How to Get To Direct Democracy

in direct •  last month 

How to get to Direct Democracy

Getting to Direct Democracy is quite possible and can be peaceful.
Our nation’s founders added a way
to make amendments to the constitution.
However, they left too much control in the hands of the powers at be.
People in power do not want to give it up.
This makes the path a bit bumpy.
But we have substantial leverage… the Decision Website.

See also: What is a Decision Website?

Below you will find…

  • Scenario
  • Initial Thinking
  • Funding
  • Website #1 - A Decision Website on how to make a Decision Website
  • Website #2 - A Decision Website on a New Style of Democracy
  • Constitutional Amendments
  • Media
  • Alternatives
  • Are there enemies?

---- Scenario ----
For there to be a peaceful transition to Direct Democracy,
we need to use the amendment process in our constitution.
The Democratic and Republican parties control our federal government
and all state legislatures as well.
They are not going to go along with amendments for Direct Democracy.

Suppose, though, that we build a Decision Website.
This is done without any government involvement.
This is us, the people, doing our own thing.

We debate the direction we want to go,
whether it’s Direct Democracy or something else.
Then we decide on a suite of proposed US constitutional amendments.
We also replicate a Decision Website for each state,
and without the need for another debate,
we let each state vote separately on the issues.
This gives credibility to each state’s direction.

We might have to also create a democratic media network.
Again, there is no government involvement.
Nothing to stop us.
We simply need to control the media’s bias.

We can consider the Decision Website successful if…
the website is democratic,
the debates are balanced,
sufficient number of people participate,
people trust the website and its process,
and we feel like we have a national opinion.

See also: Alternatives to Direct Democracy

The people will then have some legitimacy in telling politicians,
that Direct Democracy (or whatever) is what we want
in the form of a Constitutional Convention.
Some politicians will see the writing on the wall,
but most won’t.
We will have to force the issue in our votes.
In the short years afterwards, we only vote for candidates
that pledge to follow the opinions in the Decision Website.

Before this point, it had been impossible
for the citizenry to get together in their thinking.
Politicians and the media have been able
to easily divide and conquer all of us.
Once we establish our own voice,
we will be taking away their power of influence.

The Decision Website becomes our way of grabbing the conversation.
It becomes our way of getting on the same page,
and acting together.
It won’t matter where you currently stand on the political spectrum.
It only matters that you believe in freedom and democracy.
I believe that’s virtually all of us.

Interestingly, we can accomplish our amendment goals
by merely voting in state representatives.
It will be easier to find state candidates
that support the Direct Democracy agenda.
But why not add some insurance
and put Direct Democracy supporters in Congress as well.
This is laid out in the “Constitutional Amendments” section below.

Our planned flow for this amendment process is:

  1. 2/3 of state legislatures propose a national constitutional convention.
  2. The constitutional convention deliberates to formulate the amendments.
  3. 3/4 of state legislatures ratify the amendments.

See also: Article V – Constitutional Amendments

We will be successful if we vote in a majority of state representatives
that support the Decision Website.
The plan is solid and unstoppable, except for one thing.

What will ensue is a battle of information,
between those benefiting from the current system,
and the rest of us - the hundreds of millions of us.
The opponents have the money and they have the media.
There will be a barrage of negativity towards Direct Democracy.

See also: Who is against Direct Democracy?

But we are patriots.
It’s not like 1776.
We won’t have to take up arms,
or leave our families,
or sleep out in the cold.
However, we will have to take up the challenge
of changing our way of thinking,
of deciding who to trust,
and sorting out information.
It’s our time to see what we are made of.

---- Initial Thinking ----
There are currently some debate websites out there.;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Let’s start a topic in any or all of them entitled,
“Building a Decision Website”.
Let’s learn from these debate websites.
Let’s get the creativity flowing,
and get ideas to start surfacing.

---- Funding ----
We could crowd-source our project,
to initiate a Decision Website.
This may be the easiest way.
Also, somebody could donate a few million dollars,
to start it off for the first year.

A candidate for the next presidential election,
could redirect 2 million dollars of their campaign chest,
which in 2016 ranged from $10-100 million.
A candidate might see the value of debating our future, and join in.
What candidate might do that?

The point is,
there is plenty of money out there.

