Third Goal

The third goal of LocalParty.Org may be the most important goal: to educate Californians about the two different forms of democracy, and the many variations in between. We were raised to ignore the 'other system' and focus on our success as a nation. When frustrated with our conditions, we tend not to look for other examples, because weren't we the best the world had to offer already? Politically, we have been made into people not eager to learn about the overall picture. In no way does LocalParty.Org suggest that we should give up on electing our representatives in a district — we are interested in the local level only — and we like to keep the federal level just as it is. Yet by gradually changing democracy — location by location — we can experience the difference of what it means to live with a system of equal representation, see how much better our representatives deliver us then what we want. In politics, perfection is never included, but steady improvements in equal representation are.

Let's quickly walk through the most important aspects for our education.

In California we have local referendums, measurements and initiatives. While these forms of democracy help us deliver some of our wishes to local and state governments, they do not help us get a better grip on our officials. Too many initiatives can too easily be diluted; they are one-dimensional votes (yes or no), some are waiting in the pipeline for years, or they are implemented in a weaker form, and others are simply thrown out by the courts. Also, in the United States there are no national referendums, only local referendums; this is a fact not often mentioned in the news but it further weakens our voices. If we want to be a democracy then those heads we elect need to be based on us, not on special interests from various levels.

One of the important differences between proportional and district elections is that with the same number of people voting, the representatives in control are based on starkly different amounts of voters. So, ultimately, representatives in district elections can lead a city, county, state, or nation with fewer votes required than in proportional democracies. By changing our system to one based on equal representation, the voters get a better grip on the people representing us. And that makes a huge difference, for they'll start listening to us more and to special interests less. Money gets taken out of the picture — or at least loses its current paramount role, and decisions can then be made more on the grounds of what is wise and less on what is in the best interest of company X and citizen group Y.

The limited choice — because district elections are mainly races between number one and number two — ties in with a lower voter turn-out as well.

Of the three LocalParty.Org goals, this goal of educating our fellow citizens may be the most important goal. With just two parties around us all our lives, we are engrained with this particular system. We turn our heads almost automatically when we hear about some other system because we have been told that what we have is best. Interestingly, the two party system emphasizes in general not what is better, but focuses mainly on what is best. We all agree that what is best if often debatable, yet our political system forces us to make that choice every time we have politics in mind. We are used to the battle between what A says is best, and what B says is best. We never focus on what is better for us all. A third party would automatically puncture the picture perfect image of what is best, bringing reality and a more honest debate to the table. Remember the Governor's recall election? While it was chaotic at times, or funny, five people debating provided us with more honest information than we had ever seen with just two people debating, one democrat and one republican. Helping us all understand the crucial differences between the two electoral systems — district and proportional — may be LocalParty.Org's most important task.


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