In the October 2011 issue of The Atlantic readers responded to former Congressman Mickey Edward's article from the July/August edition entitled "How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans" with their own ideas of "keeping Congress members honest and closer to the people they represent."
Judging from the list, the people are on the right track and show more sense about governmental reform and fairness than any politician, on the national or state level, is remotely capable of.
Members of Congress should:
- No longer make laws that do not apply to themselves.
- Have a pension plan that matches other federal pension plans.
- Participate in Social Security and the same health care systems as the rest of America.
- Be bound by a non-compete law: upon leaving office, they can't work (or lobby) for any entity interacting with Congress or earn money by dealing with laws and rules they passed.
- Be required to live in Washington for at least half of each week.
- Create an independent Office of Truth, charged with reviewing their statements and pointing out inaccuracies large and small.
- Lengthen terms, but serve only one term.
- Institute a salary cap for candidates.
- Eliminate corporate donations to candidates.
- Decouple committee chairmanships from seniority.
We would like to add a few more to this stellar list:
- Require all Congress members to post their in office meeting schedules and office visitor lists online weekly.
- No lobbyists allowed in the Congress building during voting on any legislative matters.
- All Congressional members shall refrain from using their blackberries or any other electronic communication device during floor votes.
If these things could come to pass just maybe we could all imagine a brave new world couldn't we?