Here’s some figures to help with feasibiity.
Three million dollars can pay a programming team of five people
$100,000 a year,
to put together a functional decision-making website.
It also pays for another team of five with the same wage,
for the purpose of brainstorming, design,
project coordination, and citizen liaison.
That leaves an additional $2,000,000,
to pay for servers, web hosting,
and consultants on databases, AI, blockchain, and security.

Projects without bureaucracy and layers of corporate hierarchy,
can be accomplished in much less time and money.
Again, there is plenty of money out there.
$6.5 billion was said to be spent on the 2016 presidential election.
Surely someone out there would step up.
Someone who knows that real democracy is the answer.

Funding for subsequent years should not be a problem.
Definitely, once the Decision Website makes progress.

We may need to create a non-profit organization
or a cooperative to distribute money to employees and vendors.
This can be done democratically,
such that the charter defines all of us as stakeholders.
The idea is to not give up control to any small group of people.

---- Website #1 ----
This step involves the design of the Decision Website.
It’s about the features that will help us make the best decisions.
It’s about principles of debate and consensus thinking.
We start with ideas from our team’s research,
and from what we have learned in other debate sites.
We are building the Decision Website.

See also: Consensus Thinking

We have a chicken and egg moment.
This is the most undemocratic phase we will undertake.
Without an operational decision website,
we lack the means of managing our project democratically.
But we will resolve this in a short period of time.

For assurance, we require that the project have full transparency.
Every step they take is documented as they go along.
Putting documentation on a website is not that complicated.
As a bonus, this becomes our first experiment in full transparency.

So now the team is building a rudimentary Decision Website.
Once functional, we all can begin the discussion process.
We can collaboratively explore
how to improve debate and decision making.
We are jointly designing the final Decision Website.

In the best of scenarios, the site will be usable,
never loose content and past work,
and be modifiable to try out innovative concepts.
This combination is not easy.
It will take some brilliant thinking.
There are brilliant people who will see this moment,
as the time to step out from their corporate assignment,
and make a big contribution to America.

Regardless, if this elegant solution does not arrive on time,
the only drawback is chunkiness between versions.
Not so bad.

Once we have a solid decision website,
we replicate it to manage our project.
Now and hereafter, we are running democratically.
All of us can then participate in the project goals,
finances, procedures, hiring, and firing.
Voila, it is our first democratic organization.

We might continue to debate the needs of the Decision Website.
This depends on our progress and how satisfied we are.
We will vote to know this fact.
We will also be getting feedback
from our use of the administrative replica of the decision website.

We will also need to discuss moderators.
These are people that mediate between participants,
have functional ability to suggest re-writes,
encourage voting on the varying perspectives,
and have a knack for seeking consensus.
Maybe some volunteers aligned to a politician’s campaign,
could shift gears and volunteer on this project.

With more funding,
we can create an AI Artificial Intelligence team
to analyze AI’s potential usage to help moderators.
We likely can even start the AI design process.

See also: AI in the Decision Website

Let’s go back to some practical issues of Website #1,
with its topic of “Building a Decision Website”.

We will have registration to the site,
but it’s not verified at this point.
Registration is our biggest issue.
We could use an email address as the registration.
But nefarious people could create multiple registrations,
by creating multiple email accounts and vote multiple times.

We will have to watch the debate to see if it progresses well.
We should be able to see if something is amiss.
The goal is to have a very logical outcome.
Fortunately at this stage,
we are not debating political decisions,
but only gathering ideas for building an effective decision website.

This could be the right time for independent hackers
to start plying their formidable skills
to protect our Decision Website from interference.
That concept of using hackers sounds scary and crazy
to older generations like mine,
and to people well established in mainstream thinking.
But these are the people who have put in a lot of effort
in understanding computer security.
They also would love a unique place in our society.
A thoughtful and democratic society is likely what they want.

Surprising isn’t it,
that a thoughtful and democratic society,
might be what the vast majority of us want.

Website #1 might last a year.
Hard to say.
Motivated people can be very productive.
Website #1 will continue to exist for the purpose of improving
the concept and functionality of a decision website,
and how to democratically manage a website.

---- Website #2 ----
Website #2 is merely a copy of our improved version,
but with a new debate topic.
Now the topic is…
“A New Style of Democracy”.
This will be interesting.

We will be discussing if we want to implement Direct Democracy,
or improve our representative democracy,
or institute something else.
We can even make this a relatively binding nationwide decision.
Binding to the people, that is.

Administration of the website must be in the hands of the people,
and we need to feel confident in our control.

