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My Prescription for America's Ailing Democracy

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Kathleen Bushman     Permalink
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View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H3 11/16/14

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From Sticker Art Aro Street 2012-03-04
Sticker Art Aro Street 2012-03-04
(image by tony.cairns)

Andrew Schmookler
in his OpEdNews piece, Can America Be Saved? Not If We're Blind to the One Force That Can Turn This Battle Around? of Nov. 13th asks if in the absence of progressive leadership in the White House " Is there some way that, even without the bully pulpit, we who are further down in the body politic" can find a leader or an idea which could inspire progressive change?"

I'm convinced there MUST be because,historically, genuine reform always stems from a grass-roots movement. Howard Zinn pointed out that while reform movements inevitably seem to begin as a fire in the grass-roots, though our political system has become adept at dampening such fires often by enacting legislation that is weakly worded, seldom enforced, almost immediately ignored and eventually rescinded.

Zinn used Anti-Trust legislation as an example of the fate of reform legislation, but the same could be said of banking regulations, and labor law. Perhaps we just need a political system that enables inspired leaders toemerge at a more local level since corruption seems to flow down hill and reform to begin in the valley.

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It has become painfully obvious, I think, that our government does not represent the majority of this country's citizens but instead represents the translational corporate interests which fund political campaigns. Just because our political system has legalized political bribery, does not mean the system isn't corrupt, so I wonder how anyone can still retain hope that there are very many prominent national politicians have any motive to alter the status go? Modern political parties, in fact, are designed to promote, and reward their best fund raisers which is why Joe Lieberman was endorsed by then Senators Obama and Hillary when heran as an Independent against the Democratic Party's own primary winner, Ned Lamont - a grass-roots upstart.

I personally view our federal system as irredeemably corrupt - it has become so adept at repressing, even criminalizing, any reform efforts among the populace: whistle blowers are prosecuted as neverbefore, while freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech are all in jeopardy.

I wonder if the scale of our political system isn't just too large to foster democracy since all large countries - Russia, China, and the United States - seem to generate stifling, unaccountable, and oppressive
political systems. I have begun to wonder if a smaller localized political system wouldn't facilitate direct democracy - and be less susceptible to corruption.

I thought my idea was a nearly unattainable ideal; at least I thought so until I read a headline this week, Mendocino County, CA. Makes History and Passes Law Establishing Local Self-Governance:

Yesterday, by a significant margin, they became the first county in California, and only the second county in the country to pass into law a very powerful local ordinance that declares local self-governing rights in their communities over state and federal jurisdiction. Over 67% of the votes cast were in favor of the measure.

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The ordinance provides for waters free from toxic trespass; preemptively bans all fracking activities countywide with heavy fines and penalties for violation of the ordinance; and establishes a Community Bill of Rights to, for, and by the residents of Mendocino County while checking corporate powers as well.

In addition, the newly created law gives the Rights of Nature to exist and flourish without toxic trespass whereas previously Nature had no standing in the court of law.

I have hope now that this measure could be a precursor of many more to come. Maybe a grassroots fire has already been ignited and this measure is just a presursor of many more brush fires - too many
burning too brightly to be easily extinguished.


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I am a progressive,& an Oregon Progressive Party member who has become convinced we Americans have only ONE 2 faced War Party which typically offers us the choice of two mediocre candidates from which to choose. We Americans who supposedly (more...)

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