This blog proposes that our representative government is patently broken (esp. Congress) and is dedicated to the proposition that We the People, all of us collectively, still matter, even in our own country. And while apathy appears to be the root cause of our problems, this blogger contends that Americans care but do nothing because there is no effective mechanism for our collective voices to be heard.
America’s middle class suffered more than 10 trillion in losses following the collapse of home values resulting from Wall Street’s sub-prime mortgage debacle, millions of good paying jobs were outsourced or downsized as corporate executives shut down more than 50,000 corporations and factories, our gridlocked representatives spend more time raising funds and campaigning for their next election than enacting legislation, the Fourth Estate has long been “corporatized”, the Fifth Estate is either in prison or awaiting extradition, and the Occupy movement has been marginalized by big city mayors in the name of public safety.
Currently, the only mechanism we have for making our voices heard is to organize in massive numbers and take to the streets, e.g., OWS or the violent demonstrations that eventually brought an end to the war in Vietnam – a war, like Iraq, also ginned up and promoted by lies. (see “Still More Lies”) So what’s the solution? THE INTERNET AND THE OPPORTUNITY IT OFFERS TO EVENTUALLY FORM A TRUE ONLINE PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY! It’s our LAST BEST HOPE.
America is currently ruled by an oligarchy because the framers had no other choice 200 plus years ago when votes were delivered by covered wagon and counted by candlelight. Had they known about the Internet, perhaps Americans would have an effective voice in their government. Instead, we are essentially excluded from the decision making process while our corporate owned media, unregulated too-big-to-fail corporations, bloated bureaucracies, overpriced consultants, think tanks, powerful special interest lobbies and even foreign governments heavily influence and effectively decide policy in 21st century America. We, the American people, have been factored out of the equation, the fox is loose in the hen house basically ignoring or even throwing out parts of the Constitution in many instances, and a winner take all, self-centered policy of greed and personal gain, appears to be the name of the game both in Washington and on Wall Street.
ALL POWER stems from the people and is therefore reserved to and for the people. Governments (state, federal, or otherwise), as far as I am concerned, are abstractions of the human mind. In the final analysis – at least here in America, THE PEOPLE are conferring major portions of their power in the form of a PUBLIC TRUST to a handful of individuals who may or may not deserve that trust. And because these delegated powers tend to be substantial as well as subject to failings such as envy and greed, there has always been, and continues to be, the temptation for abuse. Humans acting alone or in relatively few numbers behind close doors and without transparency are often susceptible to corruption and/or manipulation. The FEW ARE DETERMINING THE FATE OF THE MANY – often without any scrutiny and often without our best interest at heart. But even if our elected officials are well-intentioned – as most are, their hands are frequently tied because they are unable to generate needed support from the public because we are effectively excluded by the fact that our Constitution is a two hundred year old anachronism.
(For those of you fortunate enough to have Netflix, and I realize you are few in number, I highly recommend viewing the new streaming “TV Series” with Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, House of Cards. Fiction? Perhaps, but so is Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”)
Don’t blame the American people and don’t blame the framers. We don’t have an effective voice in our government because the Founders drafted the Constitution in an era when America was mostly wilderness. They had to form a representative democracy because THEY HAD NO OTHER CHOICE! They DID NOT KNOW about computers and the Internet, communication satellites in space, television, commercial air travel, social networking, and cellphones. Had they known about this technology, do you seriously doubt that things would be substantially different? Seriously?
If our government is an anachronism, then WE THE PEOPLE are charged with the responsibility, as citizens, of bringing OUR GOVERNMENT and this Constitution into the 21st century and this must, AND CAN, be done in a lawful and peaceful manner – not by running around with assault weapons. It’s called human progress, it’s OUR patriotic duty, and this is OUR time to stand up and be counted… or not. One way or the other, as you well know, we will get the government we deserve. Doing absolutely nothing has consequences!
At the risk of sounding repetitious, I am going to revisit a few of the suggestions I have been making in this blog. Mind you, I really need your input and your help. If you have any other ideas, let’s hear ‘em.
Solution No. 1: Form Our Own Lobby
From my “Red Meat” post: John Edwards comments: “There is no place in America that doesn’t believe the system is rigged and it’s rigged against them (the American people)….They know who wrote the Medicare prescription drug law; it was written by the lobbyists for the drug companies. They know that. They know who has the power in Washington, D.C. and they know it’s not them….We need to start a grass roots effort for reform today and we need your voice.”
