At the Gettysburg address, Lincoln declared “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Has this turned into “of the special interests, by the special interests, for the special interests?” How can democracy work with capitalism in a way that does not foster corruption?
Our news sources are driven by profits, often at the expense of truth or objectivity. The distributors of “news” benefit greatly from two opposite sides talking about opposing viewpoints often without listening to the other. The closer the balance of power and the farther apart the viewpoints, the greater the stakes for viewers, readers, and consumers, leading to more advertising revenues. [sarcasm on] It is nice to notice that a species as collectively smart as humans is not easily manipulated. [sarcasm off]
Insurance companies derive their profits by acting as a wedge between consumer and provider of medical services. When I look at a “statement of benefits” from my insurance company, I am appalled. How can I feel good about services that cost a few dollars to provide, which are then marked up several hundred dollars so that they can be discounted a few hundred dollars and I can feel good that I paid a few dollars for the services. The write-offs can be accumulated towards a “tax break”. In the meantime, the profit margin of the insurance companies exists entirely between the gap they create by giving less to the providers and charging more for the policies. I think that we all can align on health care being affordable for all; no one should die or suffer because they can’t afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. That is the commitment we can align on.
How can we get back to what matters? What matters is that we explore what we are authentically committed to. When that commitment is clear, all roads will lead to the realization of that commitment as an outcome. That is the kind of vision that can create a future more in line with our potential.
I think so, anyway.
In the day of Corporate Personhood, what is the probable future of “representation without taxation”? When elections cost so much, do our politicians really represent the people or the highest bidder? What is the real agenda and commitment of a politician?
“We are a nation confounded by predicaments, and predicaments do not have solutions. They require transformations.” -Caroline Myss
I love the works of Caroline Myss. Her article here addresses a political status quo that shows up as the “impending government shutdown”, health care debate, and so many other of our political predicaments. It will be nice when we can listen to each other and put aside our smaller viewpoints for the larger good of our country and our world. At the moment, the only clear winners are corporations, media and insurance companies. We all could flourish by aligning on the points we agree on rather than on our differences.
The following is an excerpt from an article by Caroline Myss “Vision Testing Time for Congress” written last summer. I find it still right on target . . .
“In short, they have an extraordinary aptitude for failing to consider the long range consequences of any of their present day decisions. Worse, they show an absolute lack of any ability to envision ways of working through their own small-mindedness in order to jump-start America’s entrepreneurial engine.”
The Declaration of Independence is an interesting read in the context of current events. Who or what is the contemporary equivalent of the King of Great Britain; who or what is the modern day tyrant? I have included the text of the Declaration of Independence below.
Declaration of Independence
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. –Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
Please add your view of this below . . .