This again builds on preceding articles, which outline my approach to community-based "regime change" activism. I recommend you read them first to fully appreciate what now follows here.
It's easy to get discouraged -- even become cynical -- when viewing our current electoral system. The news is highly sensationalized. Much coverage is quite superficial, focusing on human drama, scandal, who's up who's down, more resembling reporting of celebrity gossip and sports team rivalry than offering responsible perspectives on political matters.
Of course, the Democrats and Republicans are fine with this, neither truly committed to representing the needs and demands of the voting public. Anything which distracts us from realizing their indifference to the everyday citizen is to their benefit and welcomed. Along the same lines, they stubbornly prevent minor party candidates from participating in debates, guaranteeing the absence of fresh ideas or meaningful controversy. A genuine, thoughtful and rewarding national conversation about the challenges confronting both the country as a whole and us as individual citizens appears impossible in this environment.
But is it?
The whole point of this series of Putting Boots (Birkenstocks) on the Ground articles is that it is possible! But for it to happen we must rely on ourselves. The corporate media and our government are not going to lead this effort. In fact, those now in power will do everything to prevent a national conversation of substance from occurring, because it would threaten their privilege and primacy.
Do you think I'm exaggerating?
Just look at the news. Just look at our choices for president.
Clinton? Trump? Is this a bad joke or what?
Bernie Sanders offered a powerful vision and coherent plan for change, which is why he has been blown out of the water and is now fighting for a few bullet items on the Democratic platform. Jill Stein and Gary Johnson appear not to be raving lunatics, which in this election clearly disqualifies them from consideration.
Let's face it: To come up with a more extreme version of reality, we'd have to resort to reading Franz Kafka novels or watching Andy Warhol movies.
So with nothing better to do than shake my head at the absurdity of it all, I am with no irony or secret agenda trying to salvage something constructive out of this election ordeal. And I start by ignoring the entire presidential three-ring circus and focusing on the only political sphere which by any sensible analysis can make a difference come November.
There is no law -- not yet anyway -- against any of what I've proposed thus far.
We gauge community support and solicit voter endorsement on hot-button issues with citizen petition/pledges. This is grass-roots democracy in action.
Based on the (hopefully) substantial number of petition/pledges gathered, we formulate candidate contracts. All candidates running locally for a particular office are offered the opportunity to sign them. If possible, extending this offer should occur in a highly public forum -- a campaign rally, a town hall meeting, any public event or personal appearance where there are people and reporters.