Government and Democracy
At the deepest level, what we think of as “issues” aren’t always the issue.
What politicians normally refer to as “issues” are mere symptoms, all of which share an underlying cause: a disconnection between our politics and our democratic principles, as our government has become subservient to the governing principle of short-term profit maximization for huge multinational corporations.
Our government today does not function as a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” To the contrary, it serves as a government “of a few, by a few, and for a few.” Due to the nefarious influence of unlimited corporate money on our politicians, our government has become a system of legalized bribery. The United States government now advocates more for the short-term financial gain of campaign donors than for the long-term health and well-being of American citizens and the planet on which we live.
The situation has reached emergency proportions. Our government has abandoned its primary function as stated in the Declaration of Independence: to secure the (God-given) right of every citizen to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The millions of American children who go to school each day in buildings that don’t meet minimum safety requirements – or have the supplies necessary with which to learn to read — these children are not free to pursue their happiness. Students may be full US citizens, but because they do not work or possess wealth, they have no financial leverage in the halls of a corrupted system that listens to money more than to the cries of its people.
This trajectory, born of our government’s obeisance to its new corporate overlords, has produced the largest income inequality since 1929, a lack of healthcare for millions of US citizens, a lack of guaranteed educational and wealth-creating opportunities to all but its richest citizens, chronic economic despair for millions of Americans, a multitude of children living in chronically traumatic conditions, and a plunder of the environment that literally imperils the future of life on Earth.
While politicians point to “healthcare” or “jobs” or “the economy” as the issues, the real issue is that our government has been hijacked by corporate and financial forces that have systematically moved the bulk of our public treasure into the hands of a few of our citizens, basically returning us to an aristocratic system in which a few are served at the expense of the many.
OUR DEMOCRACY IS AT RISK
Our democracy is under assault by combined forces of corporatism and autocracy. This organized, well-funded assault seeks the destruction of our bedrock democratic foundations in order to secure its own economic primacy. To serve its purposes, it aims to:
- Influence elections at local, state and federal levels using the unlimited financial power to do so granted by the Citizens United Supreme Court decision;
- Place corporatist judges on all levels of the judiciary; and
- Attack voting rights through such means as the 2013 Supreme Court chipping away of the Voting Rights Act
This well-organized assault represents a full threat to our democracy – and it is the challenge of our generation to fight back.
An attack on our voting system is core to this anti-democratic assault. Voter suppression laws are being passed throughout the country. Gerrymandering – making a shift from voters choosing winners to winners choosing voters – violates every principle of fair representation. And Citizens United has replaced the democratic formula of one person, one vote with the repressive system of one dollar, one vote.
It is imperative that the U.S. President be aware of this orchestrated, powerful undertow, and that she or he be unafraid to say so. One major political party has now been almost totally commandeered by corporatist forces, and the other major political party, due to its own frequent dependence on corporate dollars, does what it can to address the resulting pain on the periphery, yet too often refuses to address the underlying forces that make all that suffering inevitable.
I am running as a Democrat who feels that the party must reclaim its function as an advocate and protector of what is meant to be the true governing force in the United States: We the People. To me, that is the soul of the Democratic party, and the soul of our country.
There is only one way to override the nefarious influence of the corporatist, anti-democratic trend in American politics today. That is through massive citizen engagement, a massive renaissance of political consciousness among the American people, through which millions of citizens will become the societal immune system that casts out the opportunistic infection of authoritarian corporatist forces.
- A Constitutional Amendment to establish public financing of our federal campaigns and overturn the Citizens United decision.
- Urge Congress to pass the Protecting Our Democracy Act which seeks to restore a more democratic balance of power between the branches of government, and in particular curb executive overreach. The Constitution outlines the duties of Congress first, because the founders believed that Congress was the most important branch of government as the direct representatives of the people. Congress has given up too much power to the executive branch in recent years.
- Urge Congress to pass the For the People Act (H.R. 1) to expand voting rights, reduce the influence of money in politics, create new ethics rules for federal officeholders, institute Campaign Finance Reform, and ban partisan gerrymandering when redistricting.
- Press Congress to pass a lifetime ban from lobbying for Congressmembers (any kind of lobbying)
- Press Congress to pass a stock trading ban for all active members of Congress and their family members.
- Press Congress to eliminate the debt ceiling by law.
- Ban Congressmembers from sitting on Committees that impact stocks they own.
- Expand the Supreme Court to 15 justices (a measure that has precedence) and eliminate lifetime tenure in favor of 10 or 20 years.
- Push for a Constitutional Amendment to limit the power of the Supreme Court to weaken watchdog agencies on that oversee public health and safety
- Eliminating unfounded restrictions on eligible voters, such as voter picture ID’s.
- Urge Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act (H.R. 4).
- Lower the voting age to 16 and institute automatic voter registration
- Urge Congress to pass the Reverse Mass Incarceration Act and move our broken criminal justice system away from over-incarceration using evidence based approaches that have been proven to reduce crime. (see Mass Incarceration policy)
- Restore the voting rights of more than 5 million Americans who had their right to vote stripped by a felony conviction. (also see Mass Incarceration policy)
- Guarantees that our voting systems are secure from internal as well as external threats.
- Establishment of election day as a national holiday, and guarantee of enough time and polling places to allow for easy access to voting.
- Holding special interest and corporate lobbyists accountable to the rule of law.
- Institute automatic voter registration.
- Institute a voting system that is more democratic than “first past the post” such as Ranked Choice Voting or STAR Voting.
- Ensure prepaid vote by mail is the standard for all elections (local, state, and federal)
- Abolish the Electoral College.
- Make D.C. a State.
- Offer statehood to Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.
- Guarantee universal public broadband with publicly owned fiber optics infrastructure.
A Williamson administration would work assiduously to address the above-mentioned external issues, and I would bring the full extent of my professional experience to help the American people connect the dots, understand what has happened, and work in their own communities to save our democracy.