Congress meets virtually. Each congressman is required to work from an office located within their district. This is mandatory. The representative can hire who they want but at least a large part of the clerical staff has the potential to be local. Equip each office with an audio visual capability developed to allow representatives to participate in committee meetings, floor sessions, make speeches to the floor, participate in debates and otherwise conduct all the business of Washington, without having to go to Washington.
Technically this is feasible and a proven method used by many business today. The benefits of this approach are numerous but here are a few of my favorites:
- 1 Not only is it far less costly, since the support for the representative to maintain a home in Washington, a large part of the cost of supporting the representative stays in the district. This makes reducing the number of tax payers more affordable and the presence of the office improves the local economy.
2 Spread across thousands of districts in the country, lobbying becomes much more expensive to be effective. Rather than hire some high powered lobbyists and put them to work in Washington, the lobby would need representatives in every district. These lobbyists, like anyone going into and out of the local office could be well monitored by someone in the community. Be that a traditional media outlet, an new media reporter, a local blogger, a neighbor with a cell phone or the security camera in the building across the street transparency has a way of making lobbying more expensive and less effective. Unless you live in the district, which brings me to the next point.
3 Representatives can't hide from their constituents. Most people can't take a few days off to go to Washington and give their representative a piece of their mind. But put the office in the district and almost anyone can take a few hours off to give their representative a piece of their mind. Getting your message to the Congressional Representative becomes easier than a trip to the mall.
4 Business conducted over the internet can be made public very easy. Yes, there are some committees that need strong security but that can be achieved. But there are ways to achieve that security. Transparency and accountability are two of the benefit of having most business conducted in a way that can be observed by the constituents either in real time or pod cast
Lower cost, increased local oversight, increased local benefit, improved access for district residence, transparency by default, what is not to like?
My thought is that getting to Thirty Thousand requires overcoming a lot of challenges. The main purpose of visualizing congress is to address many of these challenges creating a path to get to the goal faster, but I think the idea might also serve independently as a "second front" to help speed the progress.