Two newspaper items

The Irish Times carries a piece by Paul Gillespie about Citizen Assemblies and Fishkin’s Deliberative Polling: More power to the people may help politics.

The Jackson Sun, from Jackson Tennessee, carries a letter from Richard Ward which is worth quoting in its entirety:

There are other ways to elect politicians

A recent letter to the editor headline read, “It’s up to voters to fix America.” The letter was dandy, but if that succulent headline be true, then America shall never be “fixed.” Voting is the “adultified” version of the patently adolescent popularity contest. That’s all elections are. It is precisely what has gotten us to where American is today. Refusal to abandon proven failures is a definition of insanity.

Voting is not the only way to choose politicians. Voting is not even the most democratic way of choosing representatives who are for the people. Setting aside spelling bees, beauty pageants, boxing matches and other such non-logical possibilities, election-by-lot becomes the supremely democratic system of electing an open candidate in every election instead of by an anonymous, secret-ballot voter.

Too chancy? So say those who automatically discount the factor of divine intervention. Under a political lottery system — the Golden-Age Greeks called it sortition — any string of presidents, congressmen and/or judges would represent a cross-section of the whole population instead of the assemblage of ego-maniacal popularity freaks who are answerable only to their respective popularizers reigning over propaganda central USA. And election-by-lots is biblical, too.