Change is easier when our elected representatives are working together to get something done. The good news in this context is that there is far more common ground for them to build on than you will hear from the media. You can remind them of that.
Things have changed between the time of the founding fathers and now. On the one hand, the USA now has an extremely well-armed military force, while most state and local governments have well-armed police forces, and all of those forces are under the control of elected civilian leaders. On the other hand, the USA has a far higher rate of gun deaths and mass shootings than most citizens are willing to accept. Whether and how things should be re-balanced are open questions suitable for respectful debate.
The US Constitution requires a census every 10 years. The census is mandatory because it affects the numbers of seats each state occupies in the U.S. House of Representatives. It also affects...
We should all understand that very few of us would have a vote or a political voice if we collectively fail to defend constitutional and legal limits on political behavior.
Defending democracy is inherently difficult. Reminding ourselves why the job is so problematic helps point the way towards a more effective defense.
In a democracy, people need to trust that they will be treated fairly. They need to know they can vote like anyone else, that they will be treated just as well as anyone else, regardless of how they vote, and that elected officials will feel as accountable to them as anyone else.
What if those in power now could be given assurances that they could continue to compete politically all across the nation – if they end their dangerous tactics of retaliation and entrenchment – combined with assurances that today’s opposition will also swear off such tactics? Doing so would allow everyone to return to the business of getting better results for our country, for our children, and for our grandchildren. All that is required is that elected officials look out for the public interest instead of governing in pursuit of their self interest – and for each of us to insist they do so.
The religious tolerance and freedom that our founding fathers gave birth to is something to celebrate – and something each of us can uphold personally.
On Thanksgiving Day, let’s give thanks for all the people who make up our American democracy.
It is possible to achieve good and useful things with people you disagree with. Here is a real world example.
Photo credit: Unknown.
Between 1973 and 1975, in Mendocino County,...
Now that we know Russian leaders have been trying to divide us, let’s fight back. Let’s find ways to unite.
We voters need information about the problems facing us, how politicians and bureaucrats propose to solve those problems, and what they actually do. That’s why our Constitution includes our right to a free press. In today’s USA, our press may be free, but state and local news is becoming harder to find. We now have a serious problem with “news deserts” where people have few if any options to learn what’s going on in their area. New FCC and proposed decisions are not helping.
Hate-bait is meant to divide us. It appeals to our emotion and prejudices. It over-rides practical thinking as well as our nobler aspirations. Hate-Bait distracts us from the fundamental...
One of the most fundamental aspects of a democracy is that citizens vote for their leaders rather than politicians selecting their voters through partisan redistricting (gerrymandering). On October 3, 2017, the US Supreme Court heard a case that could end this practice forever. It is hard to know how the justices will rule on this issue but one thing is certain: anything that leads to more political competition will be welcome. As noted in our August 14, 2017 blog, too many states, and too many districts within those states are currently noncompetitive. More than a few districts don’t even provide voters with a choice: no-one wants to waste time and money running as an opposition candidate, knowing they are doomed to lose. Americans deserve better. Let’s hope the Supreme Court justices lend a hand.
Democracy truly is under attack. Cyber techniques are the latest weapons. They are aimed directly at us, seeking to stimulate emotion over thought, sowing doubt and distrust. More computerization is not the answer.
The educational foundations of our civic house rest on shaky ground. U.S., investments at the federal level in education for democratic citizenship—including in support for civics, government, and American history courses—have declined significantly.
The good and kind things ordinary people do far outweigh all the evil in the world. Here are some reminders. Enjoy!
March 18, 2019. A firefighter helped an elderly...