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Not Quite Perfect, But It’s Getting There
Practice makes perfect. How many times has that phrase been repeated to every child? Perfection is something everyone strives for, whether it is performing the flawless dance or writing a completely accurate scientific research paper. The same applies to governments; ever since the concept of a nation has existed, so has the idealistic “perfect” country. There have been various attempts at achieving that incorruptible ideal in the past and yet, none of these regimes has ever survived past infancy. Rome to Greece to Soviet Russia has tried to attain this unattainable government, obviously unsuccessfully. So, if humans have had so much practice in this particular area of their lives why has no flawless nation arisen? It’s a simple question to answer: human beings are not perfect. Everyone has their weaknesses which transfer into the upper levels of nations. Therefore, the best anyone can hope for is to craft a nation that is as close to flawless as possible. The Federal Republic of Synergy (FRS) will achieve this goal of creating a nearly perfect government that allows its citizens to remain free and secure throughout their lives.
The basic structure of the FRS is designed to give the people the most possible say in how their government is run by keeping the connection between the citizens and upper levels of the bureaucracy close to one another. To do this the number of residents must be quite small, as smaller communities tend to remain more equal because everyone knows everyone else and will hold each other accountable for their choices. Furthermore, there will be several tiers of population and authority. The most general of these is the nation as a whole, ideally with thirty to forty thousand residents. The second level of division is the ten equally sized provinces with three to four thousand citizens each. These sections of the country will have one elementary, middle, and high school each, and a provincial council. Finally, in each province there will be ten cities, with a total of one hundred nationwide; each of these cities will be home to three to four hundred people, who may be moved to other cities as needed. The capital city will be known as the “Capital District” and will be surrounded by the ten provinces, but will not have any residential areas in it. Rather, it will house the Senate, national courthouse, research facilities, hospital, university and other general workplaces.
Every city has the ability and responsibility to be represented in the national Senate meetings that occur every other month in order to retain maximum say in how things are run. Each city will have one representative, so that the total number of Senate members will be one hundred, with a reelection held every two years within the individual cities in which any citizen over the age of twenty-five may run for Senate. This board of representatives meets often enough to prevent national issues from piling up, but they may postpone certain problems to see how they turn out in the long run. The reelections must occur fairly often to give the people a chance to make sure they are being represented in exactly the way they wish to be. Also, in today’s society usually only the richest have the money to run a proper campaign and are therefore the only candidates. In the FRS however, there will be a “price cap”, or required budget, on campaigns to prevent the rich from having an advantage over every other candidate. Thus, any person can run for Senate if they want to.
No country can survive without laws, nor can citizens remain free if they have no input in what bills are passed. Thus it is vital that Synergy have a smoothly working lawmaking system. There will be two processes: In the first method, a bill starts at the city level at the council where it is proposed and voted on by everyone. If it gains a majority vote it will be carried to the bimonthly Senate meeting by that city’s representative where it will be debated and endorsed.
However, it may not be voted on until at least the next meeting, so that the representatives have time to think thoroughly on the bill. After the meeting, it must be put to the National Court to check the law’s constitutionalism. If it is deemed constitutional, then it may be put to the vote at the next Senate, where, if it receives a two-thirds majority vote it may be passed onto the public to decide on. In the second method a law starts at the Senatorial level; this would most likely apply to issues of national security that must be addressed immediately. From there it proceeds as the first method. The requirements and restrictions for bills to become laws are to prevent any one person or city from gaining too much power and also to make it difficult to pass any frivolous, unneeded statute.
Capitalism has earned a reputation around the world for favoring only the rich, but despite its problems there are steps that can be taken to ensure that there is not a huge gap between the richest citizens and the poorest. Bill Gates outlined several ways to accomplish this in his paper “Fixing Capitalism”. First companies must be given incentives to help the less fortunate. These reasons can include anything from tax breaks to better working conditions. Additionally, businesses must have more rights to gain more investors and therefore be able to put forward more investments of their own in businesses to help the lower classes. As Gates put it, “We just need governments to stop interfering with it [capitalism]” (Gates 4), meaning that corporations need more freedoms to do what they have to. Basically, self interest and concern for humanity must work together in capitalism. Having this economic system would allow FRS to progress even further and let everyone have their needs met. Complete equality is not possible while still keeping a free economy, but everyone must work towards this goal nonetheless.
International relations are an inevitable occurrence in any nation and must therefore be addressed. The best foreign policy, however, is one of neutrality and peace when it comes to worldwide disputes and wars. Battles only sap money, resources and most importantly, people; since the goal of Synergy is to help its people feel safe and secure sending them to wars isn’t really in keeping with this ideal. Much like in Switzerland, only peacekeeping and humanitarian missions will be readily approved. Ambassadors will, however, be placed in other major countries to ensure peaceful relations and a continuance of trading. Moreover, they have the responsibility to help the FRS’ citizens in the foreign country they are placed in. Also, if someone from another country commits a serious crime in Synergy, they will be put on trial immediately and be held to the laws of the FRS. Only in the case of capital offenses may the criminal’s country be allowed to intervene.
