If you voted for the President of the United States of America, you didn’t vote for any name that was on the ballot, that’s almost certain. My guess is that you did not write in the name of one of the members of the Electoral College that will actually get to vote on who gets to be President. My guess is that you do not even know the names of a single one of these people. My guess is that you might have little, to no idea what I am talking about here. I don’t mean that as a put down. I don’t mean to imply that you are stupid. If you don’t know what I’m talking about it is probably because you’ve been too busy taking care of what you need to do to get through your day.
That’s what Alexander Hamilton thought, when he and a bunch of other men thought up the idea of having an Electoral College. Now given that as far as I know, none of these men were female, openly transgendered, gay, people of color, severely disabled, obese, infirm elderly, very upset about slavery or opposed to cyber bullying, we could conclude the the whole Electoral College idea was garbage, but I don’t think so. (The fact that none of there men had orange hair or had opinions as to where women should be grabbed, add to their credibility).
Now my goal here is not to teach you about the Electoral College.
I don’t know enough to do that. My goal is to help you imagine a group of elected Presidential candidate electors going to school on the available candidates for President and Vice President, to see to it that we got the best people in these positions. This is the gist of what the Electoral College, as originally put into law, is about. It was not about the magic number 270 and horror of the popular vote not deciding the election.
Mainstream media essential turns the election into the Super Bowl. Most people get different colored jerseys and final scores. This way of looking at the election kept many people up past 3:00 am, November 9, 2016 and sold millions of dollars of advertising.
If,” We The People,, were instead focused on deciding who we thought were the best people to send to be “professors” at Electoral College, we would probably be focused on getting to know who knows the job description of President and Vice President of the United States. How much do you know about what a President actually does? I know they pardon turkeys before Thanksgiving Day, but I am fuzzy on the rest of it.
The people we want to tell us who the President could be the clearest citizens we could find. These citizen would also be local. They would reflect the preferences of the voters from the districts they came from.
Our political debates with each other, would be over the quality and personalities of our favorite Electoral College candidates. Political parties would have to nominate candidates that would impress people who had, ideally, been selected due to a perception that they had the time, energy, training, expertise, and character to decide if a candidate was qualified.
How would such a functioning Electoral College grade the two people, “We The People,” thought were the best this country has to offer? I think if you believe they would deserve a D -, you are being generous.
A functional Electoral College would not mean that, “ We The People” did’t have a critical role in how the Country is run. The governmental positions that are currently are voted for directly, could continue to be done that way.
- Citizens would be encouraged to get to know who is running for Electoral College real well.
- Citizens would be encouraged to know their resumes, their biases, their capacity for taking bribes.
Voting for the selectors might not be as fun as voting for the President, as it would probably be less of a circus. Many eligible voters might be so bored by the prospect of discerning who they want to represent them in the Electoral College, that they forget to vote. How much would the Country really miss their input?
There would of course still be political parties promoting their Electoral College candidates. The electorate might be able to better spot it when a political party’s choice for selector is not qualified. A party that does this too many times, might just have to go away.
However, this is all just playing around with ideas.
We got what we got. I think it is bad to conclude that since we used the system, as it is, to elect a President, we are basically screwed and are quite entitled to our fear, disgust and guilt over what has transpired.
We can’t wait for some grand plan to get big money out of politics or to get people who know what they are doing to select a President. We can become increasingly aware of what it is a President actual does and doesn’t do.
To do this we need open minds. Minds open to the notion that we don’t know what we don’t know, about what Presidents do.
I am fond of the sign that used to be popular in some small businesses, before the age of credit cards, “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash.” The motto “In God We Trust” isn’t as popular since God died. It might still work for you though. You may need to change the motto to “In My Conception Of Just Order In The Universe, In Community With Others, I Trust,” to make what I am about to suggest work for you.
Don’t trust politicians, business people, media, corporations or you smart friends or relatives, as to how the country should be run. Please don’t. Trust your unique felt sense of what is right and what is wrong. Then think and act accordingly.
Your unique moral sense should not be given over to anyone.
Seeking out counsel of all forms in this regard, good. Trusting in the will of the majority of US citizens as to who should lead them, not so good. Mistrusting every thing an individual says, because you don’t like them or didn’t vote for them. . . well I’ll keep my opinion on that to myself.
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