A Solution to Partisan Disagreement In America March 2010

I’ve been following a lot of news stories and researching a lot of political problems that The United States is facing these days, and I’ve noticed that an insane amount of our troubles come from partisan disagreement. Simply put, the country is very polarized. There tends to be a strong Democrat and a strong Republican opinion, yet relatively few moderates and independents speak out for compromise or in-between solutions.

With the passing of the recent health care bill, partisan disagreement is at the worst I have possibly ever witnessed. Republican John McCain flat out said that “there will be no cooperation for the rest of the year.”

The truth is that there is an easy solution to the chaos. The United States citizens should vote on the issues rather than have politicians make all of the decisions. Currently the argument does exist that if you vote for the president, then he can do what he thinks is best, even if unpopular, simply because he was voted for. This philosophy is completely valid, because they were indeed elected for the purpose of making critical decisions. But while this philosophy is valid, it is a very indirect way of taking care of these important issues that affect the lives of every American citizen.

This is the 21st century. Before we know it, it will be the 22nd century, and the 23rd. We have the technology, the organization, and the resources to allow citizens to vote on issues. Why do we still have politicians making all of the decisions? The health care bill that recently passed may very well have been voted in, or it may just as easily be voted against by citizens, had it been voted for at all. If it had been voted for though, at least we wouldn’t have to put up with the bitching and complaining that we are hearing because it would have been directly voted in or out. If you don’t like it, then at least you will know that you are the minority and hopefully you will accept that fact.

I understand that voting is a huge process, but there is no excuse not to allow citizens to vote per-issue rather than per-candidate. We have the internet and we have computers. Stop taking useless online polls and use the computers to vote! I know: you are going to say, “but not everybody has a computer and internet.” The reality is that laziness and lack of time stop more people from voting than the fact that some people have no computers and internet. Additionally, people without computers could still make their way to public places such as a library or fire station that have do have public computers. If America is not ready for computerized web-voting, then there is still the option of absentee voting, which is quite simple: you mail in your vote. Voting on issues does not necessarily have to be done on a single day in the way that voting for candidates is done, so a mail-in absentee system has more potential to succeed. Either way, there are plenty of solutions.

As far as how often to hold these issue-based elections, there are multiple ways to go about letting citizens vote per-issue as opposed to per-candidate. One solution is to have annual or semi-annual voting days in which citizens will vote on the issues that have been brought up in that period. Perhaps citizens will vote against an issue. It might then have to be revised and then voted for three more times before the citizens of the United States accept it. If we have quarterly voting days, the reality is that we would still be creating legislation and solving problems at about the same speed that politicians do the same task today. Another solution would be to only have voting days when a truly important issue is at stake, but this would be more difficult as it is hard to spontaneously schedule a voting day.