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What Democracy Would Look Like If It Really Worked

A speech by Lloyd Marbet before The Spiritual City Club January 9, 2003
To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself. And a man who aspires after that cannot afford to keep out of any field of life. That is why my devotion to Truth has drawn me into the field of politics, and I can say without the slightest hesitation, and yet in all humility, that those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means.
- Mahatma Gandhi

There is an aphorism that I subscribe to: "Democracy is only as good as the people who get involved." If Democracy has any integrity, it is because each of us gives it integrity. If Democracy works, it is because "we the people" work at perfecting Democracy. It reflects our sacrifice. It rises to our level of compassion. It exhibits our courage. It dwells on those words contained in the Declaration of Independence, which I have deliberately taken the liberty of altering:

"We hold these truths to be self evident that all sentient beings 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 human beings, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed and the compassion of their stewardship. That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying it foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness embodied in reverence for life." (Underlined text added.)

These words are powerful: With the "consent of the governed" it is our right to change the way we would govern ourselves and even alter the words of the original agreement.

Democracy that works is always a work in progress, perfecting itself, enfranchising those who aspire to participate, extending democracy beyond its original boundaries. It is a bastion of learning, elevating conscience. Democracy that works embraces our future lovingly. It would follow the requirement from the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy:
"In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions upon the next seven generations."

This is a form of decision making embodying high aspirations. Imagine the impact it would have upon:

  • The "State of the Union;"
  • Foreign Policy
  • The world economy;
  • The promotion of justice and peace;
  • The biological integrity of life support systems;
  • The scope of concern for those we live with and those who will come after us: our children's children's children's children's children's children's children.

Democracy that works extends the miracle of life! This kind of Democracy reminds me of a poem by Robert Frost to which I have taken the liberty of changing its gender:

Escapist, never!
She is no fugitive, escaped, escaping.
No one has seen her stumble looking back.
Her fear is not behind her but beside her,
on either hand to guide her course perhaps.
She runs straight forward, she is a pursuer.
She seeks a seeker who in turn seeks
another still lost far into the distance.
Any who seek her seek in her the seeker.
Her life is a pursuit of a pursuit forever.
It is the future which creates her present.
All is an interminable chain of longing.

So how do we do we get to this democracy that works?" WE MUST EVOLVE INTO IT! WE MUST STRUGGLE TO CREATE IT! We must act on the warnings we have received from our ancestors, for these warnings are now the present state of our democracy:

Thomas Jefferson to George Logan, 1816:
I hope we shall... crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.

Alexis de Toqueville, "Democracy In America" 1835:
I am of the opinion, on the whole, that the manufacturing aristocracy which is growing up under our eyes is one of the harshest that ever existed in the world; but at the same time it is one of the most confined and least dangerous. Nevertheless, the friends of democracy should keep their eyes anxiously fixed in this direction; for if ever a permanent inequality of conditions and aristocracy again penetrates into the world, it may be predicted that this is the gate by which they will enter.

Abraham Lincoln, 1864:
I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country...Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.

Theodore Roosevelt, April 19, 1906:
Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.

Newton Minow, Former Federal Communications Commission chairman, 2000:
We've got a real irony here....We have politicians selling access to something we all own-our government. And then we have broadcasters selling access to something we all own-our airwaves. It's a terrible system.

ALL THESE VOICES AND MORE ARE BECOMING A CRESCENDOING ROAR FOR CHANGE

Consider how the following quotes apply to our time:

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
- Johan W. von Goethe

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
- George Orwell

I ask you to read these Books:
"UNEQUAL PROTECTION The Rise Of Corporate Dominance And The Theft Of Human Rights" by Thom Hartmann
"SELLING OUT How Big Corporate Money Buys Elections, Rams Through Legislation, And Betrays Our Democracy" by Mark Green

I ask you to get involved with Campaign Finance Reform In Oregon - Amending our State Constitution to, Banning Corporate contributions - Restricting Individual Contributions - Removing the Loopholes. Sign Up on Money Is Not Democracy's Signature Commitment Form and help us put this initiative on the ballot.

I ask you to get involved with the Oregon Public Power Coalition's PUD campaign to take over PGE. It needs 7100 valid signatures to make the ballot in Multnomah County. To account for an error rate of 20%, we must gather 8600 signatures. Currently we have 7600 signatures with the goal of filing by the end of January. We need your help. There are enough people in this room to make it happen. Imagine all the lives you touch and will touch as spiritual leaders.

Finally, I leave you with this warning from Mahatma Gandhi:

Things that will destroy us:
Politics without principles.
Pleasure without conscience.
Wealth without work.
Knowledge without character.
Business without morality.
Science without humanity
Worship without sacrifice.

-

I thank you for the honor of speaking before you today.

making people (not corporations) sovereign 11.Jan.2003 01:26

GRINGO STARS gringo_stars@attbi.com

Paul Cienfuegos is an activist with a keen sense of the way political power really works. I am convinced that, as far as reformist tactics go, taking power away from corporations and making people sovereigns is the best way to go. Corporate personhood must be reversed. Corporate free-speech should be outlawed as the false advertising that it is. There are numerous links to good articles concerning these valid tactics at Cienfuegos' site:

 http://www.monitor.net/democracyunlimited/

depthdipped basebreadthed staturesteeped now 11.Jan.2003 02:27

piet

The right wing argument often heard that lame spongers should get a job instead of expecting hard workers to subsidize their lazy ways is false.

It leaves out the classes of people not yet and no longer able to pull the cart.

