Direct democracy is about you deciding what the issues are and deciding them; elections are no longer enough

First of all, do not take at face value what anyone says about direct democracy; those who are against it do so out of ignorance, or because they have an ax to grind. Those of us who are for it are entitled to our opiniong but you have to decide for yourself; to do that you have to inform yourself about direct democracy, nobody else can doeit for you.

Do not oppose or support direct democracy if you do not know what it is.

Direct democracy, in a nutshell, means that if 1% of voters decide that an issue is an issue of concern to them, and sign to have the issue decided by all voters of the village, town, city, province, region, state or nation, then a referendum has to be held to decide the issue and the results of the referendum have to be fulfilled by government.

Direct democracy does not need to mean voters decide everything, direct democracy means the voters decide anything 1% of voters decide that all voters should decide.

Depending on the nature of the issue, the voters of the village will decide, the whole nation will decide, or any in-between jurisdiction wilh decide.

The “1%”, refers to 1% of the population of the jurisdiction; in a village of 300, 3 people will be enough to call a referendum of village voters to decide if they need a traffic light. At the other end, 1% of voters means 300 000 people in a country of 30 million people, will decide that a national referendum has to take place in the nation to decide if the nation will have a universal, fully taxpayer funded, health system, for example.

Direct democracy also means the people can force a referendum on any law or regulation, from municipal by-laws to national laws.

Direct democracy also means that the people can force a referendum on any decision by the major and the council of a town or a city, and also on any decision by the national government or the national legislators.

Likewise on any policy decision or treaty.

Direct democracy means that the politicians still legislate and make policy decisions but that anything the elected politicians do, or want to do, can be challenged by a few people and put to a referendum before all voters.

Before the referendum, the politicians present their arguments, and the 1% of citizens who triggered the referendum also present theirs; then, the people, democratically, decide if what the politicians want goes ahead or is overturned or stopped.

Direct democracy also means the voters can decide if the town or village should build a new school or a new health care facility, or a new road or a new sports facility, etc.

Direct democracy means the votes of the town can decide if the illegal parking fines should be increased or reduced.

Direct democracy means votes can decide the zoning regulations of the village, town or city.

Direct democracy means voters can decide if a new gas station is needed in the village.

Direct democracy means that voters can decide if the country should go to war, or have a health care system that covers everyone the same, no matter how much money they have, or if they have a job or are unemployed, or a good job with a great company or a bad job with a bad company.

Direct democracy means voters can decide if the armed forces need to be bigger or have this or that expensive weapons system.

Direct democracy means voters can decide if universities should be 100%, 50% or 0 %, financed by the taxpayers and also if tuitions should be zero or tens of thousands of dollars, or one thousand dollars.

Direct democracy also means voters can decide if the country needs more immigrants, no immigrants or millions of them.

Direct democracy means voters can decide how strict or lax should border controls be enforced.

Direct democracy means voters can decide if the death penalty is right or wrong.

Direct democracy means voters can decide what education system the town, the city, the province, the region, the state or the nation will have.

Direct democracy means the voters can decide if the country will aspire to host the Olympic Games or the World Cup, or whatever.

Direct democracy means the politicians can not not decide anything against the will of the majority if a minority of 1% sign up to hold a referendum, and if in the referendum the voters decide against the politicians. It does not matter if it is the executive or the legislative, or both; neither branch can prevail over the will of the people. Not even the Supreme Court can judge the political decisions by the people. In a direct democracy, the results of referendums can not be declared inconstitutional, or is it “unconstitutional” ?, by the highest court in the land, no matter how experienced, how many degrees they have, or how wise the judges are.

Direct democracy also means that ordinary citizens, even those without political representation, or who do not belong to a party, a labour union, a bussiness association or a professional association, can get together and set up a working group to collect the required 1% of signatures to propose to all citizens a new law, a new policy, changes to the by-laws of a town, as well as changes to national laws and also to the constitution of the country.

Direct democracy means, for example, that a group of ecologists can force a referendum on banning chemical pesticides, or on any other issue.

Direct democracy means that hunters can force a referendum on any hunting law that affects them.

Direct democracy means that the people could force, for example, that in the US a national vote be held on universal health care. In Canada, direct democracy could determine, for example, that the number of family doctors must be increased until all Canadians have a family doctor. In the UK a new referendum could decide to rejoin the EU, etc.

But for all of this to happen, we the people, will have to write to the politicians, create groups to bring direct democracy, demonstrate, and never give up until the politicians accept the “mother of all referendums”; a referendum on direct democracy.

Local, regional and national politicians have to be pressured until they yield.

That is exactly what the people of Switzerland did. Switzerland is, by far, the most democratic country in the word, never mind the wrong democracy rankings by the UK magazine, The Economist. Switzerland is the also the best, most stable country in the World, and it is because of direct democracy.

By the way, those who oppose direct democracy are not democrats, even if their intention is to be. They are not because democracy means “government by the people”, it does not mean “government by those elected by people”, no matter how big a majority they won in the election.

Direct democracy means that between elections, the people also vote on issues of their choosing.

Direct democracy also forces politicians to listen to the people always, no just at election time. Direct democracy also forces cooperative govenrment on politicians and drastically reduces polarisation; that is why in Switzerland, the major parties, representing 70-80% of voters govern in coalition, always.

So, do not complain about the elected politicians “not doing this or doing that”, do something yourself to bring direct democracy to your village, town, city, state, province or nation.

Victor Lopez

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