[image courtesy of GeekPhilosopher.com]
I, like so many of us, have been watching the Washington melodrama very closely of late, especially as our elected representatives continue to stumble their way around on critical matters ranging from healthcare to cap and trade, from the bailout of our financial sector to the flaws in our homeland security. And each day I become more amazed and disheartened that we have arrived at this sorry time in our history when a relatively few, self-focused souls of questionable intelligence and even more questionable values have come to control the destiny, the rights and needs of the many. Indeed, I believe that what I am witnessing today is the state of affairs Thomas Jefferson warned us about so long ago.
“Once the people become inattentive to the public affairs,” Jefferson said, “you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors shall all become wolves.”
So welcome to The Day of The Wolf! It is a sad and inglorious time for our nation, and yet there are, in my opinion, at least a few signs that not all is lost. In fact, we the people may actually be waking up from some our ‘inattention to public affairs.’ For example, I received an email from a friend the other day who – along with others – is advancing an idea that is simple, but very powerful and it demonstrates that there are – and always have been – numerous ways in which we can reclaim power over our own destiny, re-enfranchise the will of the many and disenfranchise these relative few individuals of limited intelligence and questionable values who have forgotten that their power in not a ‘divine right’ nor was it ever granted to them so that they can abuse and distort the public good.
In this case the idea is that as many of us as possible should either threaten to take or actually take our personal money out of the large banks – the banks that claim they are too big to fail; the banks that are continuing to use our tax dollars and our personal savings to play high risk derivative poker; the banks that are still paying their executives absurdly high salaries and bonuses; the banks that are still refusing to lend ordinary people and small businesses the money they need to operate; the banks that are still charging exorbitant rates for credit cards balances, cash withdrawals and other services – and we should put this personal money in local banks and credit unions.
Terrific idea! If supported by enough individuals this local banking initiative can certainly get the attention of executives in the financial industry and legislators in Washington who still believe they are bullet proof. Might even bring one or more of these ‘too big to fail’ institutions to their knees and knees, as you may remember, are those parts of the body we employ when we pray and give homage to the sacred and to those we love.
It also points the way to a number of other things we, the people, can do to take our power back. Here are a few recommendations I discuss in much greater depth in my book, I Dream Of A New America, Keys To Reclaiming The Heart and Soul of Our Nation, Bridger House Publishers, 2008.
- Show those on both sides of the aisle who are intellectually and humanistically challenged the door as quickly and expeditiously as possible through elections, recalls and impeachments.
- Require people who run for office to take basic background checks as well as both standard and emotional intelligence tests and ensure that the results are made public.
- Stop contributing to all political parties until or unless they start being responsive to the will of the people.
- Boycott daily newspapers, television and radio news programs, blogs and other information sources (one day at a time) until the publishers, editors, commentators and writers start demonstrating responsible, accurate, honest, in-depth and unbiased reporting.
- Eliminate special interest money from politics, ban professional lobbying and impose limits on campaign lengths and spending.
- Only spend money on products and services that support the well-being of this nation and our people.
- Strictly enforce the separation of church and state by precluding church leaders from meddling in politics and revoking their non-profit and tax exempt status if they fail to comply.
- Revisit our systems of checks and balances by eliminating all lifetime appointments (especially judicial), requiring member of Congress to be subject to all of the same laws which apply to the people, and revisiting the rules governing both houses of Congress and role of the President to determine if their or his job is too complex.
- Utilize general strikes (one day at a time) as a means of getting the attention of those who believe they are only subject to the will of the voters during election cycles.
- Execute tax withholding revolts during which taxes are paid into an escrow accounts until and unless the will of the people is dutifully executed.
These are just a few of the ways, similar in intent and strategy to the threat of transferring of funds from the large to local banks.
I believe that exercising these rights will allow us to take back control over our political destiny. I also believe these actions will help us to remember that it is our responsibility to stay awake and to pay close and careful attention to those to whom we delegate the right to represent us. I believe we should never stop exercising these and other rights and strategies and that we should be certain the folks we send to Washington and other state and local seats of government remember that they serve at our pleasure and for the purpose of serving the greater good.