Pure democracy still requires leadership | NevadaAppeal.com

Pure democracy still requires leadership

Nevada Appeal editorial board

It’s an intriguing idea being floated by Stateline resident Daniel Rosen, who says he’ll run for a seat in the U.S. House and, if he wins, let his constituents decide how he will vote on legislation.

He would do so through a Web site, http://www.NevadaVoteDirect.org, to take all the guesswork out of politics. “The idea is not to give more power to the people, but all power to the people,” he explained.

It does raise some questions, such as: How would he divvy up the money paid to him by high-powered lobbyists? Or should the lobbyists just send the money straight to Nevadans to buy their votes?

Seriously, though, the concept of pure democracy has appeal for those of us frustrated by our representatives. Wouldn’t it be nice to cut through the political nonsense?

But elected representative are more than just vote-relay machines. We expect them to be leaders. We expect them to be advocates. We expect them, frankly, to know more about what’s going on in the world than we do, because it’s the job we give them.

We also forget sometimes that we expect them to be human – to show compassion when it’s needed, to rage in anger when they see injustice. And we should expect them to make mistakes from time to time, because it’s one way to learn and grow.

The beauty of Rosen’s idea, really, is the call it makes for Nevada’s residents to take responsibility for their own governance. They can do that by becoming actively involved – voting, for example – by being better informed on issues and by holding their elected representatives accountable.

His Web site can help in that last respect by comparing the state delegation’s votes to the opinions of constituents.

Still, there’s more to this government game than meets the eye. A question on the site now asks: “Our political system is in serious need of reform. Agree? Disagree?”

After we click on “Agree,” the challenge becomes finding the best way to improve it. And therein lies the rub. It still depends on us to vote for the right person to get it done.