Why don’t we switch to a democracy?

We all know that our government is a Republic and not a Democracy. We call it a democracy, but it really is not, and never has been.

Did the framers of our government really intend that it be a republic and not a democracy? I think they did. In general, the common citizen will not, and cannot be expected to always know how to vote on a particular complex issue. So, a republic, in theory, solves this. The people elect the representatives, and the representatives carefully study, analyze and vote for us.

But, is this not dated? Certainly the framers of our Constitution also had a practical problem. The populous simply could not vote on every issue. There would be no physical means to collect daily votes on every minor issue that came up before the house.

Today, however, this is not true. Using technology, there is no reason that we could not change to a government which is completely a democracy, and where every citizen can vote from their living room on any issues, on a daily basis. Issues would come up, debates would be broadcast live across the nation, individuals could go to Washington and be heard, and then, everyone who wanted to could vote. Instead of having polling stations, individuals would make a trip to the library.

Here in California, the Governor just punted several issues to the people for voting. For whatever reason, these political hot potatoes were just too hot for the elected folk to make decisions on. What if this sort of election didn’t cost the taxpayers $80M, but instead was effectively free, riding on technology that was already in place for our regular voting?

Even if we didn’t have a real democracy, what if we had a real-time system the people could vote. Any elected official could go to the system and see the results from his constituency the exact results on any issue for those watching live? I guess it’s neat-o but not necessarily an improvement for any of us.

Practically, this is pretty costly. Security issues abound. But, it’s solveable if we want to. And it could radically change the way elections are handled. If nothing else, it’s fun to think about.

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