Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Lobbying

A big chunk of my life has engaged me as a citizen lobbyist. Because I was expelled for long hair, I spent what would have been my junior year in high school in the Montana State Legislature. It was very empowering. I learned that one voice speaking truth can accomplish a lot. To this day I contact my representatives at every level of government frequently.

But I have no hope for a benevolent government that solves our problems. It will take every ounce of energy just to limit the federal government from becoming even more oppressive. Our Congress, supported by Presidents of both parties has doubled the national debt with unconscionable giveaways to corporate fat cats. We have a greater percentage of our population behind bars than any other society. Our military occupies more than half the countries on earth and threatens the others. We keep paying more and more to a system that actively recruits its own enemies before torturing and killing them and any innocent who gets in the way.

Even our state governments are composed of the best politicians that money can buy. The divide and conquer, two party system has us fighting tooth and nail over who can marry, while there's barely a word about gutting effective social programs and building more prisons. Perhaps some day we can retake state institutions with democratic action, but we'll have to learn a new way to play the game first. Politics as usual will only make the situation worse.

My greatest hope for the radical governmental reforms we need rest at the most local levels. We can build a multiparty democracy from the grassroots by restructuring local governments. When the City Council is elected by Proportional Representation and the County Executive chosen through Ranked Preference Voting, we'll be setting a good example for surrounding communities. Any jurisdiction has the authority to require broadcasters, including cable TV, to provide free, equal air time to every candidate who qualifies by collecting voters' signatures.

When it comes down to it, good government has to be based upon free choices of individual citizens. No benevolent patriarchal system will enforce good behavior without corrupting into an oppressive autocracy. As a community, we can democratically decide how we will empower people to do the right thing. By teaching effective nonviolent techniques, we can encourage every person to behave in a way that supports the community upon which we all depend. This normal healthy behavior has been modeled in indigenous communities around the world.

So this is my litmus test for social change proposals. Does it recognize the healthy flow of power from diverse individuals? Does it empower good behavior? I will not support top down, force fed solutions. I will not pay taxes to governments that work that way. I will not work for nor buy from corporations that support a corrupt hierarchy. My energy will go into worthwhile empowering projects at the local level. I hope you can say the same.

1 Comments:

Blogger anarkus said...

Word Vernon, word.
Want legislation written by and for humans?
Vote with the party that takes no corporate money; see http://gp.org

Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 8:23:00 PM PST  

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