Broken – In Many Ways
Are We Ready To Exercise Our Authority
We are watching. The many abuses we all see in government and society will only be addressed when people of like mind unite, act politically, and speak out against injustice and lack of integrity. Because some Congressmen favor the perpetuation of their own power over the needs of the people, we need demonstrate that the people are ready to wield their power, and insist on better behavior and cooperation from their elected officials. The discordant behavior of our national legislature has proved to be the opposite of statesmanship, earning a high of 20 percent approval, and a low at 10 percent. We expect more and will submit our agenda for you to accomplish.
Founders Bound By Their Time And Their Vision
America’s power structure failings are certainly a foreseen and unforeseen consequence in the design of our government. Not one of the 2.5 million people who lived in the 13 Colonies at the signing of the Declaration of Independence could have foreseen today’s society of 326 million people. Our Founders could only see society from their level, and that included a country that enslaved people for convenience and commercial benefit. Twelve of our Presidents owned slaves, most while they held office.
They could only travel and communicate at the speed of a horse. Information could only be spread by newspaper, letter or public lecturers. The only government they knew was a monarchy. To study anything, they had to visit the closest library.
We Have To See Where We Have Been, To Plot A Course Forward
The Constitution did not contain any provision for voting. That was left to the states, and they, with a few exceptions, thought that only men who owned land should vote. This was also true of the best documented Democracy in Athens, Greece, formed over 100 years in the late and early 500s BC. With about 250 thousand people in Athens, only 30 to 50 thousand men landowners were allowed to vote, and of those, only about 6,000 attended the government sessions and voted. Our Founders probably followed this example and certainly did not think every citizen was equal or that every citizen should vote, despite Jefferson’s words in the Declaration of Independence that: “All Men Are Created Equal.” Our government excluded blacks, American Indians, women, and other minorities from voting and from participating in government for a very long time. And even after minorities, not women, were given the vote, some states held “all white” primaries, had literacy requirements, poll taxes, and outright intimidation to stop minority voting. The NAACP has the horific number of lynchings in the United States at 4,743.
Our Founders only thought that only members of the U.S. House Of Representatives should be elected by the people. Until 1913, U.S. Senators were selected by state legislators. At our founding no one really knew what a Democratic Republic should be or how many rights should be given. But now we know that government should be in the hands of all the people.
People’s Rights Were A Long Time Coming
The first woman elected to the U.S. House Of Representative did not happen until 1916, 140 years after our Declaration of Independence. American tradition has been to suppress the vote, and it still has sway in some states today and with gerrymandering in others – by Republicans and Democrats. It took 189 years after the Declaration of Independence before the passage of the voting rights act that attempted to prevent voting discrimination. Recently I came across a chart tracking the percentage of the U.S. population allowed to vote for President. It showed that 5 percent was reached 50 years after the Declaration of Independence.
Lying And Deception Is The Death Knell Of Democracy
Lying in the circles of power is nothing new. It may have reached a new height in the current administration, but it is a long tradition that is even described as a political skill called spinning. Democracy is wounded with each lie. Courts have instituted penalties for lying under oath. There are penalties for lying to Congress, but not for Congress lying to us. It would serve good governance if there were penalties for Congressional and Presidential lying, maybe a $20,000 fine and 2 days of community service for each lie.
The Amount Of Money In Politics Is Out Of Control
Money and Influence Peddling are driving our political system, not the high aspirations of President Abraham Lincoln for a government “of the people, by the people, for the people,” and not by the ideals expressed by President Jefferson when he wrote,
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,…” It’s likely that a higher percent of our population believes in these words today than at any time in the past, but certainly not everyone.
$6 Billion dollars is spent during a typical General Election for President and Congress in the U.S. In 2012 in England, with a population 1/4 the size of the U.S., they spent 120 times less, with over 600 candidates in their general election. We could act responsibly like England and cut this amount, by 100, to $60 million.
Between $3 and $3.5 Billion dollars is spent yearly by lobbying groups in the U.S., mostly to influence Government policy and voting. A good number to limit this obscene amount to might be $50 million. Often there is a revolving door between government service and working for industry. There should be better rules established here. Sometimes Industry Groups actually write legislation. Not many people would think this is a good idea for the people’s government. If Congress needs help writing legislation, let the people establish a legal team to provide assistance.
The job falls to us, there is no one else, to claw back power on behalf of all our people. Join us and lend your helping hand.