Practical Solutions Government Instant Democracy

About a practical proposal to change the government's system of representation by allowing people to vote through their television sets.



Instant Democracy in Your Living Room

Whenever I read polls which compare the beliefs of a random sampling of Americans with the beliefs of the members of Congress, there is always a wide discrepancy. In fact, our elected representatives generally seem to be about three to six years behind the rest of us. I would like to propose a constitutional amendment to correct this problem.

One television set in each household in the U.S. would be wired with an extra channel--the government channel. And this TV would be attached to a remote-control voting box. For most of the day, this new station would broadcast debates on different bills and proposed programs. Then, for one hour a night, this station would be turned over to actual voting on the issues of the day.

At 8:00 P.M., let's say, you could settle down in your living room, turn on the tube, and tune it to democracy. The first vote of the evening might be about selling weapons to Egypt or increasing research funds for solar energy or whatever. A brief summary of both sides of the issue would be presented, and then the home viewers would have 15 minutes to vote yes or no. The results would be tabulated by computer and announced--and implemented--the next day.

No more lobbyists, no more corrupt or drunken politicians, and no more grumbling about the Democrats and Republicans being the same. None of this would matter anymore. Congresspeople would no longer make any major decisions. Their job would be to carry out the decisions that had been made by the daily voting of the people. That should keep them out of trouble. If this isn't direct democracy, I don't know what is. And those people who are militant apathetics can still watch Kojak or Monday Night Football instead of Democracy.

Laurel Schonfield

Briceland, Calif.

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