A New Paine
October 22, 2009 – by William C. Hall, West Volusia Beacon
Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense, The Crisis and The Rights of Man is perhaps the most important of the Founding Fathers because he rallied the people to the American Revolution. Despite his key role, there are no grand Washington monuments or palatial shrines such as Mt. Vernon or Monticello preserved in his honor. Nevertheless, there likely would not be a United States without Tom Paine.
There is a new Tom Paine among us and he his message is one of reform, not revolution. In Michael Arth's own words: “I come from outside politics to enter the Florida gubernatorial race because the most important issues are being ignored. Electoral Reform is our most compelling change because it affects how we choose our leaders. You may have seen the bumper sticker that says ‘If Voting Could Change Anything it would be Illegal.’ For all intents and purposes voting in the U.S. is illegal, but the illusion of choice is upheld.”
The Florida Constitution says “All political power is inherent in the people.” The Declaration of Independence asserts that Governments “derive their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.” This is not our reality. We are ruled by a plutocracy of special interests because of the way in which our electoral system works.
Again, in Arth's words: “In single–member elections, such as the governor's race, the winner–take–all system effectively keeps out third parties by turning them into spoilers. Thus the two major parties would rather lose an election than have a fair voting system. Ralph Nader, running as a Green, spoiled the election for Al Gore in 2000. Under our system a plurality rather than a majority is all that is needed to win.”
Arth correctly argues that we should do away with the winner–take–all voting system and replace it with majority voting (Instant Runoff Voting) for single–member elections and Proportional Representation for newly created multi–member congressional districts. These systems are fair and democratic and are employed by democracies around the world.
In our current system, two things occur: The process is dominated by our two–party system, and both parties are dominated by special interest monies – mostly corporated cash. The process is further skewed by the gerrymandering of districts that occurs once a decade when new census numbers arrive and the party then in power redistricts to assure party domination for the coming decade.
There is not enough space allocated for this column to adequately explain the two systems advocated by Arth, but you can learn about both from the following sites: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting and [http://www.michaelearth.org/votingreform.html].
Michael Arth's vision is a reformist view, and it is absolutely needed, which explains why his party, the Democratic Party, so intensely opposes his candidacy. The party bosses (in both parties) want to continue to control the election process to the detriment of the people.
Arth is an accomplished artist, writer, urban planner and visionary. The latter puts him in a class with Tom Paine, the man who made the ideas of Rousseau and other Enlightenment thinkers understandable for the common man, and thereby changed the world. The time has now come to form a more perfect union.
© 2009 All rights reserved. William C. Hall. Send e–mail to email@example.com