Enjoyed the Health-Care Debate? We'll Keep Chasing Our Tails Until We Start Taking American Democracy Seriously

The debates over health-care, financial reform and everything else ring hollow as long as we ignore what lies at the root of Washington's dysfunction.

If you talk about campaign finance reform or the clean elections model, or decry how corrupt the relationship between lobbyists and lawmakers has become, people's eyes glaze over. It's boring.

When you point out that Americans would never for a second accept a choice of only two flavors of ice cream, and ask why in the world we can let these two not-terribly-responsive parties have a stranglehold on our government and call ourselves a democracy -- if you suggest we might consider a parliamentary system, so people who don't fit neatly into one of two "big tents" can be represented -- you obviously belong to the fringe.

Instant runoff voting to eliminate the 3rd-party "spoiler" problem? That's not a serious policy proposal. Restoring voting rights for felons who've served their debt to society? That's right up there with 'Free Mumia!' as a rallying cry for most mainstream progressives. And if you want to see people give you a funny look, as if you're not quite right in the head, tell them that it'd really take a Constitutional Amendment getting rid of the ridiculous notion of "corporate personhood" to establish a true democracy in the U.S.

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