Here's a Way to Get True Representation

I showed up at Avo's for the Wednesday night jam and was accosted as I entered. "Hey Mike," said Seymour Sharpe, "I was wondering if you'd ever get back to us." Others nodded as they concentrated on tuning their instruments..

I put my banjo on the floor and myself in a chair. "I wouldn't forget about y'all," I said. "I was just caught up in the elections."

"I was driving back from Lory State Park," said Seymour, "and passed a series of election signs that just about explained it all: Vote Yes on the Fairgrounds. Campbell for Colorado. For Sale by Owner. Schaeffer for Congress. Fill Dirt Wanted."

"You're just being mean," I said. "It takes a special kind of person to jump in the fray and try for a job they'll have to publicly apply for again in a few years. It seems too insecure."

"Not any more so than a football player," said Seymour. "They have to worry about the coach bringing in a new guy and putting them on waivers as soon as they fumble."

"At least they make a huge salary," said Sloan Down, an old guy who was waiting with his electric bones until everyone else had their instruments ready for jamming.

"Congress critters get fame and fortune, too," said Seymour.

"I wouldn't like to be football player either," I said. "At least when you apply for a regular job, you don't know who your competition is. I think that forces you to be your best instead of just trying to appear better than the competition."

"Interesting point," said Seymour. "But you could also say that open, face to face competition makes every player sharper, forcing them to hone their skills if they want to make the cut."

"That might be good for football," I said, "but for government, it doesn't seem to be working. A lot of good people aren't willing to play the blame game or toe the party line."

"Not much you can do about it," said Sue Forebucks. She strummed a mournful chord on her slide ukulele. "Without votes, you don't have a democracy."

I shrugged, but Seymour jumped in. "Actually, the Roman Senate was chosen by lottery."

"Cool," I said. "If we opened up the lottery to every person of voting age, then basic statistics show we'd probably end up with a more representative sampling of the population than what we elected."

"But they'd all be amateurs," said Sue.

"That's just one more plus," I said. "I don't trust professionals. They always think they know better. Professional traffic planners think their numbers are more definitive than the knowledge of commuters trapped in daily traffic jams. Professional legislators focus on political maneuvering and winning personal battles instead of doing a good job for the voters."

"Exactly," agreed Seymour. "Take Newt Gingrich for example. No matter what you think of his conservative bent or his personality, he was elected to Congress again by the voters in his district. Yet because he won't get reelected as Speaker of the House, he's going to resign his seat because he'll be ineffective for his party. He's more worried about the Republican party than about the constituents who elected him."

"All politicians have certain personality types," I said. "I'd be curious to see what sort of laws, or even issues, a true sampling of Americans would produce. I bet it would be more focused on real life than anything we get now. Of course, that won't happen until voters actually understand statistics and realize how our representation would improve by giving up voting."