Stop Using Neosporin To Treat The Cancer
By Ira Seidman — part nine of twelve in the series decentralize
Sooner or later political disagreements usually end with something to the effect of “well it doesn’t really matter because I live in a blue state” or “yeah that would be nice if not for the special interests.” The latest and greatest on fighting political corruption seems to be a patchwork job on campaign finance reform, funding elections publicly, or even starting a party that floats tickets with candidates from the center-left and center-right. While seemingly well-intentioned it’s really a false choice — how do you feel about this form of centralized power instead of the one you already have? To be honest I don’t feel good, I don’t feel good at all. I’m sick to my stomach of people trying to make government work without decentralizing power when they try to make government work at all; it’s like using Neosporin to treat cancer.
What is the use in centralizing power? It’s convenience — if we have the one bus driver the rest of us can sit around on our phones. The issue is that’s not how democracy works, much less how power works. To a certain extent centralizing power in the hands of competent people makes sense because it can be efficient and give minorities protection. However, when too much power gets centralized it can become too efficient for hyper-minorities, especially when those hyper-minorities have bottomless sums of money. If you don’t know now you know, participation in government will never be as simple as voting every four years so that representatives will take care of us all the while. If you really want your cake of having legitimate government you should stop eating it too and realize that trusting a few politicians to steer the entire country will never work. If you really want government of, by, and for the people, I recommend taking on the duty of advocating for citizen-participation in the law-making process, informing yourself, and actually voting directly on legislation when the opportunity presents.
Politicians are not experts on the vast majority of issues they legislate for. Most are not medical professionals but they see themselves qualified to reform our healthcare system and few are environmental scientists but they feel free to comment widely on climate change. The one skill that every politician should have is leadership and it’s plain from the division and lack of progress as of late that not even this is in the toolbox. Given the state of governing, it seems like the only skill politicians have left is getting reelected. This is not the disease however, this is merely a symptom of government that is too centralized.
Each and every one of us has to deal with bad laws everyday — from the bores and tickets of alternate side parking to the war on drugs that took our loved ones. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all propose amends (if not repeals) for laws and campaign for these proposals through widespread and constant discussion? That’s what Athena is for — my proposal for an online voting system where any New Yorker can propose legislation, and if enough people agree, I’ll sign the proposal into law in whatever capacity I have the power to do so as mayor. This is what democracy looks like to me and it is decentralized of where government is today.
If this vision for fixing bad laws and rooting our corruption makes sense I strongly ask for your consideration in the Democratic Primary on June 22nd. No one else is proposing ideas to fight corruption like I am, not even close. I’ve never seen a question in a debate about what candidates are proposing to do about corruption in government; it’s almost taken as a given that politics is either not perverted or what would be worse, that there’s simply nothing that can be done. Every other discussion is not worth having until we actually have a government that will act in the interests of the people, not the special interests. I know it’s a risk to vote for a young guy with no record, but is it riskier than voting for politicians with a long record of doing absolutely nothing for corruption? Corruption which is as old as the hills and has been tearing our communities apart ever since. Bold times call for bold measures, not a first aid kit with Neosporin and band-aids.