In spite of Synergy’s dedication to peace, it’s still sensible to keep an army, in case of an attack on the country. The armed forces will be purely a militia reserve in which every physically and mentally stable citizen is required to serve after graduating high school or turning eighteen, whichever comes later. Gender is not taken into account, as both will be conscripted, but the two groups will have different quarters. During training, there will be general classes and “…courses where they [the recruits] learn specialized skills, such as using radar or repairing tanks” (Smith 1). Every few weeks trainees may visit their families at home, and at the end of their mandatory six-month training period they may continue on with a university education and will be part of the reserves. Every year, until the age of forty-five, two to three weeks must be set aside for retraining unless, of course, the citizen becomes unable to serve before then for whatever reason. However, if a recruit wishes to remain in the armed forces, they may choose to join the domestic police force and make it their career or take part in sanctioned international peacekeeping missions.
Criminal acts will always occur no matter how a society is set up, so a judicial system must be implemented to keep citizens safe. In the FRS, one criminal court will serve the country in the Capital District, as well as one national prison. (Domestic cases are to be taken up with the provincial courts.) The prison will have several separate complexes to house criminals of various levels who are all required to do community service during their time. Punishments for crimes will depend on the severity of the crime and range from small fines to life imprisonment; there is no death penalty. Crimes will be tried in the National Court with a jury of nine members, one from each province, excluding one from the criminal’s home province in order to prevent a tied vote or biased jury member. In criminal court there will be three verdicts, as in Scotland: guilty, not guilty, and not proven. In the case of a not proven verdict, the defendant will be placed on probation for a number of months, depending on the severity of the accused crime.
So long as they are up-to-date on their taxes, residents of Synergy will all have the privilege of free healthcare to keep them safe from illnesses through a public healthcare system based on Canada’s. Everyone is automatically covered unless they choose otherwise, no matter what district they may be in. However, only procedures deemed “medically necessary” (Canada 1) will be fully covered by the state, while “…a purely elective service, whose effectiveness might be held in question might have only half its cost covered” (Canada 2). As the majority of funding for public healthcare will stem from taxes, it is common sense to only use this money for life-saving medical procedures. Along the same lines, fewer doctors will be in non-essential positions than life-saving ones. For example, more will be encouraged to specialize in, say, heart surgery than dermatology; this isn’t to demean certain practices, but rather to put priorities in order. And while it is acknowledged that the service for public healthcare might not be the quickest, it will provide the essentials such as yearly checkups, vaccinations, emergency room visits, and important surgeries. However, while public healthcare covers the basics, citizens who can afford it may want better service. In Canada “…there have been repeated calls for the implementation of a parallel privately funded healthcare system” (Canada 3), showing that there is still room for full satisfaction. Thus, a private system is needed to provide citizens with exceptional service. Those who do decide to take part in this type of arrangement will be exempt from paying the General Wellness Program tax, although the privately owned company would still cost more money to the consumer overall.
There is no freedom in ignorance; the less someone knows, the more likely they will be to make poor decisions about their welfare. Education has been proved over and over again to be key to success, both for the individual and the nation. South Korea, a perfect example of this is “…an economic dynamo partly because of its educational attainment, which, among other things has achieved a 96 percent high school graduation rate, the world’s highest.” (Dillon 2). As such, high standards for learning must be held. In Synergy, a student must pass the first through twelfth grades, although during the last three years, he or she will have the opportunity to be part of a foreign exchange student program to various countries. This would generally have to be out-of-pocket for the family, although there will be scholarships available to lower or eliminate the cost. All high school students are encouraged to participate in the program in order to gain an understanding and knowledge of other countries and cultures, and while learning within the FRS, they would be required to take a world cultures class for the same purposes. Not only should students be held to high standards, but teachers as well; in fact, “…Finland had the world’s ‘best performing education system’ partly because of its highly effective way of recruiting, training and supporting teachers” (Dillon 1). School administrators should search for educators specialized in their area of instruction and be willing to offer high pay and training based on the grade level they are instructing.
Once students have completed high school, they are highly encouraged to continue onto college in order to keep their career options open. There will be one university in the FRS, located in the Capital District, although, similar to high school, students are advised to study abroad or in another country. However, if the student does decide to stay in Synergy, their tuition will be paid for by the state, although they must cover all other expenses, including living, books, and transportation. Should the student decide to study outside the country, expenses will of course be higher but tuition will be paid for, up to the amount he or she would have spent in the national university. If the graduate were to decide not to get a college education, they must go through specialized training for whatever job they choose to acquire; however, it must be noted that most careers will require a college education.
Synergy’s goal is to assure a lifetime of security and peace for its citizens in all aspects of their lives, whether it is healthcare, education, or national defense. A representative democratic society is vital to keeping the freedoms of the people, as is a capitalistic economy, and both will be part of the FRS. A reserve militia army will be kept purely for defense and peacekeeping missions, and criminals will be tried and sentenced impartially by a jury. Citizens are heavily involved in making laws, and retaining their freedoms is the government’s first and foremost concern, but the nation is still governed by regular, flawed people. This leaves the question: Is the Federal Republic of Synergy a perfect country? Maybe not quite, but it’s getting there.
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