Also, In a follow-on debate, Edwards comments: “They’re the reason (lobbyists) we don’t have universal health care. They’re the reason we have a trade policy that’s cost America millions of jobs. They’re the reason we have an insane tax policy that actually gives tax breaks to American companies sending jobs overseas…” And in another video, John Edwards asks the audience if they are represented by lobbyists in Washington. The unspoken implication here is, “Hey, every other damn interest group in the world is represented in Washington, why aren’t you? So, here again, I have to ask, why aren’t you? Please, if you have the time, read my “Red Meat” post. Better yet, start at “The Beginning…”
I have not been able to drum up any support for this idea and I don’t know why. Is it that ridiculous to propose that we, the American people, form our own lobby and collectively pressure our own Congress? If so, please tell me why? This is doable and, as far as I know, within our lawful rights. It doesn’t require a constitutional amendment or a Constitutional Convention. It can be implemented on the Internet and we can use OUR “informed” power of the vote instead of bags of money to bring about change. I call it a “virtual congress” and this entire blog is replete with thoughts and ideas as to how we can implement this.
If you’re a blogger or still active in OWS, won’t you help me give this idea some legs? Let’s “put it out there” on the Internet and see what happens. I really think it will begin to make a real difference and give the American people an effective voice in their government, a voice we currently do not have.
Solution No. 2: Create Our Own Television Network
I’ve dedicated several posts to this idea and see no reason to rehash it all here. Having said that, I know this isn’t going to happen without the help of our Congress (unlikely) or some serious big bucks (possible, I guess, with millions of small donations…), so I’ve been thinking about other ways to help bootstrap this into reality. And, as before, I fall back on the Mozilla model and suggest we use crowd sourcing. (See my “Open Source Democracy” post.)
Until we can figure out a way to create our own tax payer funded television network, i.e., no commercials, full-time version of C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” in combination with 24/7/365 open debate, why not create a “virtual” equivalent the same way we implement our virtual congress? Yes, it won’t have the same impact as the “Super Bowl” size events I envision (with more emotion than a Roman colosseum and hopefully less bloodshed), but at least it’s a start.
If nothing else, an informed populace is the first step towards an online, participatory democracy where the thoughts, ideas, inspirations and aspirations of every human being on this planet will hopefully and eventually see the light of day and be given fair and proper consideration: a time in history when every person will have the opportunity to “participate” in their governments and hopefully have a more profound influence over their lives, including the decision to go to war.
In my humble opinion, it is OUR solemn DUTY as citizens of the United States of America to always question authority, challenge those who seek to legislate or adjudicate away our rights and privileges, defend our liberties, and work towards the betterment of this constitutional republic for the benefit of current and future generations. Just you? Yes! Who else? Seek to be more than you are and remember, “First they came for my neighbor and I did not speak out. Then they came for me…”
Even when this nation was founded, only a very few participated in the Revolutionary War. A third of the American colonists resisted the dictates of the monarchy and engaged in armed revolt and insurrection, another third actually remained loyal to the British Empire and fought alongside British Regulars while the remaining third apparently wanted no part of the war whatsoever. All human progress depends on the actions of the few; the rest of us merely live out our lives in quiet desperation and anonymity – a non-event except for perhaps, procreation.
The American people, when joined as one, still retain the power to change everything – they just don’t know it. NOTHING, absolutely nothing, has to be this way, but I’ve said what I have to say and can do no more in this blog. I continue to believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that WE (the motivated few) ACTUALLY CAN PROVIDE A REAL VOICE FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE! In fact, WE MUST DO IT! Having said that, and after some 50 rather lengthy posts, this format clearly isn’t the path forward. Instead, I’ve decided to start designing a virtual congress and begin writing the actual code. Needless to say, there is an urgency, and I can use some help. (Drones are already flying over American cities, with over 50 sheriff’s departments requesting more, and free speech on the Internet, as we all know, is under growing threat.)
Until we meet again, perhaps you’ll Google the “Venus Project” with Jacque Fresco or take the time to watch a documentary titled Zeitgeist: Addendum. My sincere thanks to the some 1,500 of you who took a moment to reflect on some of what I’ve had to say. May the Force be with the People of the United States of America…we’re going to need it. And hopefully the world knows that the actions of our leaders and the powerful few who are involving us in preemptive wars and selling off what’s left of our nation to the highest bidder, do not represent those of the majority of the American people. Peace…and forgiveness, because, for all we know, 9/11 may have been just another lie to drag us into yet another war – a war planned perhaps as early as 1998. (See the documentary Zeitgeist, Part 2, and tell me you’re still a true believer.)
There is an old Chinese curse: “May you fall upon interesting times.” Are these not interesting times?