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!
- 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!
- 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. http://www.peachsuite.com/101820/welspun-usa-standard-white-pillowcase-42-x-36-t-200-wstd2-01 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Visit http://represent.us and get involved in getting Big Money out of our politics today!