Hope In the Form of Meritocracy
"(A corporation has) neither body to jail nor soul to damn." - Lord Edward Thurlow
"Corporations, which previously had been considered artificial entities with no rights, were accorded all the rights of persons, and far more, since they are "immortal persons", and "persons" of extraordinary wealth and power. Furthermore, they were no longer bound to the specific purposes designated by State charter, but could act as they choose, with few constraints." Noam Chomsky
America is broken: Our public schools are broken, our military apparatus is broken, and our infrastructure is broken. "We the people" are currently besieged by a government that has found "reason" in a policy to torture enemy combatants, to suspend habeas corpus, to misrepresent information to its citizens for purposes of invading sovereign states, to tap the phones and read the private emails of its citizens without any oversight and to abuse long-standing relationships with foreign powers. It has found "reason" in a policy that violates sacred contracts between it and those who have taken an oath and put their lives on the line in its service. It has found "reason" in a policy that dispenses with any concrete notion of the rule of law and the universal equity of justice. It has failed to regulate and make accountable the corporate domination of America's resources; corporations whose sole purpose is to fill their own coffers and reward the few at the expense of the many by an ongoing, perpetual acquisition and depletion of any and all of America's valuables. It has dispensed with the most noble of its institutions and ambitions and traded these for indifference and worse. It has allowed its citizens to languish and die in disaster and the needless combat of an ill-advised occupation; and done so brazenly in the eyes of the whole world; its indifference turned to contempt. America is broken and must be fixed.
By now, most of us are aware of our situation. We realize that the environment is in peril. We know our interests have been betrayed. We know that our military is strained and that those who have served have been deprived of their promised benefits on one hand while being retained past their initial obligation on the other. We know that when, for decade after decade, we dump pesticides, mercury and sewage in our streams, rivers, lakes and oceans the water will eventually become unsuitable to drink or sustain life. We know that making people live in housing projects full of asbestos doesn't look after their health and welfare. We are aware of our addiction to oil and that it will eventually run out. We know that we can do better and that we MUST do better.
We know what the problems are, but how are we going to fix them? Obviously we're going to have to do something different than we've already been doing. We're going to have to CHANGE and so we have to let go of fears, attachments, prejudices, old grudges and habits if we are to survive, much less flourish. We cannot cling to our old ways and expect something new or better to come of it. We can't leave tomorrow to chance or indifference and think that our lives will be improved as a result.
Barack Obama's solution calls for implementing the concept of the meritocracy as a fundamental tool in rebuilding America. He has called it an "all hands on deck" approach; everyone working together on our collective concerns and this has been the approach of his campaign. The results, so far, bear testament to the success of this principle that he intends to implement on the national level. His campaign invites direct participation and discussion via the fantastic technologies we have available to us and it responds. It is the first presidential campaign in history to take full advantage of the internet, and viral video & messaging technologies, and has done so by integrating them in an organic, synergistic framework. The first American Revolution wouldn't have worked without the communicating power of the printing press. What type of Cultural Revolution is possible with a communicating technology far more powerful and accessible than the press?
His campaign creates opportunity for those who work to implement its collective focus and goals. This is what he wants to do on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis all across this country: reward effort and achievement and so nudge people toward improving their own lives. This is the effect of good old fashioned inspiration. Barack Obama's achievements have demonstrated that he understands better than many: any accomplishment rest on two things: inspiration and perspiration. This is how ordinary people achieve extraordinary accomplishments.
History is full of examples of Governments' attempts to force "change" from the top down and the failures have been amply demonstrated. Threats to cut off funding to pressure individuals or organizations to meet excessive and often-times unrealistic requirements evokes an atmosphere of stress. A pre-determined punitive stance is, more often than not, met with resistance, fear, and discontent. Incentives and inspiration cause people to reach upward, and as each person rises, so does the whole. Rewarding individuals for their achievements encourages them toward a better life for themselves and thus the whole. Giving them clearly defined goals to reach for builds a ladder of opportunity; acknowledgment of their accomplishments inflames their desire to do even more. Others, who bear witness to this are then inspired and the positive effects becomes viral and spread exponentially.
America is broken and must be fixed.