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Politician Accountability Day

Set aside one day a year for the following ceremony.
  [vote for,

Most people believe that politicians become out-of-touch with the people whom they are representing after a few years in office. In order to keep politicians more "honest," I vote that once a year, we set aside a day to bring each politician back to the area he/she represents, and do as such: For local politicians, the citizens of the area could congregate in a wide area. The politician would be seated on top of a dunking booth. Someone would ask for a verbal vote of "Yays" and "Nays" from the people. If "Yay," the politician gets their full salary for the next year. If "Nay," the politician gets dunked(or someone gets three chances with three baseballs), and a pay cut for the following year. In this manner, those who seek political office would be less likely to do so for the power and money, because they'd know ahead of time that they'd better behave. Precautions would have to be taken for those too old or sick to be dunked. I bet this would stop career politicians, as they'd get tired of doing this every year. Votes for national candidates would have to be taken by normal procedures.
Darknight, Jan 03 2003


       You could just shorten their term. There's a balance between having politicians spending all their time campaigning and having them unaccountable for years at a time. Different offices have different terms (two years, four years, six years, life, until recalled by a no confidence vote, etc) and I don't see what a dunking booth would really do to improve the situation.   

       Political figures are generally not motivated by the salary paid by the office in any case.
egnor, Jan 03 2003

       You think they're not concerned with money? Why does Congress pass itself a pay raise every chance it gets? Besides that, public humiliation can be very effective as punishment. Yes, you could shorten the term, but the object is to make them accountable while they're IN term. Change leadership in an office too often, and nothing gets done. Besides that, you might have noticed that this wasn't posted in complete seriousness. An element of humor does play into the idea, and the idea, rather than its actual implementation, was what I was trying to get across.
Darknight, Jan 03 2003

       Wrong category.
Parvenu, Jan 04 2003

       No - it would become trial by media. The public are notoriously fickle about policy, and also notoriously local. In principle most people would agree with the notion of sacrificing something for the greater good, as long as they don't have to do it. Look at the way that a mid-term dip in popularity for any government is expected - if it doesn't happen, that's unusual.   

       Unless you meant that no politician should be paid after their first year, which raises a whole bunch of other issues.
PeterSilly, Jan 04 2003

       True, it is in the wrong category. I meant to put it in "politics," but it wound up here. I suggested this because everyone likes to complain about politicians, and suggest "what ought to be done," so I figured, why not make it reality? If people mean what they say when they continually bash politicians, then this would be a good idea.
Darknight, Jan 04 2003

       It's possible that there's some merit to the notion of a midterm "review" whose consequences are less severe than ejection (as an actual end-of-term is). Problem is, I can't think of an appropriate measure to take. Myself, I think representatives should have some (limited) leeway to plan for a term longer than a year or two.   

       Rank-and-file U.S. congressmembers get a salary of $154,000 (up to $192,600 for the Speaker). That's *not* a lot of money; most of these people could easily make much more elsewhere. In most countries people do not become politicians for the salary. (Bribes and after-term lucrative "consulting" gigs are another matter.)   

       In fact, a reasonable salary is considered a deterrent to corruption, so politicians don't feel they *need* to take bribes to make ends meet.
egnor, Jan 04 2003

       The "accountability day" is baked, it's called "election day." If you truly want politicians to be held accountable to the voting populace, eliminate all forms of political fundraising, and have the candidates run strictly on the issues, by participating in public debates. Place a tax on all political advertising revenues, and use the revenue obtained to create a fund for sponsoring the debate forum.   

       Most actions taken by government are carried out already by disinterested parties- usually called "civil service employees." Walk into the offices of any government bureaucracy- aren't all the people there disinterested?
whlanteigne, Jan 05 2003

       re disinterested: I used to live around the corner from a large portion of USGS, so once before a trip I followed the signs that led me into the maze that was the USGS campus. After a long time at this, I eventually just parked the car and walked into a building. There I found a lobby, filled on one side with large sliding bookcases filled with things, and a counter with two men struggling to dominate the same computer keyboard. After not finding a map I might find useful, I approached the counter.   

       After a moment or two, the men noticed me. They both grinned and said brightly, "Hi, we're the government and we're here to help!"   

       I said, "Uh, okay..." and proceeded to describe the maps I was looking for.   

       They struggled with the computer some more, then one of them ran from the room, while the other one continued to struggle. After 10 minutes or so, the one who stayed assured me again that they were the government and they were there to help me (same wording as before). And about that time the other one returned from his search elsewhere, saying that by looking at offline lists, he'd found out that they didn't have maps for that region in this office. The one who'd stayed said he'd found that out on the computer just now too. They both assured me again of their compulsion to help, but that this office didn't carry maps for that region (which was on the opposite side of the country) and if I wanted those maps, I'd have to order them from some central location and wait. I left, mapless, unsettled, and had to check myself in the rearview mirror once I got behind the wheel again, just to make sure I wasn't unusually attractive that day (no fear!).   

       I just can't see the disinterest. While the eager geologists at USGS had mostly a benign interest, the city code enforcement office is keenly interested in how much my four-o-clocks infringe on the sidewalk's personal space, and mail me offers of lavish incentives ($1200/day fines).   

       Personally, I could use a little more disinterest in my civil service employees.
meowhous, Jan 06 2003


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