Hi, This is “jamie” ji here chiming in to Amos’ Blog to preface it by saying that some of these ideas are a little…out there but I’m choosing to publish them as is since they are part of a mental/ideological exercise rather than some serious treatise. Hope all three of you who read these posts can take that into consideration.
The conceptual government of this area would be split up in a number of ways but there would be a Man of Judgment who is elected by a direct vote from the citizens for a term of 12 years. He could be reelected. This person would have the final say on issues and movements to be passed. The person need not be of any age (not even limited by adulthood) and would be elected based on his/her reasonableness and long-sightedness. This Man/Woman of Judgment would not be paid by the state. He/she must either work for pay or be taken care of by people. This man must not receive, by law, any money for campaigning or raising awareness for himself. He/she may receive no gifts of money or substantial value (livestock or other types of currency worth a large value) from companies or private persons during campaigning or during his term. The only campaigning he/she would do his/herself. He/she could talk to people one on one or host meetings or talk to people while helping them or being helped. There would not be online campaigning or by the telephone (can i get a woot! for no more political calls?). No one else could represent him or his cause. Why might someone want to do this? They could help guide their community and if they do well for the community that in itself will benefit them.
There will be a public talk one month before elections where candidates will have the floor for 2 hours followed by two hours of Q and A or more talk only if there are no more questions or as a platform to bring up and answer more questions. During this time, if a participant has their hand raised they will be answered. There is no side chatter permitted one bit in this meeting. Silence but for the speakers. Anyone can attend as long as they are quiet. If the kid is quiet, awesome! start ‘em young.
To secure a time slot you must have 200/500 participant signatures. Signatures are counted from any participant 5 years and up. The kid must sign in the company of two other adults though that can make sure the kid knows that the other person is running for the office and has talked to them. This may seem like giving power to the uninformed but kids are a good judge of character and intent and that is important for this office. It would also be fair to assume kids in this area better informed and more rounded than the average lot. It would be part of the parents job to teach the kid how the politics work. The signatures would not have to be signed in person and the count would run up to the very moment of the meeting and would stop once it commences.
A candidate’s name cannot appear on the ballot if he cannot or does not want to speak publicly at this town meeting. The hearing would last as long as it needs to ensure that each candidate speaks his/her fair share and may extend to consecutive days if necessary. This time period would be considered holiday time for participants in the Area.
The Man of Judgment would have responsibilities other than being a sayer of final words. He would be required by law to spend 4- 4 and 1/2 hours in a face to face dialogue with each and every participant of the community the first year of the term. He would hear them out on what they envisioned the future or the community to be like. There would be no set topic or question he had to ask. Maybe an old man would just talk about how he wants to fish more, who knows. But the focus would be on the community.
After the first year he would talk to advisers to make plans for his term and what he wishes to change or maintain for the next 11 years.
All initiatives must be announced and transparent. Transparency of the government will be a key point for all of its functions and information like plans or spending would be posted in a public state building.
There would be a counsel of advisers broken up into departments where they work and oversee other state officials in the department. Each department head has responsibilities for their field and also as advisers the Man/woman of Judgment. Since the Man/woman of Judgment may or may not having any rigorous qualifications, having apt advisers is a key to success. These people wouldn’t need to be of any special character or especial goodness like the Man/woman of Judgment, they just need to be capable statesmen good at getting the job done. The people electing them will decide with their vote if what they plan to do is good for them or not. The Man/woman of Judgment would just be another check.
These would be the divisions: Food and Craft Safety, Public Health, Infrastructure, Economics Taxes and Trade, Social Services, Public Relations and Tourism, Law, Police and the division of Education. Each division would be lead by one person who would also be the adviser for that subject. They could employ 4-7 people to carry out tasks for the division. The candidates for appointment to a division must be approved by the Counsel of Elders (all citizens 55+) to eliminate nepotism or the appointment of supporters. Candidates for appointment to a division must have higher education preferably related to their desired position. The workers may be 17 years and up. The Counsel of elders and the division head must see to their fitness for the position.
The heads of divisions will have a term of 6 years. They can be reelected. (I don’t know if there should be a limit for the number of terms a division head can be in office.) Old employees wishing to continue their work could apply to the Elders and the new head for re-appointment. One employee can apply for work in a different division and be evaluated by the same initial criteria above.
Meeting (and hopefully well exceeding) national standards: The school system would be more student- interest lead and have no more than 15 kids per teacher for all grades extending into college. They would calculate the education budget and report it to Economics for representation in the state budget. Teachers would be allowed to select books and course material for individual classes and even individual students.