Our democracy has been on the ropes long before this last presidential election. Those of us who are angry that we didn't get to vote for Bernie, and held our noses and voted for Hillary know this even if the media continues to miss it. With them it is a kind of willful ignorance that makes them prey to the likes of Donald Trump. They are like fish in a barrel for him, useful idiots. We know that many politicians are bought and sold by oligarchs, and that the pretense of the two party system is to pretend that there is a choice.
Their system is vulnerable to progressive ideals on the left, and a mindless mob on the right. The real story of 2016 is that the mainstrean right had no answer for a populist "strongman," and the center left still dominates in the media. The centrist establishment that Hillary benefitted from was able to keep down the progressive insurgence from the outside. It would have been nice to witness a straight-on contest between the Donald and Bernie, but we were robbed of that by those who will continue to appease and accomodate. We don't need that sort of media and power brokers any more than the nation needs Fox News.
We will need a comprehensive vision to recover from a state of deep internal division. The singular idea that can unite all of us who strive for justice is the revitalization of the tree of liberty. We need to recover the true vision of an egalitarian democracy from the white male European culture of the founding fathers. While not faulting them for being of the culture that birthed them, we can still hold them responsible for where the vision fell short. In the history of democracy and republicanism, it was always a game restricted to an elite, to the people who matter, whether participation is restricted by race, gender or class.
The reason why black lives matter is precisely because every life matters; therefore it is imperative for us to publicly declare our solidarity with our black brothers and sisters since a still vital white surpremist micro-minority conspires to advance a horrific agenda of hate. Furthermore, beyond that micro-minority is a much larger number of white people who just don't get it. They enable, rationalize and deny that there is a legacy of racialized hatred and bias against all sorts of minorities. Many of us should be ashamed because our ethnic ancestors were discriminated against as imigrants by the very same kinds of people, until we were able to assimilate and become real Americans. Is everyone trying to pass as white? I can't see why, because Donald Trump and most of his supporters make me embarrased to be white.
Central to taking back democracy will be getting everyone to participate and engage. Part of how we have gotten where we are is that millions of Americans are disengaged and disconnected from politics, and that's even among the ones who do vote. Using what we collectively know about collectively producing shared knowledge, we can set and accomplish collective goals like getting everyone registered to vote and getting them to the polls. We have to make it an embarrasment to be a politician who works to limit the electorate. I don't know how the Republican strategy to limit voting in places where Democrats are strong will work out in the long run, and I fault Democrats for not caring enough about ballot access. They are complicit in the districting process whose main goal is to preserve safe seats for both parties. The point is that a vital democracy is not a partisan issue. We don't want a new platform for the same old two party system, we need a platform for democracy. The most likely outcome is the end of the two party system. Let's try somethng like this:
- Democracy is for everybody, everyone has the right to vote.
- Participation is a duty, everyone should vote.
- An educated electorate is necessary for democracy to function and we can articulate a curriculum of knowledge essential for the democratic citizen.
- Diversity is the only option. The old theories of race are thoroughly discredited, and should be left in the dustbin of history. We expect that each nation and even regions will bring different values and stories and histories to the community of nations.
When we are successful, we will be able to re-write the Constitution to reflect collective and diverse values and we will be able to defend our institutions against capital monopolists. Even the old south is ready for the mixing of the races. Recent studies suggest that they accept as inevitable and even welcome a future where there are no distinct races, only populations with different distributions of genes left over from the time when the world was large and civilizations small.
To be clear I'm not saying the needs of capital formation and conservation are not important, just that it is improper for them to excercise political power. Corporations are not citizens and should be excluded from political participation. All of the people who own, work for or do business with corporations have rights of citizenship, not always of the same nations, not always democratic nations. The Firm and Markets are very powerful modes of production, but they are not the exlusive means of wealth production. Commons based peer production is both ancient and new. In the ancient forms it is highly limited in scope because it depends on strong ties with trust and reciprocity. Modern communications technologies and evolving social networks have demonstrated that geographically diverse communities can build large things using these modes of production.
That's how we fix our democracy as well as our economy. There is more wealth missed because we just need to learn how to collaborate under open structures motivated by interest and desire.