16. A Three-Part Plan: Restore Democracy and Reduce Inequality

A recent study by Gilens and Page shows that in the United States,  the wealthy elite control the economic and political systems at the national level and in many states. This  video explains why that is a problem and how it creates a dysfunctional democracy which does not serve the needs of We the People.

The next 4 years will be difficult for many of us who want to build a more inclusive and progressive democratic society. The way the new administration is shaping up is a cause for concern. However, these times present an opportunity to mobilize and stand up for our values. As the saying goes, "Don't Agonize, Organize!"

Another saying that comes to mind at this time is, 
"If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything."  We the People have to let everyone know where we stand and what are our values. Also, we need a general action plan for the next 4 years. Here is my suggestion:

            A 3-Part Plan to Stay Informed, Get Involved, and Take Action

First - Staying Informed is the starting point for all of us. The corporate news outlets  are a poor choice because they slant toward the corporate good not the common good. Check the following news sources for one that works for you - Democracy Now,  Reuters,  NY Times, or NPR.

Second -
Get Involved with a group that is working to restore democracy and reduce  inequality.  Choose one, get on their email list and support their work.
* Reclaim the American Dream,  Our Revolution,  Rebuild the Dream,  and Stand Up 4 Democracy

Third -  
Take Action and publicly stand up for your values. Here are several action ideas:

1.
Wear a Wristbands 4 Justice to stand up for your progressive values in a public way. It will remind you everyday about the values for which you stand. (a safety pin, bumper sticker, or  window sticker are other ways)

2
. Participate in regular coordinated peaceful rallies at your state capital or community public square  supporting an economic/political system that works for everyone (similar to the 9/12/2016 Moral Monday national action).  We must be in the public square regularly. I suggest type of rally be held two times per year, one on the Saturday before Earth Day in April and one on the Saturday before the International Day of Peace in September.

3.
 Sign on as a citizen co-sponsor of the American Anti-Corruption Act at  Represent.Us which has the following 3 goals:
* Stop political bribery so special interests can't use job offers and donations to influence politicians.
* End secret money so people know who is buying political power.
* Give voters a stronger voice by changing how elections are funded.

4.
 Join one of the email lists of the Brennan Center for Justice and work to improve our representative democracy in at least one of the following ways:
* Reforming redistricting procedures by using independent redistricting commissions in each state to stop gerrymandering.
* Expanding voter participation with automatic voter registration, 15 day early voting, same day registration, election day a holiday, stop voter suppression, stop voter list purges for not voting, ranked choice voting, national popular vote for President, open primaries, term limits, etc.
* Minimize money's role in the political system with citizen funding of campaigns and full disclosure of all campaign funds.
* Secure the vote and fix election procedures by mandating voter-marked paper ballots with optical scan machines to count the votes plus improved rules for audits and recounts.
* Strengthen government ethics rules.

5.
  Join the email list of and support the work of  United for a Fair Economy to reduce  the extreme economic inequality of the last 40 years. They support:
* sustainability and equity, where individuals do not accumulate excesses of wealth to the detriment of others or the planet.
* a robust public sector that works for the common good, funded through progressive taxes and accountable to the people.
* jobs with dignity and living wages, where workeres have the democratic right to organize  and share the wealth produced by their labor.
Also, consider getting the Inequality Weekly from the Institute for Policy Studies.

Please support and publicize these ideas.
This will not be easy or quick but it is an essential part of fixing our dysfunctional democracy.


Feedback welcome at tomulrich41 @ gmail .com