When it comes to the opinion pages of the NY Times, I have two idols, David Brooks and Thomas Friedman. Honestly, that tells you about all you need to know about my political views (moderate, very concerned with clean energy growth). The only difference I have from these guys is that I'm much, much more fed up with the way our "government" works.
If I wrote everything here that I thought was going wrong, you would 1) still be reading three days from now and die of starvation, 2) destroy your computer out of shared frustration, or 3) hunt me down and kill me for trying to waste your time with a massive post. So, for that last third, I'm just going to focus on our voting system.
Then again, I have a number of bones to pick with our voting system. I'll just stick to one: in our hyper connected age, it has made our representatives too wary of the whims of the voter. That's right. I believe that our voting system makes our officials MORE responsive than they should be. To back up this claim, I'm going to keep it short and sweet.
When electing officials, we almost always select college-educated, polished, intelligent individuals. These individuals may co-opt populist positions, but if "Joe the Plumber" went up for office, he'd be laughed off the podium. We elect individuals to lead us and make intelligent and informed decisions that WE CANNOT MAKE. However, with the rise of ubiquitous connectivity and information, everyone and their crochety grandmother thinks that they could do better than their representative. Because the internet has an inherently viral quality, people tend to band into groups of their intelligent opinion of "THIS NEEDS TO BE DONE!!!", followed soon by "GET THIS MAN/WOMAN OUT OF OFFICE". Instead of allowing our officials to lead, we force them to constantly be keeping tabs on every little whim that catches flame in their constituency. They must constantly pander to this internet audience, and have no room to compromise, maneuver, or do anything that requires more than denouncing the other party.
This would be a good thing if the average internet opinion were more informed and intelligent than that of our leaders. However, even the best viral internet opinion is worse than any compromise our college-educated, intelligent leaders could come up with. Thus, when our current voting system is coupled with the intense scrutiny and vacillations of the internet, it precludes our leaders from actually doing any leading. It forces them to pander to their audiences, ensuring that they will be elected to again get nothing done.
My solution? Increase all terms to five or six years. After all, the Senate does the best job already.