A Manual for Change – Part I

                                                           
“The national government may be in the hands of sell outs and ideologues, but there is still work to be done.”   Jim Hightower
                                                           
 
Before getting to the subject of a Manual for Change, two important questions must be asked and answered.  First, do I really care if the situation changes or not?  After all, we’ve been living in a form of autocracy, including  the corporatocracy, Nerocracy, crime, greed, arrogance and ignorance of our national leadership for many years.  Do I care, for example, that as a middle class citizen I’m paying for and supporting this corruption and “legal” crime. How do I feel about that?  I personally feel somewhat badly about it, because I was aware of some of it; but generally gullible like, apparently, many Americans, and “life went on.”  I’m as guilty of apathy as anyone.  I’ve read the stories of those who stood up to the government and refused to pay taxes, or a portion of them, because the money helped an immoral and unethical cause.  They suffered the consequences, but perhaps they did so with a clear conscience.
 
The second question is more difficult.  If I decide to actively participate in the change, can I do so peacefully, without being driven by anger and hatred, because if I point a finger of blame at anyone, it might as well be me.
 
We’re all going to die anyway and how that happens may not be our choice; but does it really matter?  And the change probably won’t happen in our lifetime.  Look at how long it took for women to gain the most basic of human rights.  Just consider what the efforts of a rather shy homemaker, wife and mother, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, along with her friend, Susan B. Anthony, did for this nation.
 
Take a minute or two and consider this.  Depending on your personal answer, read on or just stop and get on with your life.
 
*****
I’ve had ideas roaming around in my brain on how to get to an actual Manual for Change of our corrupt government when, true to the “100th Monkey Phenomenon,” (check it out at Google if you’ve forgotten it) I find out that the idea and action are already happening around the country at the grassroots level.  According to Jim Hightower, a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker author, including the book “Thieves in High Places: They’ve Stolen our Country and it’s Time to Take It Back,”  “…grassroots people are so much stronger, more resilient, and more American than the gooberheads at the top, and they’ll not be long held back.”
 
One of the main concerns I had was how could anyone reach high office and not  “owe” something to a special interest group, whatever form that might take.
 
As it turns out, there has been a movement underway for some time called “Clean Elections.”  Again, you may want to check under Google to see all that is happening.  In the past decade, 8 states and 14 cities have passed “Clean Election” laws to end the money chase and other states and cities are moving toward passage of such laws this year.
 
This means, among other things, that regular people  can run for office because public financing is provided to candidates who agree not to accept money from corporations or other favor-seeking interests.
 
And it works!  According to Jim Hightower, in Maine in 2000, for example, half of the state’s senators and 30 percent of house members were elected without taking a dime in special-interest money. Today, 83 percent of its senate and 77 percent of its house is made up of legislators who ran “clean.”  And not only that, Maine became the first state to pass a bill providing health care for all of its people!!  This could never have happened in a political situation dominated by private campaign contributions.
 
On many other issues on which Washington is the enemy, great progress has been made. (You won’t hear about this in the mainline media.)
 
So the answer to apathy is to join with the grassroots groups that are taking action and making progress.  Become part of the renewal right where you live.
 
There is always a way.  When I was stopped by the U.S. Department of State from mediating a truce with Usama bin Laden against killing Americans when our national leadership wouldn’t, I started this site and I continue to write letters to newspapers and to government leaders.  If enough people did even this much, we would begin to see change.
 
But what about finding those leaders, and what qualities should we be seeking in them?  Think about it and let me know.  I plan to cover this next.  I’ll give you a hint on a couple ideas I have: think about a version of the Selective Service System (Draft) and the jury service selection process….
 
Thank you,
Joe

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