If democracy would like to claim ability to sustain levels of productivity inclusive of the myriad of beings completely void of voice human or otherwise), iow, those that factually and numerically constitute the majority in the chain of beings we are at least as expendable from as we think others are, then consider this: google up poetpiet

And now, to the deeper causes of simpliduction to dominuisance issues

Circumcision is a very ancient mimic of magic menses, one of the first fraudulent and hostile take overs, archaic atavistic usurpations of the peculiarly feminine prerogative to bleed naturally followed by further tricks to control family ties, to tame and get women (possesed) and patriarchy off to a start.

Rather than stemming the already out of control differs creating yet beggaring at oneness illusion life's hilites that shatter and create identities.

Such shortsightedness took on a life of it's own, or rather that and those of others in that and in so far (very) as agression 'gan to become single most isolatory specialism. She knowed not to have it in her she can't owe up to putting it out there. All non-potty trainage to her, growed well over her head, enjoycing silence exile and cunning indeed.

Aren't we thus well on our way towards denuding motherhood? aren't we socializing into a central insectoid mass society that co-opts, concentrates and on the other hand still further disowns females from their fecundity. Ignorance of truly Maerthian magnitude must have triggered this blowback and ricochet of 'success'. And on and onwards does the hunt for security lead US to amass hysterical and fake fortifications.

The media are our collective conscience but a rock ain't necessarily in a state of rigor mortis very long, specially if it's already basking in the light of the sun; I for one am all for granting the lowliest states and classes of being some offspring; broaden thy base if you care to sport a backyard with some depth.

incomprehensible passage above improved 11.Jan.2003 04:09

piet

well,. . . slightly anyways


If democracy would like to claim ability to sustain levels of productivity (inclusive of the myriad of beings completely void of voice human or otherwise), iow, those that factually and numerically constitute the majority in the chain of beings that/from which we are at least as expendable as we all too often like to think others are, then consider this: google up poetpiet

And now, to the deeper causes of simpliduction to dominuisance issues

Circumcision is a very ancient mimic of magic menses, one of the first fraudulent and hostile take overs, archaic atavistic usurpations of the peculiarly feminine prerogative to bleed naturally followed by further tricks to control family ties, to tame and get women (possesed) and patriarchy off to a start. Unfortunately, not to stem but as it turns out aggravate the already out of control differs creating yet beggaring at oneness illusion, fixation on life's hilites, the ones that shatter and create identities, put under the bane of one taboo after another with the transitions being no less painfu than the cause for imposing them in the first placel.

Such shortsightedness took on a life of it's own, or rather that and those of others in so far (very) as agression 'gan to become single most isolatory specialism. She knowed not she had it in her, and then not to have it in her but she can't owe up to putting it out there let alone stop. At first it all seemed well worth the trouble and non-potty trainage to her at worst, and then growed well over her head, last we heard she and her gender enjoyce silence exile and cunning indeed.


that blurry lil' note gave me a headache 11.Jan.2003 05:33

circumscribe

And people still wonder why it was that males threw down the Goddess Cults and forbode shrieking, inchoherent women from direct participation in the political process. The joke was on them, and still is, by the way. Mommy teaches you and Wifey leads you around by the tip. Some things never change. Or are we mutating into the third age yet ?

Change or die. 11.Jan.2003 09:24

Makhno

Laws, laws, and more high priests. Governments will kill us all and murder the earth. Organise or you will have government.

A retort for the Right Wing 11.Jan.2003 15:47

FotW

When you hear the right wing argument that lame spongers should get a job instead of expecting hard workers to subsidize their lazy ways, point out the following. The unemployment rate is one of the most important economic factors for determining federal intrest rates. If unemployment gets very low, the intrest rates are raised until unemployment rises again. How can you demonize the unemployed in a country who's economic system guarantees that a certain percentage of its people will always be unemployed.

answer: 12.Jan.2003 01:20

no lefty

Answer: Your logic is flawed, and you are "splitting the premise", a long time leftist debate fallacy. Of course there should be a safety net in place for those unfortunates who fall on hard luck. But, the vast majority of welfare does indeed flow from the pockets of people who actually pay taxes, to the mouthes of people who do not, who have children that they are incapable of supporting, who make poor choices on how to spend the money that they do have, and who show absolutely no incentive towards changing their lives, in order to benefit corrupt Democrats who have never lived amongst the working classes they lionize, to guarantee the votes of these people, and thus political power.

It's ugly, it's painful, but it is a fact. And I'm no silver spoon, either. Believe me, I know how it feels to hate and be jealous of rich people. I come from a trailer park, was fed government cheese, and have been homeless. I eventually learned how to delay gratification, and now have a little money stored away for when the bad times inevitably come. It's not the grand overarching economic theory that I am emphasizing, but rather the personal responsibility and commmon sense. The "intrest" rates are a RESPONSE to a situation, and even part of the cycle you are pointing out, but not the cause. It's a non sequiter.

And, yes, a certian percentage of the population will always be unemployed. It is human nature. Many people are stupid and lazy, and politicians, both "left" and "right", realize this, and use it to great advantage. The only place in the world that has ever been brazen enough to claim that no one was unemployed there was the USSR, where the millions of people who luckily escaped cannibalism, slave labor, or industrial poisoning lived in total squalor and routinely drank cologne and mouthwash to dull the pain of moldy bread on an empty stomach. Hyperbole ? Talk to one of Portland's many Russian immigrants about Socialism and organized crime sometime. It's highly informative.