10 December 2010

An Idea Whose Time has Come: #TeleCongress

I've seen this idea mentioned a few times on Twitter and ever so briefly discussed on TV: With today's technology, there is no good reason for Congress to gather in one geographic location. The fact that they still do leads to corruption, because they are generally away from the people who elected them, and away from their families, and can be more easily swayed by lobbyists and other influence-wielders.

I believe when the District of Columbia was established, it was never intended to have "residents". The whole idea of a "citizen Congress" is for a person to be elected, serve a term, then go back to work in his or her regular business. Where that went wrong is a subject for another post (or 12), though.

With the money it takes to get elected these days, the winner could easily buy a netbook computer and headset to participate in Congressional proceedings from home. I would even be pleased to see States to set up one or several meeting places for their elected Federal representatives to use for the purpose. At the very least, the lobbyists' resources would be spread much thinner.

Just think of it: when you want to call your Representative or Senator, you can dial a local number, and maybe even get a chance to speak to the officeholder! Also, people who aren't near a TV with C-SPAN could watch proceedings on their office computers, by Congress providing a public URL for read-only access.

The more I think about this, the more advantages I can see. I'd better stop now so I can post this. Let me know what you think!