Government Is Good

Government is good because We the people are good and government IS the people. Government has the potential to do great good in our communities. Government is a vehicle for transporting the people beyond the horizon of our greatest challenges. To get there we have to be able to see beyond ourselves. To get there we the people must maintain the engine of this vehicle and that engine is our Democracy. Our participation by voting, protesting, writing opeds and speaking face to face with our leaders is how we fuel the engine of our Government.

People say the nation is irreparably divided between the Left and the Right. Each “side” has different views about what our government should do for and with us but both sides agree that our government systems are broken. Both sides on the street level of citizenship agree that the voice of the people and are participation is the heart of our Democracy and that voice is silenced by corruption of our systems.

One side calls the problem Big Government the other Big Business but the reality I believe is that both are correct.  It is Big corrupt government corrupted by Big Money. So my friends, maybe our biggest conflict is not the Left vs the Right but the Inside (inside DC Beltway Politics/Kstreet) and Outside (the rest of us).

I was at a fundraising gathering in the backyard of a U.S. Congressman who had served for over 40 years in the Congress ostensibly to serve our neighbors where I live.  I asked him what his plan was to turn the many boarded up storefronts with For Lease Signs on them to stores with Help Wanted Signs on them?His reply was “I never drive down those streets”.   Yes, seriously he did say that!  It’s true he spent most of his time in Washington making deals and increasing his power and ranking on committees and making deals to benefit large industries so he really did not know my streets!  He was trapped as so many of his colleagues in a triangle of other streets. I would include in these streets the DC Beltway, K Street (the lobbyists) and Wall Street to this triangle of streets that never intersect with any of our streets.

How can any of OUR Priorities and OUR Voices be heard if “our representatives” don’t know our streets, if they don’t know our names, our children and our struggles?  If they spend most of their time in office driving around this triangle of money lined roads, if they spend most of their time on the phone to the richest people they know begging for money so they can keep Their jobs, how will they have adequate time to help us keep or get OUR jobs?

We have serious problems in our lives, our communities, the nation and as a member of this earthly community. We have personally painful problems from unemployment and cancer and we have big communal problems like economic disparity and climate change disasters.  We’ve recently seen with Sandy how the big global problems like Climate Change are intersecting with our personal lives in a very dangerous and personal way! We are all connected.

The problem we face is that in order to solve our greatest challenges like the massive growth in income disparity, increasing climate disasters like drought and its serious economic consequences and increasing illness coupled with a decreasing ability to pay for it, we must have the best and brightest among us able to enter public service and our voices heard by our elected representatives!

But in our current system it costs over 3 million dollars to run for congress and over 10 million dollars to run for the Senate! The Supreme Court ruled that Money Is equal to speech so those with the most money obviously have the most speech, the loudest speech. That almost always precludes many of our best and brightest from our communities from running to represent our voices and gives the rich and the powerful the loudest voice in our Democracy.  This is why our current debate is not about the very real Crisis of You and your friends getting Jobs, higher wages, lower college tuition, help with school loans, and more teachers in your kids schools.

Our current debate is about a so called Debt Crisis that while serious in the mid to long term, ignores the fact that millions of us have already fallen off the Austerity Cliff long ago!  Millions of us have a very real and serious economic crisis today in our homes, with our families and in our communities!  So this Debt Crisis panic where is it coming from?  It’s coming from that Triangle of Streets I mentioned, the Beltway, K Street Lobbyists and Wall Street all worried about their own grip on power, influence and massively concentrated wealth!

My friends, we need to take the conversation back to OUR Streets. If our representatives don’t go down our streets and know our names we must make sure they do. We must make sure they know our names, our stories, our children’s faces and that OUR Streets come first!  We must organize and get big money influence OUT of our Democracy so our Big problems can be addressed.  In the coming days I’ll be writing about some of the current efforts being made to amend the constitution and correct the corruption.  But for now we can work together to return the conversation in Washington DC to OUR priorities.

