What strategies should democracy adopt to address the main political, economical, ideological and cultural challenges now facing democracy?
The primary issue is that the citizens of these United States no longer have a representative government. That occurred back in 1913, when the House of Representatives in Congress limited its membership to 435. This is the root cause of an elitist government, separated from the citizens it supposedly represents. And the problem's just gotten worse over the last century. Return to the way it used to be, and we don't need term limits, and more citizens can be involved in the passage (and removal!) of Federal Law. Quote from the website at the bottom:
The framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights intended that the total population of Congressional districts never exceed 50 to 60 thousand. Currently, the average population size of the districts is nearly 700,000 and, consequently, the principle of proportionally equitable representation has been abandoned.
I think having TERM LIMITS in the Congress is the best way for the U.S. government to regain accountability with regard to the function of a representative democracy. Having term limits in the Congress would put an end to Congressional career politicans whose agenda's often become self-serving at the expense of the citizens they represent. In addition, term limits help to define the true purpose of a republic: citizens, although financially compensated, who choose to run for an elected office do so because they believe they can effect a positive change in their society. Moreover, term limits ensure that the citizens who choose to enter politics and are elected understand that their service while extremely important is only temporary. In this way every person elected to the Congress will ultimately return to their previous livelihood and thus will never forget where they came from.
I think one way to meet the challenge of maintaining or encouraging democracy in America is to make it a easy as possible for people to vote. In many states, same day voter registration was possible, while others practice motor voter registration when people renew their driver's licenses. Still others offer vote by mail or extended dates for voting. Because of party politics and perhaps because of the changed electorate in the 2008 election, some states are now reversing those processes and making it more difficult for people to vote. This is counter to the idea of a participatory democracy.
One step for democracy to adopt on the economic front is to implement regulatory acts for corporations of the style implemented to reign in and corral the Robber Barons of the Industrial Revolution. Another step is to guard and simultaneously restrict the investment and financial markets as was done through such measures as the origination of the Securities Exchange Commission following the Stock Market Crash of 1929.
I do think that #3 raises a valid point. One of the crucial challenges facing democracy today is the way in which politicians and politics in general have produced a massive feeling of disillusionment in the voting populace. The majority of us simply do not care any more, and we fail to see any major differences between the two major parties apart from the obvious policy differences. Both seem to be corrupt. Therefore, the first challenge for democracy now is to restore confidence in the electorate.
It is interesting to see people complain about a lack of accountability for politicians and yet say that they do not get involved in politics. The way we hold politicians accountable in a democracy (other than by putting them in jail if they commit crimes) is by voting them out of office. It is the people who need to make the politicians accountable rather than complaining about a lack of accountability.
For me, what Americans need to do is to form a movement of centrists. We have the crazies on the right and left running things because people in the center (who constitute the majority of Americans) do not get involved. We need some way to create a push in the country for politicians who will try to work together rather than simply trying to make the other side look bad.
While I, unfortunate as it is, fail to get actively involved in politics, I feel that my reasoning is justifiable. The scandals which have rocked the government lately has enraged me. I find it astonishing that the people who make the laws for citizens of the US to follow have problems following the rules themselves. Therefore, like readerofbooks, I think the first that the accountability of government officials was raised.
This is a great questions and there will be many different opinions for sure. Here are some suggestions.
First, there is a lack of accountability, that is, there are too many scandals. So, it would be good if our politicians went to jail, just like any other citizen, if they broke the law. This is why the justice was served when Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to prison.
Second, we need to do something about senators and people in the House of Representatives trading stocks when they have insider information. This prohibition would allow them to focus on their jobs more. Moreover, this is a complete conflict of interest.
Third, we need to do something about all the special interest groups. They influence our politicians too much.
Finally, we need to do something about campaign funding. If money rules, then the average person gets looked over. Is this not why our politicians cowtow to big banks?