(time for the annual exhortation to get up on your hind hooves and act like citizens)
politicians rule america, not the people. it is no accident, the constitution writers, the sainted founding fathers, were contemptuous of democracy. they were determined that america would be ruled by men of property. they have been brilliantly successful. the 'men,' have become men and women, and occasionally colored, too. property has become stock holdings rather than slave plantations, or the ships that prospered in service to the slave/cotton trade. even so, america remains in thrall to money. better still, it is 'unamerican,' to suggest that the wealthy are bandits.
lincoln said, at gettysburg, that the war was fought to preserve a society ruled 'by the people.' lincoln lied, for it has never been that.
politicians rule, for the rich.
this has brought the richest nation in the world into grave debt to what was once one of the poorest. it has enslaved the ordinary people to the wishes of the richest, who own the politicians. it has made munitions the only viable manufacturing industry in the nation, achieved by selling arms to most of the world's dictatorships. it has created many of those dictatorships in pursuit of markets. it has put america into 3 wars, which in modern america are not the struggle of nations for dominance or survival, merely sinkholes into which money can be thrown, to the enrichment of the munitions corporations.
the rule by politicians has looted the environment, threatens ecological collapse, has transformed the most prosperous nation in the world into a land of 'mcjobs' and poverty. this rule must stop, if america is to stop its decay.
i present to you a plan to change the course of history: it's embarrassing, i know, but i'm not here to whine, i'm here to change things. if you are tired of whining, here's a plan which may work, and costs very little:
we can begin a revolution to democracy. i say begin, for this is not a quick fix. it has taken more than 200 years for america to get this far into the mire, it will take several years to get out. revolution? yes, genuine revolution. not a violent activity, a little keyboard activity once a month will be your basic duty. but a revolution, nonetheless. it will be a transfer of the ultimate decisions, major policy, from those few hundred politicians to the electorate, a transfer of power from the few to the many.
will the people's decisions be good ones? yes, for the collective judgment of millions is certainly better than the rule of a few who will always put their private interest ahead of the national interest. in particular, the people who will suffer will be little inclined to send jobs or their soldiers overseas, not at all inclined to let wall street and the banks play 'go fish' with the nation's treasure.
how to get there? the first step is to get citizen initiative, in every state, and in the federal government. it will need a constitutional amendment, similar to the one extending the vote to women. citizen initiative is not a magic wand, but it will have a profound effect, even if seldom used: it's existence is material proof that politicians are not master of the nation. it will always be a reminder that politicians who do not work for the good of the majority can find themselves overruled. they can even find themselves in court, with no 'get out of jail' card from their guild brothers.
how to get citizen initiative? there's only one way: politely threaten politicians with loss of employment if they do not enact the enabling legislation for initiative.
here's how: on the first of every month, send an email to the democrat national committee, and to your state committee if you don't have initiative in your state. send it also to sitting office holders, and candidates in your electoral district. send it to your local newspapers too.
in this email, say: " i will not again vote for any democrat candidate until establishing citizen initiative is at the head of the democrat platform, in the federal government, and in the state."
that's all it takes. first time 1000 such emails hit on the first of the month, the democrat party will smile and forget it. when 10,000 hit they will start to think. when 100,000 arrive, they will act.
incidentally, i have no particular respect for the democrat party. however, the republican party is the champion of wealth. the democrats are the party of the 'others.' the others include 'progressives,' who must be kept in the tent if democrats are to hope for success.
will this result in a tsunami of republican victories? no. the minute some state official loses his job while getting a pile of these emails, the democrat party will discover they are the natural champions of democracy. before the first federal legislator loses his seat, initiative will be prominent in democrat promises. this will actually lead to greater success for democrat candidates, for at last they will have a promise that inspires the youth of the nation, and is affordable to their elders.
initiative and democracy should have some appeal for libertarians, btw.
will having initiative bring paradise overnight? sorry. but it will put into the hands of ordinary voters the means to direct the broad policies of the nation. america will gradually become as good as the people, instead of as bad as the politicians. that's all human beings can hope for, and it's a goal worth a little effort.
i present to you a way to make a citizen's contribution to the political strength of the nation. while civilians, consumers, couch potatos will say something like 'too much trouble,' or 'never work' or 'those grapes were sour,' citizens will act. i hope you will prefer to be a citizen.
that's that's the key: no one is going to give you democracy. first, you must want it. second, you must act like a citizen so that you can become a citizen. to change the nation, begin by changing yourself: allow yourself to hope for success.
i am publishing a few comments from my 'open salon' blog, because my reply re-enforces an important aspect of being a citizen.
Is anyone with me in trying this plan??? I would like to try it, but I am only 1 and I need many. I will email my friends and plead with them to help me in this...but we will need many, many more. I will try al loomis... I want true democracy!
November 28, 2011 07:49 PM
Thanks for the call for action...
November 29, 2011 04:05 AM
This will also require a better education system that encourages informed participation without indoctrination. I assume your "citizens initiative' would include ballot questions and much more direct influence over the decision making process. For those things that continue to be done by elected representatives they should be forced to answer questions on applications and in interviews in order to qualify for the ballot. No job applicant would be3 acceptable if they applied the way our politicians do; why should our so-called leaders play by different rules?
November 29, 2011 10:23 AM
msd: i wish i could guarantee success, money-back if no democracy in 30 days.
it doesn't work that way. democracies only work when there are a significant percentage of citizen personalities in the electorate. a citizen of democracy must be willing to make and hold a decision because it's 'the right thing to do,' not because others are doing it.
of course, if others consistently refuse to join a movement to democracy, then it will not happen.
i have been arguing for democracy for about 40 years now, with nearly no success. increasing poverty, ever more visible corruption and inequality, may improve the chance that people will listen. but even if they do, it won't happen over-night, just to put the matter in perspective, consider two things:
the swiss constitution formally established citizen initiative in 1850, but some cantons did not even allow women to vote until 1970's.
female suffrage in america took three generations of struggle, including some violent protest marches, as well as endless published letters and lobbying of legislators.
modern communication and education technology can speed this process up, but you don't change national culture over-night. you have to reach a decision, and prepare a program of sustained pressure. it's much easier nowadays, the web and email take the drudgery out of revolution. but patience and determination are still needed.
i have sketched out a way to bring democracy to public discussion. with 10 million unemployed, with 1 in 4 children dependent on government food assistance, you would think the material is there for democratic revolution.
if you think it's right, there's no copyright. get started...