New Culture, New Constitution, New Everything
North, Central, and South America were named after Amerigo Vespucci. In "Letter to Lorenzo de' Medici,"  Amerigo Vespucci describes the New World. Lorenzo de' Medici is a member of the Medici family, a stupendously wealthy family of bankers and importers, who ruled the city of Florence, Italy for most of the 1400s. The Medici family's patronage of the arts promoted the Renaissance by sponsoring many of the most significant artistic achievements. They also gave financial loans to the Church. Moreover, in 1513, another Medici, Giovanni de' Medici, became Pope Leo X, which shows how influential and powerful this family was. 
Amerigo Vespucci referred to Lorenzo de' Medici as "Your Excellency." He told Lorenzo how he and his crew in the Americas discovered "a very large village, the houses of which were built over the sea, like Venice with much ingenuity. While we were struck with admiration at this circumstance, we determined to go see them; and as we went to their houses, they attempted to prevent our entering. They found out at last the manner in which the sword cuts, and thought it best to let us enter." The document also mentions that after entering, Amerigo Vespucci and his crew took a great quantity of cotton and dye-wood and returned to the ships.  Apparently their religious motto of "do unto others, as you would have them do unto you" does not apply when the others are considered to be subhuman savages.
Niccolo Machiavelli was famous for writing the book The Prince which gave advice to political leaders of Florence that they must be ruthless, expedient, strong, and clever. He also said, "It's better for a ruler to be feared than loved." The Prince is a treatise explaining how to gain and hold absolute political power. Machiavelli dedicated The Prince to Giuliano de' Medici, another member of the Medici family. 
If we examine the Middle Ages, as a contrast to the Renaissance period, the perfect ruler was Louis IX of France who was so virtuous that he was made a saint. But with the Renaissance, men like Cosimo de' Medici and Cezare Borgia took power boldly. It was considered a realistic politics that often meant a brutal disregard for ethics. 
In A People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn on page 1 mentions that Columbus wrote "They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane...They would make fine servants." On page 2 of the People's History, it mentions that Columbus wrote, "As soon as I arrived in the Indies on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts." 
The Medici family, Machiavelli, and Columbus represent the foundation and mentality upon which our nation and culture were built. You could also say that our oligarchical founding fathers imbued this same commercial spirit of capitalistic enterprise. The Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Dias explained the purposes that drove men to sail their ships across uncharted oceans: "To serve God and the King, to give light to those who are in darkness, and to grow rich, as all men desire to do." 
Even today many people have the false hope that becoming rich is what will make them happy and fulfilled. It is hard to fathom that the world's billionaires do not seem troubled by the fact that half the world lives on less than $5.50 per day, according to the World Bank . Many people aspiring to be millionaires and billionaires themselves see no justification in taxing the super rich at a higher rate. Considering the needs of the planet and the rest of the world, I think the ratio of rich to poor annual incomes should be about 10:1, which means that any income above $120,000 would be taxed at 100 percent, based on the lowest wage being $15 per hour, about $30,000 a year . Moreover, everyone above the age of 18 could be guaranteed a basic annual income of $12,000 per year. Reducing military spending by 90 percent would allow us to use tax revenues in a more humanistic way. After other nations reciprocate, we can reduce it even more. I believe the other nations would reciprocate. It is the United States that is promoting and accelerating the outrageous military spending race because the United States is an Empire that is trying to control and dominate every region of the world!
Instead of creating a survival-of-the-fittest, dog-eat-dog society, we can create a civilization that fosters cooperation and altruism. If someone has the entrepreneurial skill of making a lot of money, that skill and motivation could be redirected and channeled into making the local community and the world a better place. In a materialistic culture, the more we give, the less we have; it is a win-lose relationship. However, in an altruistic culture, the more we give the more we have; it is a win-win relationship. Children learn what they live. We can teach different values to our children.
Today, as some of us complain about the never ending wars, a cursory study of history reveals that there have been many, many territorial and religious wars for very selfish and foolish reasons. Throughout history, in every age, there has been a small ruling class that has exploited the masses through the forces of hierarchy and domination.
Some would argue that the wars and hierarchical control are both just expressions of human nature, but you can also argue that humans just took a major wrong turn in the history of our so-called "civilization." We could have built a culture based on cooperation and sharing rather than competition and greed. We could have built our culture from the bottom-up , rather than from the top-down. Even non-Western cultures and some primitive cultures have had their share of social problems, but now we know so much more. We should be able to learn from history.
In hindsight, we must realize that we can still work to reverse the 9 social sins that have developed in the West, and especially in the United States: imperialism, nationalism, racism, corporate capitalism, anti-environmentalism, speciesism, materialism, patriarchalism, and the discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Some of us are sickened by the never-ending wars of our national leaders who wreak havoc on the world--though few average Americans seem to be aware of it or troubled by it. Moreover, some of us no longer feel comfortable saying the "Pledge of Allegiance," even though we deeply care about the other people who share this land.
To create a new culture, we have to have a democratic constitutional convention to create a new constitution. But how do we select the delegates for this constitutional convention? Our current federal and state legislators or their chosen representatives should not be the delegates. That is the main reason most people are fearful of a constitutional convention: they do not trust our current leaders. But a more democratic, bottom-up approach to having a constitutional convention would be to have the delegates come from the largest national political parties, as determined by proportional representation. This method would not create a new government that inherently favors the left or the right. However, in time, if either the left or the right attracts more people into their fold through persuasion and argument once the playing field has been completely leveled, so be it.
A new culture and a new constitution created through a maximum level of democracy will not create an ideal society at first, considering all the pejorative influences of the last 5,000 years, but in time our society can gradually get better. Moreover, we can become collectively wiser if we create a constitution that makes it much easier to create new laws, new amendments, and new future constitutions in a democratic and fair way.
Through the scientific studies of consciousness and meditation and the mounting evidence about Near Death Experiences and the New Physics which bridges science and spirituality, and through new research into ayahuasca as a form of therapy for problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which used to be called "shell shock"--all of the above can help us realize that we are one--we are interrelated ecologically and spiritually--one earth, one world, one humanity. We are all connected to the Source Energy at the deepest level of our being, which may be the same Source Energy that created the universe.
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