Why Democracy?

Why are we really in Iraq? Why are we losing almost 1,000 of our service members every year, wounding and psychologically damaging thousands more, and killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis every year while displacing and wounding millions?

There are many answers, but most of them boil down to corporate influence in our political system.

Why are we the only industrialized nation without universal health care ranking 37th in health care outcomes while spending more per capita than any other nation?

Many have written very long and detailed analyses about this, but the short answer is corporate influence in our political system.

Why are our public schools failing to achieve the educational outcomes most of us believe they should? Why is the cost of college rising faster than inflation? Why is it that thirty years ago a family could be supported by one income and now it is a struggle for most even with two? Why do we have ever increasing problems with homelessness and illegal immigration? Why is Congress unwilling to impeach the most blatantly criminal administration in our nation’s history?

There are long answers to each of these questions, but the short answer to each of them is corporate influence in our political system. And there are many more questions that could be asked about the degeneration of our society, to all of which the short answer is the same.

So how do we exorcise this demon? The way we will get corporate influence out of politics is through increasing democracy.

To be part of the solution

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In our current system, elected officials are a small fraction of a percent of our population. It is a small enough number that it is financially feasible to purchase influence. It is a far more subtle system than the simple quid pro quo corruption of a dictatorship or oligarchy, but it is nevertheless based on the influence of money and its ability to keep people in power.

However, if we were all involved in the decision-making process…even if only 10% of us were involved, and our democracy were so rudimentary as to require only a simple majority for everything, it would mean 15 million palms to grease. That’s at least 30 times the number of elected decision-makers in our current system at all levels of government. Furthermore, with the doors open to all to participate, it would be far too difficult to select the right number to lobby on any issue.

Well, that’s a very nice idea, but our constitution defines our system as a representative republic. Transitioning to democracy would require constitutional amendments, wouldn’t it?

Certainly, that would be one avenue, and enshrining the principles of participatory democracy in our constitution would create a permanence to provide assurances to our progeny that democracy would continue. We should hope that we can eventually reach a point where we can codify democracy into our constitution. However, my idea for the short-term solution to the problems inherent in our current system is a de facto democracy that we the people put in place piece by piece.

Here’s the basic plan.

Donation page is up

I now have a mailing address and a web page that will accept credit card payments.  Democracy needs your support.

Just About Ready to Accept Donations

Today I acquired a tax ID number for my campaign and filed an initial 8871 to establish The Committee To Elect Scott Trimble aka Scott Trimble For Congress as a 527 political organization.  Tomorrow I plan to set up an account and a post office box.  So get your checkbooks ready, and I should be able to give you all the information needed to make out your check, and where to mail it, very soon.

Economy/Energy/Environment

I have combined these three topics into one article because the solution I hope to propose (with the democratic approval of the people of the district) would include all of them.  I would propose that federal funds be directed toward two large national projects.

First we need to rebuild our infrastructure: bridges, levees, roads, etc.  We have been neglecting this for far too long providing money to the military and other sexier projects.  Of course, I believe the most serious waste of money has been through the Pentagon, and a substantial amount of that money should be directed elsewhere.  Some of that should go to this project.  In addition to rebuilding our infrastructure, we need to expand some aspects of it, too.  We should build a nationwide high-speed rail system and establish an agency under the Department of Transportation to provide low-cost, safe and reliable interstate transportation to the people of this country.  The airline industry and Amtrak have failed to achieve this, and we should not expect them to ever do so.  Fpr those who argue that government should not be getting involved in this, or that it might compete with these private industries, we should note that cities, counties and specially created metropolitan transit districts have been offering trains, subways, trolleys and buses to compete with Greyhound/Trailways, charter bus companies, local cabs and limos without adversely affecting those industries.  When we have a need that private industry has shown an inability to meet, it is the responsibility of government to provide that service.  If private industry can indeed do it better and more efficiently, as some would claim, then let them jump in after government has shown the demand, and let them force the government “out of business.”

The second large project would be to retrofit every house or other suitable building (at the owner’s discretion) with solar panels and/or a windmill.  In many cases, homes with solar panels can meet most, if not all, the energy requirements of the house.  Many people actually produce more energy than they use, and sell some of it back to the energy companies.  With every house in the nation (except those whose owners declined or which were structurally insufficient) fitted with these green energy production technologies, our energy companies would need to produce much less, possibly little enough that they could generate all their needs from wind and/or solar fields, and they would serve as the clearing house for all the incoming surplus energy created by consumers., thus becoming more energy management companies rather than energy production companies.  However, even if they are still producing the majority of our energy, and even if some of that is still from petroleum products, we could at least phase out all nuclear energy, and “dirty” coal.  Furthermore, the project itself will create thousands of jobs in every state, and will probably last many years, which will provide a sustained boost to our economy.  Even after the construction phase is complete, there will be an ongoing need for maintenance, repair and replacement.  Of course, all this clean energy and the phase out of dangerous and/or dirty energy sources will improve the quality of our environment and our lives, and it will also serve to move us away from dependence on fuel sources from foreign nations, providing economic security and reducing our need to go to war for resources.

In addition to this expansion of our energy infrastructure, we should also put some money into research and development of even more efficient wind and solar production technology, as well as other pollution-free renewable energy sources, like compressed air, creating even more jobs and further improving our lives.

Any progressives in Central Texas want to help usher in democracy?

I am currently trying to form a campaign committee to direct my campaign for Texas’ 25th Congressional seat. When I say “usher in democracy” or when I call my blog “transform 25,” I believe that is really what I plan to do: transform the 25th district into a democratic oasis in our plutocratic society that will provide a model for citizens all over the country to use to democratize their own areas. Officially, I will be organizing the people of the 25th Congressional district in Texas, but in so doing, we will also be organizing some significant portions of several cities, counties, and state legislature and state senate districts, enabling the people of those areas to exert influence over those elected officials as well, and providing a stimulus for the other people in those geopolitical areas to organize their own precincts in order to participate in this citizens’ union, this grassroots movement to wrest the control of government away from corporations and special interests and put it squarely into the hands of the people.

It seems to me that we have some pretty strong citizen activist groups, but in the current system, they are just another special interest who must compete with the others at their game: money, commercial advertising, backroom deals. By organizing the people, and letting politicians know that their jobs are not so easily bought and sold, but must be earned from the people, we can bring the deliberations that really matter, that really determine the final decisions, out into the open, and start to build a transparent democracy that works for us.

However, getting me into office, or even organizing the district, is going to be an uphill struggle. Running as a Green with no money to begin with, entirely dependent on what I can raise between now and November, also dependent on the Green Party achieving ballot access in Texas, and needing to start a team of volunteers from scratch, I need to find people to help out, and we need to start yesterday.

Please email me or leave a comment here to let me know you want to get involved. My plan is to begin with South Austin, but if you are anywhere in (or near enough to) district 25 (Hays, Caldwell, Colorado, Gonzales, Lavaca, Fayette, most of Bastrop and the southeast part of Travis counties) and what to be part of making these ideals become reality, then I need you now.