Free Your Mind!
The Founding Fathers didn't pull any punches when it came to calling out corruption and coercion caused by organizations pretending to have their voters' needs in mind while craving more power and wealth for themselves.
George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson disapproved of political parties, especially a system built around two major parties.
In his Farewell Address, Washington referred to, “The alternate domination of one faction over another" as a “frightful despotism.” Adams said, “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties… This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”
Jefferson went beyond a mild dislike of political parties. He held them in outright contempt: “If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”
Yeow! I wonder, if we hooked a turbine up to George, John and Tom in their graves, could we power a city with the power generated by their spinning?
Are they blind or simply deluded? No one takes Civics classes in high school anymore, obviously, but it can't be the only reason we have so many minds enslaved to this limiting and destructive philosophy. It just can't be.
Why are so many convinced this myth is true--along with the myth of voting for one candidate will somehow elect another one? Have these misguided voters deliberately locked their common sense away to keep their conscious mind from realizing they've been duped? Is the psychic pain so great they've willingly laid down their power of the vote and freely given it over to untrustworthy and undeserving individuals?
It's time to break free, people! We must break the chains that enslave us to a corrupt and broken system. Free our minds and use our votes to empower a true democracy, free from the influences of private corporations and their bribed lackeys, free from the one establishment party masquerading as two.
It reminds me of the chorus of a popular song: "Free your mind and the rest will follow." In order to see positive change in our society, we must think positive and break the chains of ignorance, myth and superstition.
In other words, first we'll have to resurrect good ol' common sense. Bern Notice reminds us what another famous Founding Father had to say about it.
Common Sense 2.0
by Bern Notice
Common Sense was a book written by Thomas Paine in 1776. US History.org describes it:
"Common Sense challenged the authority of the British government and the royal monarchy. The plain language that Paine used spoke to the common people of America and was the first work to openly ask for independence from Great Britain."
More than 200 years later the United States is no longer a colony to England. However, everyday voters have been subservient to the two big parties. It may be time to resurrect and update Common Sense for the 21st century. This will not be written to advocate for war, but to advocate for reform in the political process. It will be far from a literary masterpiece, but why not have a little fun with it?
Common Sense 2.0
The current state of affairs in modern politics is reflective of a truly corrupt institution. Lobbyists and multimillionaires get policy that is to their benefit. Politicians and other elitists are not accountable to the laws that they create. This is unconscionable.
Yet many are willing to allow those whom are appointed to political office to ignore our needs. We, the millions of working class citizens of The United States must demand reform and redress to the following grievances:
One: Overturn Citizens United and reduce the influence of money in politics. It
is one thing to accept money to win a nomination. It is quite another to be a slave to it. When the influence of money grows so great, as it has, that it makes public servant serve private interests instead, then this is neither a truly representative republic nor a democracy.
Two: End the two party stranglehold on the political system. We live in a nation of over 320 million people. 42% of voters in the U.S. identify as independent. This is a sizable chunk of the voting population. Roughly 30% identify as Democrat. 26% identify as Republican. This is not a nation that simply has two viewpoints. With that being the case, why do we insist on holding on the archaic two party model when it is reasonably clear that there are a number of citizens that want another option?
The UK and Canada have a number of political parties with representation in the government, and the world has not come to an end. Why must we settle for two?
Three: Equal justice under the law is paramount to a civilized society. When
politicians and billionaires get away with crimes that your average citizen would be crucified for, we have lost control of our society. When police kill a citizen when the subject has been neutralized, regardless of ethnicity or gender, there need to be held accountable and face consequences for their actions. We cannot permit a two tiered justice system.
Four: There must be time allocated on the public airways for journalism that informs and educates. There is a vast difference between journalism and infotainment. Journalism documents the facts and events that affect the lives of citizens. Infotainment is geared towards ratings and deliberately placing bias on events. We currently have the latter.
Five: We want domestic policy to become the priority again. If we could find the money to spend $2 trillion per year on the war in Iraq, then how can you argue that you can't increase spending on schools ($621 Billion) and infrastructure ($416 Billion)?
***The song continues, "Free your mind and the rest will follow. Be color blind--don't be so shallow."
Unfortunately this year we're seeing a lot of shallow individuals taking the stage in the political realm. This Ohio Trump campaign chair gives us an excellent example of a truly shallow mind in this video clip.
We'll touch more upon this topic in next week's blog. Suffice it to say, we must free our minds from the bondage of racism and bigotry. It truly kills all growth in the garden of common sense. It kills all attempts to encourage brotherhood and compassion toward our fellow human beings, too.
