improvements for the Constitution
Tuesday, December 6 2005
All the flaws obviously present in the American form of governance (as demonstrated by its capacity to install our present administration) has me thinking about what the founding fathers could have done to get things right. They could have written more executive accountability into the constitution, say, with a 10 interrogator panel, each appointed by the president for a lifetime term. Before the People, on a regular basis (say, once each month), each of these interrogators would take turns questioning the president live. Each interrogator could have, say, five questions that they could ask, and they could keep the president until they were satisfied that their questions had been answered in full. Perhaps the president could be provided a hotline and an internet-enabled computer for resolving situations where he didn't know a relevant piece of information. If one particular judge should prove overly-fussy about his level of satisfaction with an answer, his persistence could be overruled by a 7/10ths majority.
Another problem that needs to be solved in the American (and other) political systems is the lack of long-term accountability. Say, for example, a George W. Bush were to cut taxes completely and run trillion-dollar-per-year deficits, and the economy boomed and everyone was happy with the rockin' party being thrown. Let's say it took 20 years for America's creditors to realize the American economic system was unsustainable. Why should the ramifications of this short-sightedness take place on the watch of some future president? Why shouldn't the guy who fucked things up, who blew away the ozone layer and filled the air with greenhouse gasses, who sewed the soil with mercury, and felled the last of the forests be held accountable? Sure, he may already be roasting in Hell like Ronald Reagan, but he earned his salary and got his presidential library. How about this: a regular poll is held concerning the legacy of former presidents and if they receive less that a certain threshold of votes, their presidential libraries are torched and their descendants are fined. If you want even more accountability (and are willing to draw on some of the more controversial aspects of Old Testament law), the descendants could all be put to death, perhaps by stoning or some other cruel method reserved only for such indirect punishments. That would make a president think twice before, say, neglecting scientific reports on the fate of the Gulf Stream.
Gretchen got a speeding ticket today on a notorious stretch of speedtrap running from US 209 to the center of Cottekill. I've heard lots of stories about people getting pulled over here, so I make it a policy never to exceed the speed limit here by more than ten miles per hour. Gretchen, on the other hand, was clocked doing 55 in a 35, though she swears she was going at the speed of traffic.
Gretchen laid some of the blame on the Toyota Prius itself, since it is so new and dazzling, looking like some sort of luxury car. "I was driving the way I always do on that stretch," Gretchen said, "But this time I wasn't driving a beat up old Honda Civic."
The unwelcome fanciness of the Prius isn't the only thing that has Gretchen experiencing buyer's remorse. Today the end-of-the-tank bar on the gas gauge started flashing, indicating conclusively that the second tank of gas had only given us an average of forty miles per gallon. "I'm calling [name of saleslady] tomorrow to complain," Gretchen swore, "40 miles per gallon just isn't right."
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