Magical Mystical Manifest Destiny

Lisa Longo for PA State Democratic Committee, 4/5/14

What is democracy? What does it mean to you? I believe Democracy is a process. I believe Democracy is a participatory system. I believe we are letting our Democracy go to waste. And I believe it is time to change the way we look at our government.

And when I say “our” government, I do mean that literally, because go walk around where you live. Find your Borough or City Hall, I’ll bet it is a fine building. Well, guess what? You own it.

Now go tour your public schools. You own that too. Parks. They are yours. Municipal water, sewer, all yours. State forests, National Parks. They are yours. Ours. This land, it is our land.

That is democracy.

Now, let’s bring this to your personal level. Your home. Some of us rent, some of us own. Now imagine you don’t bother to take care of that home. You just sit back and allow others, complete strangers, to come in and make decisions about your home. They get to paint, decorate and furnish it, however they want. Because you could not be bothered. Maybe you thought the paint brush was broken. Maybe you didn’t know when the paint store was open. Maybe you didn’t have a ride to the store. Or maybe you were denied access. Whatever the reason, these folks just come in and paint with whatever is cheapest, however they want, plastering your walls with their personal opinion, adding a bit of their dogma here, some ideology there, painting your walls as they want them to be, not caring or asking for your input. That is what happens when you don’t vote.

Quite simply, this is what is happening with our democracy. You aren’t showing up. So others are making the decisions that impact your life much more than the color of your kitchen.

Pick an issue. Any issue. And I bet we can source it to one or all of the above. Let’s start with my favorite three issues, what I call my 3 E’s: Education, Environment & Equality.

Education. The foundation of everything. What happens when you have people running school districts who think education should be privatized? Who think unions are “bad”? People who want to stop funding libraries but allow millions to be spent on athletic fields, what does that do? Is this reflecting your values? Why have we allowed testing to replace teaching?

Who did that? You did. Every one of you who didn’t vote in every election. Including school board, council, state. This is what they did when you couldn’t be bothered to show up and vote.

Next, environment. Do you want to see more green spaces, less subsidies for fossil fuels? Do you want to see more renewable energy? How about we combine this with the first “E”, education? How about we begin to convert our schools to renewable, save taxpayers millions, maybe billions, balance budgets, reduce deficits, protect taxpayers, create jobs, and maybe, just maybe, we create revenue for our public schools. And we do it while cutting carbon footprints, reducing emissions and reducing the need for extraction.

Why isn’t that happening? You didn’t care enough to show up. Because while you were ignoring election day, others who actually do have an
agenda were busy making sure it was their guy that got elected. You know, the one who doesn’t give a crap about what you think.

And finally, there is equality. Because this is one of the greatest of the founding principles of our country. All “men” are created equal. Regardless of race, sex, age or creed, we are endowed with inalienable rights. And that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Well, let’s just say for a minute that your personal pursuit of happiness happens to lead you to a same sex marriage. Why isn’t that “legal”?
When did we decide to allow bigotry to be legislated in this country? I guess it was the day we allowed bigots to get elected.

We have to remember what democracy is, and what democracy isn’t. Democracy is ours if we can keep it. Democracy requires participation.
Democracy doesn’t care who votes. It isn’t some magical mystical process that is going to manifest your destiny while you sit home.

If you want to change the world, we can do that. But only if you show up.

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3 Comments

Filed under 2014 election, Lisa Longo

3 responses to “Magical Mystical Manifest Destiny

  1. tarmangani

    I agree. We should let businesses succeed or fail on their own. It is not the government’s job to pick winners and losers. This also goes for “green” technology. If it is a good idea it will grow. After all, we have been using wind and solar power for hundreds of years. We should allow oil drilling wherever there is oil. We can cripple OPEC and Russia. And give tax breaks to those oil producers that are using some of their profits for R&D in alternative forms of energy. We won’t be doing away with oil and gas production for many decades.

    You complain about others controlling what belongs to people but do not mention the fact that the government has more control over businesses than the owners do. The people that have invested their life savings and long days starting it.

    Finally, and not to be nit-picky, we live in a representative republic. Not a democracy.

