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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What Would it Take to Change America?

Lately I’ve been asking myself something.  What would it take to give control of the government back to the people?  What would have to happen before the vice-like grip of wealthy corporations would once again give way to the voice of the people?  Don’t get me wrong; I’m not anti-government, but like many Americans, I DO think that our government works more for the interests of corporations and party self-interest than the middle and lower classes.  So what would have to happen to change that so they’re doing what’s best for US again?

I think that trying to come up with specific strategies is the wrong way to go.  We need to ask a more general question.  We need to settle on what would have to happen to change the way Washington works.

The thing is, after thinking about it for a while, I think I know the answer but it’s nothing new.  One answer is national ballot initiatives.  America should at least be a Deliberative Democracy, because I’m not sure we can say we’re a Representative Democracy anymore.  As I’ve said before, many people in America don’t feel the government represents them anymore.  Maybe we should represent ourselves once in a while.  Let the whole country vote on a few things once every two or four years.  There’s actually a movement to make this happen, which I encourage you all to support.  Please visit http://ni4d.us/ to learn how you can support a national ballot initiative system.

Another thing that needs to happen to return power to the people is campaign finance reform.  I can’t stress this enough.  Nothing else gets done until CFR is fixed.  All those issues you care about – health care, taxes, defense, jobs, gay rights, whatever – none of that gets fixed until CFR is changed.  We need public financing for all our elections.  What we have now is a system of legalized bribery.  As long as corporations are considered people and money is considered speech (two things which ALSO need to change) it follows that the voice of the people will always be drowned out by the megaphone of Wall Street.

Incidentally, I’m not sure if this is really a game-changer or not, but I think we need to do away with electronic voting, too.  I don’t care how much easier it makes things, it also makes hacking and election theft easier.  Go back to paper and stay there.

Pardon me for being partisan, here, but another thing I think would have to happen is that we would have to change the minds of those who think that corporations SHOULD run the government.  Anti-government people seem to think that blood-thirsty, carnivorous business men SHOULD decide what’s best for them, for no reason I'll ever understand.  To do this, we would have to restore their faith in government, but I don’t think anything short of an act of God could accomplish that.  They’ve been so conditioned to fear government they can’t see that private industry can be as bad or worse.

The problem with these ideas is that -except for that last one -they have to go through Congress to be enacted and Congress damn sure isn’t going to pass anything that’s seriously going to upset the status quo.  How do we fix Congress when Congress has to approve of any solution we come up with?  There really isn’t a system for changing the way things are done that doesn’t depend on the people who can make the necessary changes going against their own interests.  There isn’t really a voice for the people if we want any radical changes made.  How do we get around the federal government to enact the changes we want?  Most of us don’t approve of the way things are done in Washington, but how do we change that?  They’re not gonna do it for us.

Please note that I am not now, nor would I ever, advocate a violent overthrow of the government.  I think a citizen uprising that involves the use of deadly force is, at the very least, to be avoided.  It’s not that I can’t imagine a situation where it might be called for, but for one thing, I think you lose at least some legitimacy by resorting to violence.  I don’t think the majority of the country is gonna back you up if you storm the halls of Congress with rifles in hand.  Second, I don’t think it would work anyway.  All the militia men in America couldn’t seize control of the federal government if they wanted to.  The federal government is better armed and better organized.  I don’t think a militia would be any match for them.  Just wanted to put that out there lest anybody accuse me of inciting anything.

So what do YOU think?  What would have to happen to return power to the people and cut the strings of Wall Street?  It’s clear that what we need are drastic changes and not the baby-step, piece-meal changes we usually get, but what would it take to make those changes happen?  Again, don’t think specific strategies.  First figure out what would have to happen for us to regain power.  Think of it like this; “For the American people to regain power over the federal government, A, B, and C would have to happen.”

Lemme know what you think, America.

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