Why bother to vote?! Why bother to vote when Congress is not listening to We the People, nor is it working for the common good but rather for big money, special interest groups and super wealthy individuals. So voting doesn't appear to make any difference. About two-thirds of eligible voters feel that way and so they don't vote. But just imagine if those two-thirds did vote, and if they voted for candidates that would not take money from special interest groups. Can we not then imagine the restoration of a true democracy?
We can all see our political system is in crisis. Congress is in gridlock. This Red vs. Blue schoolyard game is dooming our democracy, and potentially much more than that. As many are saying, it’s time to pull on one rope. For example, did you know that 80% of us Americans (no matter our party affiliation or whether we consider ourselves liberal, progressive, conservative, or none of the above) think there is too much money in politics? So for starters, why not choose that rope to pull on? Get money out of politics.
There was a time when we thought all we needed to do to have a democracy was vote. Most of us didn’t do more than vote and trusted that our representatives were looking out for our common good. We trusted where we shouldn’t have. We didn’t realize, a) what democracy required, and b) how fragile it is when infiltrated and quietly attacked by big money interests. Most of us have now woken up to the reality that we do not have a democracy anymore. We have a plutocracy or a corporatocracy—government ruled by the wealthy—and this is an extremely hard pill to swallow. So it is no surprise that many have fallen for the promise of our president and his supporters in Congress that they will take care of us. Many are in denial because recognizing the truth is really really painful.
Why bother to vote? Here’s the alternative: If we’re willing to live with the current situation, which can be described as plutocracy or corporatocracy, we have to be willing to accept inadequate health care, voting districts drawn to guarantee partisan (Republican in most cases) dominance in elections, racial injustice, wealth inequality where the three richest people in America have more wealth the 50% of the population. We will continue to have poverty, lack of environmental protection, and an economic system that brings the highest return to existing wealth. Did you know that 10% of the population would be willing to trade in their right to vote for a living wage? (See this article by Frances Moore Lappe´). Our system cares more for a few people acquiring ever more power and money than about caring for people and the planet. As Wendell Berry says, "Our only real wealth is the health of our planet."
More and more people are aware of who and how our government is run. Many people dedicated to a true democracy are emerging and running for office in all levels of government—from school boards, county commissioners, mayors, state legislators and Congressional seats. Many are refusing to take special interest money and opting for public financing where available. And all over the country there are initiatives and ballot measures that will restore a true democracy: Anti-Corruption Acts, Fair and Clean Elections, new redistricting policies, voter rights.
If we want the Democracy Movement to continue to grow and take back our true democracy here is what we can do. In the immediate future we have midterm elections to focus on. We need to get Democrats back in control of Congress in this midterm election. Why? Because Democrats, far from being squeaky clean, are more likely to stand for and act on principles of democracy—fairness, equal rights and opportunities, the common good, environmental protections, caring and justice—than Republicans who now control our government and put profits over people and the Earth.
According to SwingLeft.org, the House will be decided by a small number (78) of Swing Districts, places where the last election was decided by a slim margin. Take a look at their website and if you are moved in any way to support this effort to put Democrats in control of the House I strongly urge you to do so.
Personally I'm not willing to give up my democracy to big money and special interests without a huge fight. What about you?
If we want to live in a democracy, we have to take responsibility for it. These are the words of a New Hampshire citizen joining with others to get money out of politics.
The first truth is that the liberty of the democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism—ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. FDR
Further Worthwhile Readngs and Good Lnks
As David Korten says in his article, Who Represents Us When Our Political Parties Represent Only Corporations? “President Trump’s unintended gift to the nation and the world may be to awaken us to the reality that, far from being the global model for democracy and a community-centric market economy, the United States’ political system is fundamentally corrupt and destructive to the common good.”
"It is very hard to see us fixing the climate until we fix our democracy." These are the words of Dr. James Hansen, former NASA climate scientist in a New York Times article.
These are both outstanding, clear guides to restoring our democracy.
Daring Democracy; Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, by Frances Moore Lappe´ and Adam Eichen.
Breaking Big Money's Grip on America; Working Together to Revive Our Democracy, by Bruce Berlin.
SwingLeft.org: Find out here where to focus midterm support to elect Democrats.
Represent.Us: "Fixing Corruption Can Fix Everything." A non-partisan organization fighting corruption in America.
BrandNew Congress.org}: A great site that will tell you where campaign money is going to and whom it's from.
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