the way the government of the U.S.A is constructed is to say the least flawed, and your government does seem to praise the constitution for much of what it is... do you see my trail of thought here?

        Why I consider democracy to be a virtue is a whole other question and since I'm barely back to TED conversations (after overdoing it, spent way to much time here) it is regrettably a debate that I'm not willing to have at the moment.

        Now Mr. Long (formal can seem condescending, can't it?) If we don't agree that democracy is a goal worth striving for I'm afraid that you won't see the "superior characteristics" of the Swedish government as a better alternative to yours...

        Further on, even though the document is amendable (had to check that word = "capable of being corrected by additions") it still seems wrong to just keep on building on something that needs to be corrected by add-ons instead of simply re-writing it completely to suit today's reality...
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          Jan 18 2012: So your advice for us here in the U.S.A. is to completely rewrite our constitution to make it suit today's reality? Let's begin with which parts you feel we should eliminate? Thanks Jimmy.
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    Jan 14 2012: Ditch the political system as you know it. It's useless, or at the very least, badly in need of repair.

    The democratic process is a joke - tick one box every 4 years and you've done your bit, been involved and "had your say". Laughable.

    Democracy can still be a very good thing, but I don't feel that politics in any country are truly democratic. Say, bureaucratic, and you'd be closer to the truth.
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      Jan 15 2012: This question is from a youngster seeking opinions about how his generation can make things better. Your attitude of hopeless pessimism and advocacy for non-participation are more than enough reason for you to reserve exercising your right to express yourself in this particular instance. Shane is looking for ways to make the system work better, not for ways to bring it down. As a primary school teacher do you not recognize your opportunity and responsibility to influence youth for that which is right and good?
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    Jan 14 2012: Accept its invitation to become personally involved.
  • Jan 14 2012: Well the only immediate way to restore faith in the political system would be to Elect Ron paul, seeing as he is the ONLY available candidate who isn't corrupt and who isn't guaranteed to go out of his way to destroy the country and turn it into even more of a plutocracy than it is.

    Even those who disagree with many of his policies have a strong agreement with his anti-federal reserve, anti-war and balanced budget policies and he's the only candidate with any level of consistency; So having Ron Paul elected is the closest thing you can do to convince people that a man who *puts the country first* CAN infact be elected.

    The reality is that you can't restore faith in a system that seems broken...when it IS broken.So help to fix the system and the faith will come back.
    • Jan 14 2012: But would the election of Ron Paurest really fix the political system, when his run to the presidency, as you describe it, should be win by default? It seems like we have a pool of candidates who are bereft of morals. I just don't think that the benefits of one good term in office would outweigh or even offset the discouragement that practices such as lobbying and mudslinging project on young people. For it's these people, while playing a pivotal role in the past two elections, who have failed to come out to the polls as often as other age groups have.
      • Jan 14 2012: ' I just don't think that the benefits of one good term in office would outweigh or even offset the discouragement that practices such as lobbying and mudslinging project on young people. '

        Well ofcourse, its not a fixture, its just a start.
        If you take a look at the supporters of Ron Paul you will actually see that many of the young and impovererished do actually support him, quite widely, two groups which don't typically vote for some of the reasons listed.
        Its not a total overhaul, but having someone in office who is generally supported by those who have lost the most faith and a man who would (hopefully) play a significant role in removing the lobbying and over-spending and bail outs would be a great start.
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    Feb 4 2012: The new political system can minimize eternal problems of the power such as corruption, infringement of the rights and freedom under the imperfect legislation, etc. They are solved by cross check of several competing parties within the multi-polar government: the blunders of the contender raise chances of a survival in the power of other participants. The health-enhancing competition of political movements can benefit to all of society.

    The new multipolar political system of 5 independent political parties with the movable centre joint decisions. http://www.modelgovernment.org/en/
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      Feb 4 2012: this is what they say:

      "productive collaboration is made possible through real competition between different political ideologies in the process of joint work within a single team, with the freedom for the citizens to choose between them"

      whaaat??
  • Jan 23 2012: Campaign finance reform and term limits.
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    Jan 18 2012: Mr. Edward Long,(not to seem condescending, it's just because you're older than me) i agree with what you said about new voters, but what i meant by someone new is that there just should be someone who truly understands how it is in America, from the bottom to the top. or at least trys to understand as much as possible. The people we have up top now are just to narrow minded. And I'm afraid that the way the government is now, it no longer represents the people. i think it trys, or pretends to, by having us vote and such, but there is more to it. Or maybe i just don't understand, and i'd appreciate it if you could clue me in, but this is how i see it. form the bottom up.
  • Jan 15 2012: Get rid of it (them) and get rid of politicians.

    Neither solves the problems the world needs solved.
    They don't know how to. They don't intend to and they are the main cause of many of them because that is where profits & power come from.

    Also, abandon belief in the most commonly believed in concept in the world - hope.
    Hope by definition is false. Stop believing in lies and false truths. Awaken.
    One doesn't change anything by hoping but only by doing.

    There is always hope means there is always "not doing".
    If a tool is broken, get rid of it and get a new one. Anything that doesn't start solving your problems NOW, is 100% irrelevant to all your lives, your needs and your problems.

    People, especially in America, worship so many lies that they simply cannot break out of the induced brainwashed slumber they walk around in. They will label things as two-sided only. For instance, pessimistic or optimistic, mainly because they don't want the truth which is a third view, and which usually implores, urges, even tells, an individual or even large groups of people, TO ACT, TO TAKE ACTION, not hope, for hope is not an action, and action is what is most needed. One hopes because one doesn't know, and only through action will one or many, find out.

    A good example is voting. It no longer works. It hasn't for a long time. If it did, things would be better not worse, and now they are worse than worse. If one still believes voting works, they believe or worship one of their most precious and treasured lies.

    If young Americans are reading on Ted, or from other countries, the one thing you all need more than anything else, is freedom because if you don't have that, you won't be able to make the kinds of positive changes you will need for your lives (not mine) and don't forget that today, this must include the lives of everyone on earth and NOT ONLY FOR IMPERIALISTIC AND BRAINWASHED AMERICANS. They TOOK THEM FROM YOU. TAKE THEM BACK.

    Good luck. Ending their reign is positive.
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    Jan 15 2012: By young Americans I assume you mean first and even second time voters. That would mean that most of your learning of the candidate and the process have come from either your parents or the college you are attending. While parents are of diverse opinions some liberal and some conservative open colleges tend to be overwhelmingly liberal while private colleges tend to be conservative. Our local state university had Professors that taught that socialism was a better form of government and that Obamas promise to "Hope and Change" was good for America. Since this has long been a Democratic Platform it carries student votes almost every election. We restore faith in working to resolve problems. I work to seek term limits. I work to return to a Constitutional government. I work to return power to the states to self govern. The political system is one of the best ..... man has screwed it up. Your faith is lost in those who have made a career of politics and sought power and control. As a example: President Obama make 32 czars during his term and is now advocating for a smaller government and consolidating agencies. During elections we are faced with actions versus campaign promises. That example is intended to demonstrate that it is the individual not the system. Become a informed voter and work to make it better. Remember it says "WE THE PEOPLE". Good luck.
  • Jan 14 2012: Shane,
    Was talking to friends about this recently and I told them of an idea I have. They shrugged! But, I will share this with you in private email as it is too long to qualify here. Once you have it, you would be free to summarize for others if you desire.

    Thinking long and honestly about the idea, I see it has great merit for the concern you bring to us here. Very good conversation topic.