Let’s start with an affirmation that it is OUR Democracy!  Let’s get ACTIVE and ProActive!

  1. A few suggestions. Raise our voices together start by calling our congress people to tell them we want them to invest in Job Creating Building and Public Investments. Tell them your kids need new Libraries at their schools, tell them you want new trains and rapid transit to get to work, tell them you want broadband internet to your rural neighborhoods now!  Tell them we want them to Raise our Wages with a Living Wage that defends workers dignity and health and supports the constitutional value of the pursuit of happiness!  Raise the Social Security Cap so everyone even rich people contribute to it the same and makes Social Security solvent forever!  Hire more teachers including music and art teachers not just science and math teachers!  Hire more police and stop arresting drug users when they should be focusing on violent crimes instead.  Hire more firefighters to help us deal with the fires from climate change and drought effecting our states!  Tell them it’s time to restore funding aid to the States who are too big to fail!  Tell them to End wasteful War spending now we can’t afford to police the world and we have to help our vets all get the care they need! Tax Wall Street Speculative Trading their reckless profiteering has enriched them and endangered everyone else for too long. Raise the Capital Gains Tax, Eliminate the Carried Interest Deduction, Tax Millionaires and Billionaires more!
  2. Raise the flag on your front porch. Raise the banner of the people and wake up the sleeping giant of populism. Raise it with another Flag you and your family creates together that says Jobs First! or Prosperity Not Austerity!
    Here’s a place you can buy Pillow Cases made in the U.S.A.  For only $2.00 each!  Make your own Flag with your family out of one.  Pain “Prosperity NOT Austerity” or “Jobs NOT Cuts!”  or “Tax Wall Street-Fix Main Street” etc on them and fly it on your front porch or apartment balcony! Take a picture of it, tweet it, post it to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and send it as a post card to your Congress Person!
  3. Get involved in one of the current efforts to amend the constitution and get big money out of our politics. Sign on to their efforts, donate what you can, volunteer to help out, tell your friends about them.
  4. Show up at your Congress persons Town Hall meetings with your friends an neighbors and have Everyone agree to ask the same question/statement demanding we Amend the Constitution to overturn citizens united and restore the peoples voice to our government!  If there’s none scheduled then show up at their district office.
  5. Walk down your Main Street and hand out flyers (While you shop at their stores) to post in their storefronts that call on people to shop Main Street Stores, buy American made and participate as citizens putting Jobs as our first priority!  Jobs First, Prosperity Not Austerity!
  6. Visit and get involved in getting Big Money out of our politics today!

Tear down the walls to compassion

Something tells me that most things that separate us are unhealthy. We are as any physicist will tell you connected to everything in life. We share most of the genes with all forms of life including trees. Our skin color, languages, genders, beliefs and faiths are all part of the one living organism that is life on this small blue ball of mostly water we float through space on called Earth.

It reminds me of when I asked my mother which of her children was her favorite. She replied you are like the fingers on my hand my son. How could I prefer one over another. We are all part of and connected to the one life that constantly cycles through life and death on this planet and what we do to any part of it we do to ourselves.

We have erected artificial separations called borders, clans and groups by gender, faith, language, ethnicity, and everything but eye color which for some reason most of us think would make no sense but we accept all of our other measures to segregate ourselves.

We say without borders we can not have nations and that apparently is unthinkable to most because we must protect the scarce resources our nation possesses.  Except in the case of the United States we are wealthy beyond comprehension compared to most of the other inhabitants of our world.  We have enough food and water to feed every person in the country yet over sixteen million of our children go to bed each night without enough to eat.  Do our borders protect them? Apparently not.

It is not borders that keep us safe. It is the decisions we make about how we live together, and how much human suffering we will accept so that some of us will be able to live in extreme luxury. How many of us should we let die of poverty, hunger, diseases, domestic violence because we choose not to place enough resources to change these numbers? How many people around the planet do we accept dying from dysentery and other preventable diseases because they are born in a place of poverty and we are more focused on maintaining our consumption of resources than our participation in reducing global suffering?