New improved registration methods need to exist.
It seems obvious to limit registration to only US citizens.
However, non-citizens in the United States,
will not have enough impact to sway the results.
Non-citizens are not inclined to thwart our democratic move.

It is fraudulent accounts that present the problem.
Whether it is foreign countries or people against Direct Democracy,
it is too easy to register with mock email accounts.
They hold the potential to disrupt debate and skew voting.

We can start with the emphasis on one vote per person.
Here we can verify an account with a text to their mobile phone.
Deceivers would seemingly have to own a phone for each account.
However, there is too much money out there
and too much tricky technology to solely trust this method.

If we had a list of citizens, then we could verify accounts.
But we don’t want to involve the government.
So what do we do?
We need an idea from the millions of you out there.
That’s right!
Let’s see if adding a multitude of your voices,
can really make a difference.

Participation by a large enough cross-section of our population,
is important for legitimacy.
We cannot predict the attention this endeavor will attain.
The debate will stay open to let participants join in later
as awareness grows.

The structure of the decision website,
will be copied by groups around the world,
to implement in their own country.
Once this engine of democracy gets going,
change will be the topic everywhere.
The debate will unfold.
Everyone will be watching.
This is where the power of a grass-roots Internet will shine.

The result and quality of our debate will be our proof of concept.
If the results are clean and there is a solid feel of unity,
then what we have is…
ready for this…
the basis of a constitutional convention.

We then will know what we want to change,
and what our government should look like.
It might be Direct Democracy, or it might be something else.
Regardless, it will be better.

---- Constitutional Amendments ----
The US Constitution can be tricky when it comes to amendments.
It’s all in Article V of the Constitution.
We have passed 27 amendments.
However, none of these amendments sought to strip away critical power
from two branches of government.

See also: Article V – Constitutional Amendments

Unfortunately, the process to make an amendment,
involves the authority of the powers at be.
People with power don’t like to give it up.
That’s a colossal understatement.

Our founders attempted to get this amendment process right.
First, they mixed the amendment process
between the federal and state governments,
so as to balance between the two.
However, our powerful two party system
has gained control of both state and federal legislatures.
Representatives in our state legislatures
are primarily Republican and Democratic politicians.

Second, the founders interjected a convention option into the constitution,
instead of only Congress and state legislatures
deciding to propose and approve amendments.
The founders must have thought that amendments were delicate issues,
and conventions involving citizens was appropriate.
Regrettably, they left the convention alternative intertwined
with the existing power structure.
I fully suspect that if the founders could speak now,
they would agree that the citizens
should be able to amend our system into Direct Democracy.

See also: What did the founders think?

At this point, our Decision Website has given us the basis
for the amendments we want.
And we have used the legitimacy of these results
to vote for politicians that pledge to follow the Decision Website.

Our planned flow for this amendment process is:

  1. 2/3 of state legislatures propose a national constitutional convention.
  2. The constitutional convention deliberates to formulate the amendments.
  3. The states have their own conventions to ratify the amendments.

Someone needs to propose the constitutional amendments.
Congress can do this on a 2/3 vote of both the Senate
and House of Representatives.
If we can vote in enough U.S. representatives that support Direct Democracy,
then we are home free.
Let’s not count on it.
There will be enormous amounts of campaign money spent
to keep status quo politicians in place.

The other alternative is via the states.
2/3 of the state legislatures (34) can request a Constitutional Convention.
Congress must abide per Article V and call the convention.
If we have voted and control our state legislatures,
then issuing a call for a Constitutional Convention is assured.

Delegates are sent to the constitutional convention.
But who chooses these delegates?
The US Constitution is unclear.

The only constitutional convention was in 1787.
It has not been done since.
Congress has always proposed the amendments themselves,
without the need for a convention.
Therefore, the convention procedures have not been tested.

At the first constitutional convention in 1787,
delegates were chosen by the states.
This will likely be the precedence for a 2nd constitutional convention.
Still, how do the states’ choose their delegates?

If we have voted in enough state representatives that support us,
then we are fine here.
Another option is for the people to push a state initiative
to change their state constitution
and dictate how delegates will be selected.
For instance, there could be a popular vote method of selection.
See also: More on State Initiatives

Now let’s assume that the constitutional convention
has decided on amendments.
The final stage is ratification.

The US Congress has an unusual power here.
Congress gets to decide whether to ratify,
using the vote of state legislatures or state conventions.
3/4 of the states (34) need to ratify.

