A page apart!  Look at all those glorious words!  Another one of my terrible ideas, sure to be unread by comics fans worldwide.  This page answers what might be called the thesis statement of EDag Issue 1, page 2-panel 1; “how else to introduce the untried common man into the ways of representative government.”  The Plenary of Delegates is an idea I’ve been mulling over for many years, so yes, as far as political intrigue with a real world corollary, this page is The Enchanted Dagger’s high water mark.  That’s at lot of comic book to buoy it up, so here goes, I’ll elaborate.

American democracy is clearly a polarized mess, so much so that people are becoming skeptical of the idea of democracy itself, which begs the question of what to do about it.  It seems to me that if the systemic partisanship is not put in check, the country will break into regional blocs, something we can see happening with our current coronavirus crisis.  Lets instead work to mitigate this polarization and enfranchise people in to the political conversation by creating a good entry level political position for a localized iteration of the federal government.  Currently, your average persons involvement in politics is though voting, donating money, and volunteering for a political campaign (which can be fun).  Then you have people who interact with their political establishment via a interest they have, a personal interest in their community, (schools, roads, parks etc), a non-profit or business interest (I want to build a private toll road, etc).  We of course, all have twitter and social media, too, which give us all a loud, obnoxious voice.  Now that these advanced means of communication have taken hold allowing us freer communication, What we need to do is hone these processes into a more agreeable platform which leaves the brick and mortar constitutional structure intact, but assimilates the new methods in a way that are conducive to a functioning system.  By functioning, I mean moderate, balanced and boring.  Bad TV.

The Plenary is the second part of a triumvirate of reforms.  The First is ending the paradigm of Gerrymandering, the process which grants the political parties the ability to draw up political voting districts in a way that groups voters in a way most favorable to which ever party has the power at the time.  This feeds into partisan extremism,  a district designed to be Liberal will tend to promote a left leaning candidate who appeals with the emotional pet issues of the left, as opposed to a responsible platform of ideas.  Political districts should be created with an algorithm designed for population based efficiency.  There is no need for any human involvement whatsoever.  We have computers.  There should be no reliable Democratic districts or reliable Republican districts, it should all be by chance.  This will promote moderate candidates, who are by definition open to compromise.

Each Congressional district will then have its plenary, the entry level of politics.  There is something of a precedent for this concept.  In 1974, the District of Columbia, Washington DC, introduced home rule.  until then it had been run by the Federal Government.  At that time it created a governmental organization called The Advisory Neighborhood Commission.  Its elected members (1 for every 5000 Washingtonians) sat on local boards to discuss the local issues of the city.  By most accounts it been a well regarded and influential part of the city government.  This concept of diffusing the political power of the congressional seats into our communities would act as a balance to the powerful interests of corporate interests which manipulate the political process in Washington.  For every Health Insurance lobbyist whose organization proposes a plank of reform beneficial to her organization’s interests, there will be a Delegate who is a professional healthcare administrator to speak to why or why not that reform will be a benefit to the citizenry and on how the Congressperson should vote.  Ideally this sort of low impact political body will draw professional people who are reluctant to dive into a full time public role but still willing to go on record and lend their expertise.  This will be our political proving ground, by which a qualified person might find out if people will follow him.  It will keep the Congress in check, as many Congressperson will come to their position though navigating this plenary body.  It will create skillful cooperators, not firebrands and bomb throwers, who in this analysis will become less popular at the local grocery store if they stir up too much trouble.  The plenary shall be a strictly non partisan, volunteer position with term limits of some kind.  Perhaps 3 year limits with a 2 year reset before a distinguished member might run again.  This political minor league farm system will be the testing ground for our local Mayors, City Councilmen, State Assemblymen and the like.  It seems reasonable to for this body to meet in full with its Congressman quarterly, with smaller boards of local delegates (we’ll say 6 delegates each, so as to total up to Madison’s 30’000) will host monthly meetings with their constituents,  town halls to discuss local and national issues.  The creation of this sort of body should be freely within our Constitutional rights to Free Assembly, though it may need to operate in an unofficial capacity for some duration.  That being said, Political parties already use the voting system to run their parties primary elections and the like.  In 1993, I myself was elected to be a delegate to a state political party convention.

Delegates will also be active on the third plank of my reform agenda, the Forum.  The social media paradigm has been great and all but its drawbacks are self evident. Twitter is fabulous, don’t get me wrong, but there is a lot of crazy  going down over there.  It brings out the inner troll and is easily manipulated by every sociopathic actor in the realm.  No, we need a more formalized, safeguarded, political Forum where decorum is observed and everyone is on record.  We need to pass a law (yes a law, like the ones prohibiting smoking marijuana) that restricts what social media a Congressman/Political Appointee/Staffer is allowed to use, requiring them to interact with their constituents only using the Forum.  Anyone who goes on the forum has to be themselves…not bots, no trolls.  Or they can represent an organization.  The idea is to create something strict and businesslike that takes itself seriously and where we all observe a respectful decorum.  This kind of interface, with a new iteration of localize/national government introduce into it as well, will create a more streamlined  government.  Will it be popular like twitter?  I hope not.  But if you want to put your two cents in and have your Congressman read it, that where you have to go.

So there you have it.  Are these good ideas?  I’m not so sure either.  Ending Gerrymandering definitely.  You got any better ideas?  I’ll end by suggesting that this democratic breakdown of 1 delegate for every 5000 people should be applied to the world population as a whole.  It would create a global political class of a couple hundred thousand people at any given moment.  The Forum could be global too….