Prejudice takes many forms. One of its disguises is when another demands you to think or vote "their way or the highway" without regard to your common sense and values. This is demonstrated by those who believe Bernie supporters cannot vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party for president "because Bernie Sanders forbade us to." And yet, we have evidence that Bernie does, in fact, actively support our right to vote our conscience--and he even supports Greens running for office, as this next piece shows...
Bernie Sanders Supports a Green Candidate
by A. J. Matthews
It isn't easy being Green. Larry Sanders, big brother of US Senator Bernie Sanders, is standing for election to the constituency of Witney, Oxfordshire, England. Recently vacated by former Prime Minister David Cameron, the constituency isn't the most fertile ground for a Green revolution. Cameron successfully defended his seat in the 2015 General Election with a 22,700+ majority for the Conservative Party, but retired social worker Larry, 82, has hopes of expanding Britain's awareness of the Green movement. In a recent interview with the Guardian newspaper, Sanders said “Because of Bernard, I’ve become famous, and I will get more attention from the media, and that’s to be used to get the Green Party’s policies across.”
The Green Party has one Member of Parliament, the party's co-leader, Caroline Lucas. She won the Brighton Pavilion seat in the 2010 General Election. In keeping with other so-called "minor" parties the Greens do well at the local level, and have a number of councilors in towns and cities across the UK. Much like the United States it is a struggle for other parties to make themselves heard over the blanketing effect caused by the two "big" parties. In Britain's case these are the Conservative (Tory) Party and the Labour Party. Unlike the US, though, it's far easier to run for election in the UK, something the minor parties take full advantage of.
People wishing to stand as an MP must be over 18 years of age, be a British citizen or citizen of a Commonwealth country or the Republic of Ireland. Candidates must be nominated by ten parliamentary electors of the constituency they wish to stand in. Authorisation is required to stand for a specific party, otherwise candidates will be described as independent or have no description. In order to encourage only serious candidates to stand, a £500 deposit is required when submitting the nomination papers - returned if the candidate receives over five per cent of the total votes cast.
Larry states that the focus of his efforts in this by-election campaign will be on matters which would not normally considered part of the Green manifesto, but which nevertheless have a major impact on the lives of ordinary people. He opposes the privatization of social care and Britain's much-loved National Health Service (NHS), a policy the Conservatives have pursued to little success for decades. The furor generated by the Brexit vote has created a smokescreen behind which the Conservatives appear to be plotting to privatize the NHS. Strikes by medical staff and protests by concerned citizens have erupted against the move across the UK.
The neo-liberalism of the Labour Party under the premierships of Tony Blair and, later, Gordon Brown is also a target for Sanders' ire. Under the Labour government and the later coalition government of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, corporations and the very rich have been able to avoid paying taxes. The lowest 10% in income pay a higher proportion of tax than the highest 10%.
More traditional Green concerns for the environment will also be addressed by Larry Sanders. Under the previous UK governments climate deterioration and sensible policies to switch to renewable energy were ignored. A recent vote against fracking in the county of Yorkshire showed an overwhelming opposition to the move at 99.2%, yet Cameron's government gave the go-ahead in spite of this. Sanders wants to promote better insulation in British housing and green measures to further the use of renewable energy.
Much like his brother's campaign in the United States, social inequality is also a target for Sanders. He points to an increase in inequality in Britain over the last 30 years that’s having serious consequences, particularly in the housing market where many people can't afford houses who once would have experienced little trouble.
He faces a fierce fight from the other candidates who will contend the Oxfordshire seat on behalf of the Conservative, Liberal Democrats and Labour parties. With the Labour party in disarray over the leadership challenge by Blairite neoliberals against Jeremy Corbyn, a man much like Bernie Sanders in political outlook, Larry Sanders may well stand a chance of gaining ground.
Bernie Sanders may not get involved in the election on his brother's behalf due to conventions against foreign politicians seeking to influence domestic government. Even so, his fame in the UK is an asset his brother will capitalize on.
It remains to be seen if Larry Sanders can make headway against an entrenched mindset in a traditional Tory seat, or if he can break through an make a successful case for Green policies. In any case, I wish him luck. His younger brother has certainly shaken the American Establishment to its core, and I hope Larry will do the same in Britain.
Bio: A. J. Matthews is a Brit living in the United States. He watches the candidates closely on both sides of the Atlantic and says, "Free your mind--vote Green."
Watch the video at the bottom of this blog page or click this link to hear Bernie's exact words on the subject. Always vote your conscience, your values. After all, it's your mind. Free it from the enslavement of establishment thinking.