    • First of all, government has been subsidizing oil & gas for decades, they have been shoveling our money to these industries in order to keep the cost “low”. But here is the thing, is it really low?

      How cheap is cheap enough? We’ve given them money to explore, research, transport, refine and fuel the US economy for decades. We’ve provided troops and fought wars. And what has that brought to taxpayers? Nothing but millions every year in the costs to cleanup the spills, leaks, accidents and explosions.

      Part of governing is making decisions that impact policy, and the economy, that is actually one of the main parts of what government does, which is why Libertarians and Conservatives seem to muck it up so badly, they cannot understand this basic concept. Government is there to govern, not to give tax breaks to the rich and provide a funnel to launder public tax funds into private profit.

      As a small business owner I can tell you you are absolutely wrong about who controls business. Yes, there are regulations and taxes, but I’ve voted on some of them, lobbied for a few of them and speak out against still more. Most of the regulation we have today is to ensure the safety of workers, the protection of our environment or the consumer, so I don’t really have a problem with that. What I am offended by are the constant calls for “less taxes”. Less taxes for who? Why are we giving a dime to industries that make trillions (oil, gas, big pharma, big banks, etc.)?

      And here is the big fact, green energy absolutely beats fossil fuels on a “level” playing field. You don’t have to transport solar or wind energy. Geothermal provides heating and cooling for decades. When consumers finally understand that and insist that the subsidies that have been shoveled to oil & gas are instead returned to taxpayers to pay for residential energy that will make them self-reliant we will see a true energy revolution.

      What is surprising is that the Libertarian and Conservative groups who call the loudest for “self-reliance” are the same ones protecting the addictive and co-dependent relationship with fossil fuels.

      As to our form of government, yes, representative republic, but are you really saying we don’t have any form of a democratic government in the US?

      • tarmangani

        Your argument seems to be more talking points than facts. I will try to help you out.

        Oil companies do not get subsidies. They get tax breaks the same as every other company. Domestic manufacturing tax deduction — the same as every other company. Percentage depletion allowance – again every company gets this.Foreign tax credit – Companies get credit for taxes they pay to other countries. This is a tactic the liberals have used for decades and is totally propaganda. The government does not pay the oil companies anything. Not like they do to solar and wind companies that end up going bankrupt. So if solar and wind energy (that is worthless if the wind isn’t blowing or the sun shining) were “better” on a level playing field then they would be growing and oil would be declining. But we build wind farms that kill millions of raptors every year including eagles and endangered species.

        “making decisions that impact policy, and the economy, that is actually one of the main parts of what government does”
        This is very far from the truth. The government is mainly designed to protect the country and protect against restrictions (not instigate them). Other than that they coin money, conduct foreign policy and deliver the mail. You can refer to Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution to see where the enumerated powers are listed. And the Bill of Rights are specifically restrictions put upon the federal government only. But liberals have expanded government and unconstitutional entitlements so we now have this enormous leviathan that has some control over everything everybody does every minute of the day. The states were supposed to have more control than the federal government as evidenced by the 10th amendment.

        “Most of the regulation we have today is to ensure the safety of workers, the protection of our environment or the consumer”
        So, you are saying that if we did not have these regulations, you would endanger your employees or your customers? Do you think that if Joe’s Diner had a reputation of half of it’s customers getting food poisoning and employees getting bit by rats he would still be in business? It is in the companies best interest to take care of employees or they quit and go elsewhere. The have to take care of customers or their customer base will dry up. Not to mention being sued by injuring customers. NO business wants that because the market will not accept it. The market regulates itself. If a business wants to not serve certain people they will not only lose the business of those people but also the people that think it is bad policy and refuse to do business there. But we have the government controlling businesses by telling them how much they have to pay employees, what customers can do (smoke, etc.), what they can sell and, now, whether they have to provide insurance, None of this is the government’s business. They cannot run any program efficiently but are determined to control how private business is run (by the way, we call that fascism).

        Finally, no we do not have democracy at any level. If we did then we would have to have public votes every time a mayor, city council, governor, state legislature, congress or the President wanted to enact anything. No, we have elections to put representatives in place so we don’t have to vote on everything.

        I hope this helps.

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