Over 2,000 children die in the world every day, over 700,000 every year because they lack clean water and sanitation and we go on segregated into our nations behind our borders, in our communities, and homes focused on our own lives not because we don’t care, but mostly because we don’t see them and know them. We are separated from the pain of others yet we are them and connected to them.  When there is clean sanitation and water girls stay in school and become educated and help their families thrive which is proven to decrease poverty and extremism.

Here is something we can do today to help heal ourselves. This organization is doing great work to increase the access and availability to water and sanitation in the world where it is desperately needed. Visit this website to get involved!

Nationalism can lead to terrible outcomes on our small plant.  It is fine to love one’s neighbors in fact wonderful to do so and to love one’s community and if you believe to love one’s God.  If we are to love one’s nation then let us love it just enough to see that all who are touched by it in any way have access to a healthy dignified existence and our basic human rights!

If you would like to work together on reducing poverty and human suffering join us and help us inform and unite people to do so!

International Day Of Peace

Today is the UN International Day Of Peace!

If we want peace on Earth we must live in peace with our Earthm and that means living in balance in a sustainable way that doesn’t poison our air, land and water and that respects the right of every person to live with human dignity.

I’ve been thinking about the issues that can bring us all together to stand united for real equality, justice and peace.

Raising the minimum wage to a living wage for all workers is one of them. Another is standing to demand a shift from fossil fuels to green energy investment. A third is investing in free and equal access to education that doesn’t burden a generation in debt!

All three of these issues:
Sustainable Energy
Living Wage Standards &
Debt Free Education

They are all interconnected and represent the only viable common sense solutions to a very irrational system of exploitation by the forces of consolidated power and wealth that has resulted in massive poverty and suffering in America and around the world.

So let us stand for human rights, human justice and human dignity as well as the rights of all life on this beautiful planet we share!

Let us come together as people, not just Americans, or other nationalities but as loving caring thoughtful human beings who care about our families, our communities and our future generations.

On this International UN Day of Peace let us each say that “TODAY I AM PEACE!” and let peace and love start with me!

Building the real wealth of life

Sometimes this world makes me terribly sad and in the midst of that sadness springs a seed of tremendous hope!

It’s like we keep making the same mistakes generation after generation and they rekindle the spark of conscious humanity in us reviving and activating the lovers of the world.

The lovers of the world are far more powerful than the haters and takers.

They, we, shine a light so bright by how we live our lives it helps others find their own way, until we all realize we are just walking together and have been all the time.

We don’t have to buy into the pain and fear from the same lies about a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and how we could be happy if we were richer, prettier, stronger, smarter, quicker, skinnier and buy enough stuff or even buy enough education to get us there. Because it’s not there, there’s no there…there!

We are here.

All of us on this small blue mostly water beautiful planet with enormous wealth and resources enough to feed the world many times over and provide all the energy we need!

It’s time we say yes to caring and sharing and refuse to hate anymore!

Refuse to divide ourselves from the people, the animals and plants and all of life because our fates are bound up together in each other and we know to see ourselves as separate is folly and illusion!

I see the people waking up again as we always do.

I see the people rising like the tides that will rise with the changing climate and that gives me tremendous hope.

Share the hope!

Share the love!
Reach out to others and let us use our voices to evoke empathy in all of those who can hear us.

Let us speak not just because we can convince others to see our way but because speaking about kindness, compassion and living in harmony with our Earth is who we are as people!

Speak not just to make others change their thinking and agree with us but speak so others can see that we live our lives as loving compassionate ethical people and in seeing us speak out for kindness and justice take courage from that!

Each one of us is a light and we shine brightest when we speak, write, sing, and act out for compassion, justice and kindness towards our brothers and sisters. We add more light into the world so others can see that we are all in this together walking beside each other on our paths of discovery and growth.

Let us unite in the purpose of building a way of life in harmony with each other with our goal to achieve more health not more wealth, stronger communities not bigger corporations.

