I wrote an article titled "Political malpractice kills, and the perpetrators should be dealt with accordingly" at DailyKos.com, a very progressive site. The pushback by some was immediate as they equated the article with the establishment of a banana republic.
It is shortsighted to believe that politicians should have complete immunity for policies they effect irrespective of consequences. It allows those monied interests who control politicians complete control of society, consequences damned. I wrote the following in the piece.
A drunk driver who gets into a fatal collision does not set out to kill anyone. If gun owner drops his loaded weapon in a crowded restaurant and it accidentally goes off and kills a person, they had no intention of taking anyone’s life. The engineer who builds a structurally defective bridge that falls and kills many innocent victims never intended such an awful outcome. A doctor who makes a mistake that causes a patient’s death didn't do it on purpose. Yet every single one of these events is prosecutable as some sort of negligence, and potentially manslaughter or even murder.
One could argue that political malpractice kills many more people. However, there is a difference: The politicians effecting political malpractice do so knowingly. If there are solutions that would have reasonably saved lives but said solutions were not implemented because of corruption or because of dubious rationales, they deserve prosecution—just like any citizen who unwittingly harmed someone. ...
When that contract is broken, the perpetrators must be punished. The intent is not to criminalize politics: It is to ensure that politics aren't criminal.
A commenter wrote the following.
I get the frustration. These politicians are morally wrong — hideously so. That does NOT, however, mean they are criminals. Political dissent cannot be criminalized this way, or our democracy is dead. In a country where prosecution of these politicians is legal, every politician is probably criminal on some vote or another; for example, they could easily prosecute every Democrat who votes against an abortion ban (they could even recycle the thousands-of-deaths line).
Your suggestion is, without hyperbole, the single most dangerous suggestion I have ever read from a front-page diarist on Daily Kos. Just no. ...
I’m so appalled by this suggestion that I’m going to self-reply to be clear about what is happening here: a Daily Kos front pager is calling for the arrest and imprisonment of our political opponents, en masse.
This is unacceptable. If it were up to me it would be an instant firing offense.
This commenter is appalled that I used my free speech right to suggest a solution to solve the revolving door of self-serving corrupt and morally reprehensible politicians. Really? There were a few others that seem unwilling to entertain anything but the status quo.
It is clear that in a real democracy citizens can vote out their politicians. But Americans no longer get civics in school and on many issues are uninformed. There are institutions like the Heritage Foundation and others designed to lie to and misinform Americans. Many times they are unaware of what they are voting for because these organizations and politicians successfully misled them.
Our democracy can only survive if we think outside of the rails that so far are failing us. Just like the Bill of Rights protect us from the tyranny of the majority, we can have laws that protect us from the 'tyranny' of politicians who lie and knowingly pass legislation that harms or kills us.
It is perplexing how many well intentioned Americans, Liberals, and Conservatives alike are so attached to their belief in an exceptional and preordained America, that they cannot see that we require fundamental changes to the American contract.
I do not propose a disorderly transition where all politicians who pass laws some don't like, are prosecutable. The idea is to get a consensus on new rules codified in our Constitution on how our politics operate. Break these rules and sanctions are applied based on the offense.
Politicians should not get away with telling barefaced lies on policy issues. We should require the risk-assessment of policies. If the outcome falls outside some societal norm, it must not become law. As it stands, the Supreme Court gives politicians much latitude since the Constitution does not give specific rights of this nature.
Here is another thought somewhat unrelated whose solution we are unable to solve because we seem unable to think outside of the box. Why? They indoctrinated us about our exceptionalism that needs no change. Our infrastructure is in dire straits. But we can't afford it. Why can't we pay for it in an economy based on fiat money? If there is work to be done and the material and human bodies necessary to do that work are available, and if we are unable to do the job because we cannot afford to, then there is a defect in our human made economic system. We must force the economy to conform to the needs of humanity and not the other way around.
If we are to make things better for the poor and the middle-class, we need to think outside of the box. We must institute rules that force politicians to conform to some new standard. We would likely get policies that revamp our economy to one that favors all instead of a select powerful and wealthy few.
Also published on Medium.