If the ratifying convention option is chosen by Congress,
then the issue of picking delegates is again of concern.
If we have voted in sufficient state representatives that support us,
then we are again fine on either option.
If we passed state initiatives to amend the state constitution,
then we will have made the selection of delegates
apply to both a constitutional convention,
plus the ratifying convention.

See also: More on State Initiatives
See also: Article V – Constitutional Amendments

Let’s remember our new-found leverage.
If the Decision Website has worked,
we the people are on to something.
We now have a solid basis for analyzing our world,
developing trust between ourselves,
and polling ourselves.
This is our unifier.

If the citizenry feels the unity,
there will be considerable pressure on politicians
to follow the will of the people.
Starting a major movement for change,
trying to use existing channels to accomplish those changes,
and being turned away by those in power,

---- Media ----
Mainstream Media with its huge audience,
is a problem.
It is a heavy-handed tool,
that has too much influence and power
for such a small group of controlling people.

We can put together a media organization,
that is owned and operated as a democracy.
It can gather the news from outlets like Reuters and the AP,
and then report a more balanced perspective.
Or we extend our democratic media network
to also function like a news collection service

Our media network will use a version of our decision website,
for democratic administration.
And the operations within this media organization,
will be transparent.

We don’t need any government approval for this.
While FCC air space would be a nice assurance,
we can simply use the Internet.

---- Alternatives ----
What happens if the wording in our constitution
has locked us into a degraded democracy?
That would be sad and a bit stupid.
After all, it is our world, our lives, and our country.
Do we just say, “Oh well”?
Hopefully, we don’t get to this situation.

---- Are there Enemies ----
Are there enemies to Direct Democracy?
Yes there are.

Direct Democracy will remove power from a small
but significant swath of people in the U.S.
People enjoy the feeling that they get from power.
People are addicted to that power and that ego boost it gives.

These people will all lose their power:
The President, congresspersons, cabinet members,
heads of agencies, heads of departments,
governors, mayors, local department heads,
state representative, city and county commissioners,
and party leaders.
They will not go quietly.

Lobbyists and campaign strategists will lose a sense of importance.
Their salary will shrink or disappear.
Put yourself in their shoes and you can see
how they might react negatively to Direct Democracy.

Companies with lucrative government contracts,
such as in the military industrial complex,
will lose their sphere of influence,
and maybe find their contracts revisited.
How much money would they be willing to commit
to fighting Direct Democracy?
Millions or billions collectively?

What about industries in general?
They lose their lobby method of influencing public policy.
They won’t be quiet.

It is important to note a significant fact,
in case our opposition gets out of control.
Government workers are not the government.
Employees are not the corporation.
Journalists are not the media conglomerate.
Soldiers are not the military and police are not law enforcement.
They all work for these entities,
and are expected to adopt the ethics of those institutions.
There is considerable pressure and leverage for them to comply.
All of these workers have to weigh their own conscience,
determine their own line in the sand,
and understand their personal morality versus that of their employer.
There can be risk involved.
But there are patriots amongst them.

Now here’s the big one.
Making this type of dramatic change,
putting control in the hands of the people,
by taking it away from select individuals,
seems like a step into the unknown.
There are people who are doing very well financially,
just the way things are now.
Many will not want to risk that.

While they too love freedom and democracy,
the tendency is to choose personal financial security,
over what’s better for all of us,
and even what’s best for their grandchildren.
They will support the status quo,
and will be against Direct Democracy.
In 1776, these Americans were called the Tories.

Let’s remember that our building of a Decision Website
gives us many benefits before the step to Direct Democracy.
The Decision Website helps us learn how to discuss controversial issues,
learn how to incorporate all sides and opinions,
and lets us see how well we do at making decisions.
Why wouldn’t everybody agree to this first step?

Visualize this pool of potential opponents,
virtually every leader, corporation, and wealthy individual.
The problem is how much money they represent.
They overwhelmingly control the media,
as in TV, Internet, print, and radio.
Expect a tidal wave of opposition.
It will require some awesome thinking on our part.
We will have a lot to sort through.
But we now have a method, the Decision Website, to do that.

See also: Who is against Direct Democracy?
See also: Media is a Problem

This will be a time when each of us
has to look deep inside.
It is not someone else’s job to straighten up this world.
It is our job.
This is our call to patriotism.

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