A Late Christmas Wish
There is a desperate need for an objective research group. I implore some rich person to fund the creation of some of the following:
A voting website: The goal here is to create a web page where a zip code is entered and takes the user to a page with all pertinent data for any upcoming election. These web pages would include links to the Secretary of State’s office, election commission information, a complaint page for problems experienced when trying to vote, information on all candidates – created and maintained by the candidates, and other data or links pertaining to any election information (e.g., referendums).
Proposed Legislation Summary: It is tough to summarize several thousands of pages of anything, much less legislation, but the people need on objective summary of what Congress is proposing, before it passes.
Spending Accountability: Similar to a zip code query, people must understand where their money goes. This must go beyond a pie chart and include true accountability and effectiveness. The war on drugs was great at showing the tons (literally) of confiscated drugs, but by most (if not all) accounts, this war was lost. Are test scores improving, are fewer people on food stamps, are Section 8 housing vouchers decreasing, are drug prices decreasing, and so many other issues where government involvement is entrenched.
Law Enforcement, Judge, and Appointed Body Oversight: A place for a citizen to go if they believe the District Attorney, Police, Judges and appointed bodies have not acted properly or with the appropriately level of rigor. If any committee or department has authority over business or citizens, there must be a citizen appeal board. I have personal experience, with a body established by the Legislature, concerning high school sports.
Innovation Evaluation: A place for entrepreneurs and small business to hawk its wares or suggest more efficient or alternatives to government activities.
These are rotating citizen committees staffed by everyday folks as part time work and paid a good wage for their time. While similar to jury duty, these functions will be scheduled (as should jury duty) and try to best accommodate the individual, but service must be fulfilled. It as much to educate the citizen as is it for oversight. It should aspire to make things more transparent and efficient. It should illuminate big problems and create options for microcosm for change that can be replicated elsewhere. This list is not exhaustive and other temporary review boards can be established as needed, but these core units are a good beginning. Instead of giving money to a nonprofit, make one that will help the citizens of this country.
We need to coalesce to find solutions.