Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pitching Ideas

One of the fascinating things about the the Internet is the ability to reach a mass individual audience any number of times. Of course, they can reply any number of times as well. With the use of forums, for example, you get something akin to a Socratic dialogue minus the visual aspect of speech. (facial expressions, eye contact etc. . . )

The ideas shine through brightly and quickly. Stupidity, silliness and aggression can be spotted instantly. The real juice, though, remains that co mingling of ideas and the resulting offspring. At this very second, ideas in philosophy, art, science and any other subject are being born at a rate never before imagined. Also, somewhere someone is asking someone else what they want on their pizza. The profound and the mundane on a scale never before achieved

Lest this all sound wonderful beyond compare, think of how this all could have been used a few decades ago. If the heinous Nazi regime had the Internet at their disposal, the world we know now might not exist. Obviously, their mastery of propaganda would have allowed them to develop a powerful new weapon of persuasion and control. However, I thinking more in the realm of ideas. If the Nazis had been able to hook up their scientists with captured Danish physicist Neils Bohr, who the Allies felt had the ability to help make an atom bomb, then the monstrous Nazis might have beaten the Allies to the nuclear punch. With V-2 rockets to carry the payloads, they would have won WW2. All because certain people were able to exchange ideas at a certain place and time. A what if to ponder.

On the positive side of the ledger, at this time, our new President, is asking for the help of citizens in surmounting the problems of the day. Is this a P.R. stunt? Of course, but I think we should start taking the president at his word and holding him to it. If he wants ideas, give them to him.

And don't be dissuaded that you don't have a fabulous new idea for the newbie president. Harry Truman said " The only thing new in the world is the history you don't now." More on point, paraphrasing Edmund Burke there are no new ideas in liberty. Many ideas get passed around for years until people finally see the path of wisdom. Think voting rights for all. Passed in 1865. Fully executed:1965.

With a completely corrupt federal legislative branch, my idea is a federal amendment for congressional term limits. Is this old hat? Sure, but it's never been more needed with rampant corruption today. When the former Governor of Illinois on his corruption tapes talks about taking the seat himself, he's acknowledging that this seat is a cash cow. If he could not get something for it, then he'll milk it himself for all it's worth. We must protect the seats in Congress from such lecherous twisters. We try to forestall corruption for the Presidency, the federal executive with term limits. Why not the federal legislature?

Six consecutive terms for House members would be twelve years. This would preserve turnover in a chamber meant for this dynamic. Three consecutive terms in the Senate would give a longer view to the chamber and yet, would prevent the disturbing Senator for Life syndrome. (see Kennedy, Byrd, Thurmond and far too many more to mention) Now this was tried before in the Contract with America, but was never passed. Perhaps, Obama will see the wisdom of this or use it as a practical instrument for a measure of control over Congress.

I know you're saying why would he clock a Democratic Congress with this. First, unfortunately, you'd probably have to grandfather in all the current sitting members, meaning they would get to serve six or three terms from the next election. This means the measure would take effect after Obama himself has left office. So he pays no political price in power terms. Second, it helps him put meat on the bones of his ethical ballyhoo pronouncements. If he wants to avoid a credibility gap, he'll need actual accomplishments, not vague declarations about what he will, should, could or wants to do. With a Democratic Congress, Obama will risk disunion in his own party. However, Obama may actually be in the unique position of getting his party to move in the right direction. As has been said, only Nixon could go to China. If Obama is bold enough he can help America, himself and even that corrupt Congress from itself.

It all starts with one man or woman and an idea. Could be you. Could be me. It could be simple like this idea of term limits or it could be more complex. The Internet has made this exchange more possible than at any other time in human history. Will you heed the clock on the wall?

If so, go here

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