Say you want a revolution We better get on right away Well you get on your feet And out on the street Singing Power to the People --John Lennon
Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost. --John Quincy Adams
The founding fathers never intended for the US of A to be a true representative democracy. The Constitution (which we find ourselves in an odd position of having to defend, now) was written off the backs of black slaves and with the tears of such women as John Q's wife Abigail, a budding feminist, who pleaded with JQ to "remember the ladies" when writing the new code of law. The eventual "new code of law" excluded women entirely and counted slaves as "three-fifths" of a person in a compromise to guarantee ratification by the Southern States. The Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2) states that Treaties are the "Supreme law of the land" and the Federal Government broke every treaty ever signed with our indigenous populations. So are we surprised that BushCo has gotten away with breaking UN treaties and the Geneva Conventions?
Even white men without property could not vote under the original Constitution, so this nation has always been "by and for" the white male oligarchy. Populist movements have subsequently gained universal suffrage but only at great personal sacrifice to so many.
Even though we women, property-less white males, and people of color now have the "right" to vote and even hold high elected office, there is just an illusion of universality in our nation today. If anyone thinks that politicians truly cast their votes out of integrity and some kind of shared values and not with their own best interests at heart, there is some self-delusion happening there. We the People essentially have no power and no real say in how we are governed, how our tax money is spent, how our armed services are used, or even, essentially who we get to vote for. The primaries are just an exercise to see which candidate raises the most money and the corporate media follows that person and makes him/her the presumptive nominee before any American citizen even gets a chance to vote.
How do we change this paradigm in America?
In true populist fashion an election revolution must begin in this country. We must not "waste" our votes on candidates because of the "lesser of two evils" illogic. Voting for the LOTE is like saying to oneself: Should I vote for Satan or Beelzebub? Voting for a third party or Independent candidate that reflects your values not only allows you to hold your head high, but sends a message to the corrupt duopoly of Democrats and Republicans that We the People are deadly serious when we say that we want a nation that cares about its own citizens and has a system of checks and balances that truly reins in any facet of our government that grabs for power not guaranteed in the separation of powers of our Constitution.
We must have a people's referendum that changes our election laws. Again, we cannot wait for the fox to clean up the hen house. Election seasons must be shortened; maximum amounts that candidates can raise and spend must be set within moral and reasonable limits; instant runoff voting must be instituted; voting must be changed to weekends; and other electoral reforms must be implemented so candidates who truly care about elevating the human condition and our country can be viable against the oligarchy that has, for all intents and purposes, always won elections throughout our history. Each seat in Congress is treated as if it is a birthright and the presidency is auctioned off to the highest bidder.
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Our corporate media is being used as propaganda outlets for the established elite and have become false prophets and the "soma" (from Huxley's Brave New World) of our time. We get our dosage of some despicably biased news show, then we check-out on our "soma vacations" of American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, or Desperate Housewives. Twenty-four hour news cycles and inane "reality" programming have succeeded in keeping us dumb, numb and just plumb lazy. We need to get back to the days where news was news and "equal time" is guaranteed for all viewpoints, not just the singular viewpoints of war and supporting a dangerous imperial presidency.
If in the highly likely event that your Congress rep is failing at his/her job, run for office (requirements) against him/her, or support the candidacy of someone who is running that conforms to your beatitudes, not the beatitudes of the greedy and bloodthirsty oligarchy.
Finally, financially support populist candidates, like me, who will fight to put the power back into the hands of the people where it belongs. When the power is spread horizontally, the burden lightens and we will mirror true American values of generosity, integrity and honesty, reflected for the entire world to see.
You know you have those values. Now use your power to force your employees in Congress to have them, too.
Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is a co-founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace and the author of two books: Not One More Mother's Child and Dear President Bush.