The real dividends in life comes not from stocks by from how we touch each others hearts and make life more meaningful. The real wealth is not what we take from others but is what we share with the world because this world is not here for the taking, it’s here for the sharing.

Look to your left and your right

My best conclusion at this time is that the more we look to others to fix the government or solve our problems or even try to do so the more we give away our power.

People expect help from above beit from politicians in high office or God.. it’s not coming. We have to look beside us to our brothers & sisters.

There are more people who did not vote than those who did in this last election. In fact over 2/3rds of the nation opted out of what’s left of our own Democracy by not voting last night! Most on both sides the left and right are dissatisfied with both the Republican and Democratic parties which are the only parties we are given to vote for because they have monopolized our Republic. More people register now as Independents than either of the two parties as a show of distrust and disgust in the dysfunctional two party system.

People mostly want their lives to get better, not be so difficult all the time and so stressful. People want to be able to afford to live, really live our lives with our loved ones and spend time living life instead of working ourselves to death. We want our kids to have good schools and good health care and to be safe. We want our drinking water to be clean and safe and our roads not to damage our cars when we drive on them. We want our kids to go to college and not be shackled with debt for years to come and to have good jobs that make them happy. We all want to be able to afford to buy milk, eggs and gas to put in our cars and have a fee bucks left over to see a movie or take a family vacation. These things are not Democratic or Republican things, it’s just human being things.

I think it’s going to take us working together as human beings, as neighbors to fix what’s wrong with our country and our government and it won’t be done by politicians making or repealing any laws. Once we increase the time we spending meeting our neighbors and working together in our communities to create sustainable solutions for our common problems we will expand the circles of empathy necessary to have a properly functioning Democratic Republic that caters to the greater good rather than the greatest greed.

Many registered Democrats don’t vote in part because the Democrats who run do so in ways that don’t differentiate themselves very much from the Republicans. So if both parties appear captured by the corporate special interests and out of touch with real life and our real life struggles then they feel and perhaps rightly so why show up to vote at all? A lot of Republicans who voted were unhappy with the Republicans in power but still thought they were more like them and voted for them.

We don’t get to pick our candidates anymore and they are supposed to come from us so they can be for us. The 1% picks them by funding their elections because it takes millions of dollars to afford television ads to run.  Who has millions of dollars? It’s not you and me that’s for sure. So who designs the campaigns for these candidates? It is usually expensive campaign consultants who almost always also have corporate clients they manage and do not want to see laws advocated for that would alienate their corporate rich clients.

So, in my humble opinion, if we are to wrest the government back from the few back to the many then the many need to stop expecting the political parties to do our work for us by picking our candidates and getting them elected. We have to be more willing to stand up, stand together and to solve our problems one street at a time. We must get together wherever we live and help educate our neighbors and friends about the issues we care about because education is not just a path to better jobs but to doing a better job at running a fair and just society. We need to help each other learn about how our government works and who is elected in our area and how to communicate with and pressure them when they are otherwise pressured by their donors. We must become citizen activists educators because the people who are trying to exploit us are using network TV like FOX, CNN and others to mislead and frighten the masses who are poorly educated to begin with.

Once we form a new decentralized local people powered movement to educate each other, and give our neighbors a voice in rebuilding our nation community by community, people will understand why voting is vitally important and will vote.

We will find and promote candidates from our midsts who really understand our needs, our struggles and our priorities and we will elect them not because we can buy more TV commercials but because we have invested our time in building our communities with them.

Once we give people a voice. Once we create more empathy by helping people around us in need and just meeting each other face to face people will vote in ways that empower ourselves and not vote out of fear which is what happened last night. So the key is to start today. To create new community based groups for the purpose of mutual support and education. To do our jobs as citizens of which voting is only a small part.

That’s how I see it. The change must come from us and not from political parties or big business corporate organizations and candidates. We must fix our own problems together. Until that happens we are not victims but volunteers for our own exploitation. Let’s celebrate our citizenship and build a brighter future for all of our people