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Public Comments - Notes to Friends List

Dear Friend:

We are navigating extraordinary times. 

Our economy is on life-support; our military is stretched far too thin; and a national consensus is emerging that our government long ago exceeded its reach. 

Slowly, our nation is beginning to grasp the magnitude of the financial mess inherited from the George W. Bush Administration. 

Faced with a choice of changing course or the consequence of the deep abyss - we came together as a nation and voted for change.   

Americans elected a new president and sent him to lead our government in reform: reform of our economy, reform of our government, and reform of our political system itself.

Though less traveled, this path is neither easy, nor will it be painless.     

Ironically, many of the initial policies the Obama Administration implemented were little more than public acknowledgement of necessity.  These choices were merely the "best" of "terrible alternatives" reflecting neither ideology nor party.

America bailed out banks, investment companies, and speculators, despite our disdain for paying the tab for people profiting from the artificial prosperity derived from an ungoverned market.

We know that far too many corporate welfare recipients ate their cakes - and ours - at public expense.

In the face of our righteous anger, we salvaged the financial services industry; we knew that to save the  many, we would have to live with the unjust benefit of the few. 

Americans value responsibility and work.  We trust the authority of law, despite the frailty of its human authors. 

Ironically, our passions have metastasized into systemic memory loss.  Rather than demanding accountability from those responsible for the mess, we too often blame the people working to ensure it never happens again.

Make no mistake about it, the fury of the Tea Party is real - much of it is legitimate - sadly, it is also misplaced. 

With the exception of the final omnibus health care bill, President Obama and the US Congress remain stymied by our political foes.  Blocked at each and every step - it is likely now that even partial financial reform - may be subject to a procedural death.

Few times before have a dedicated group of ideologues been as willing to employ all necessary means for political ends - never before have the ends been so transparently self-serving.

We are now witness to the rise of the tyranny of the minority - a dangerous new threat to our body politic - a clear and present danger to our nation as a whole.

Our problems are self-evident: entrenched interests employ influence, money, and relationships to sustain the status quo. 

We are citizens of an ever impotent government seemingly incapable of timely action; a system of the privileged, by the privileged, and for the privileged.

Yet within the structure of our government itself, we find both cause and cure - for the existing structure has proven itself both unable and unwilling to change itself.

This cannot stand.

Therefore, we must employ a strategy for progress tailored for our exigent
circumstances.  This requires a coordinated, simultaneous five-pronged attack.

We must pass a Constitutional Amendment that clarifies the difference between money and speech: freedom of speech cannot exist for one - or even the many - if it does not exist for all. 

We must pass a Constitutional Amendment that clarifies the difference between a living person and corporate personhood: duty and mortality of human beings require weighted value in all formal legal arrangements. 

We must pass a Constitutional Amendment that clarifies the responsibilities and roles of Congress: modern realities demand a Legislative Branch that can act - with certainty - for the people.  The era of supermajorities must end in both chambers.

We must pass a Constitutional Amendment that clarifies the core responsibilities of public schools to develop, implement, and sustain a rigorous civic education curricula that secures our liberties through academic and practical proficiencies.

And we must pass a Constitutional Amendment that clarifies the responsibilities of citizens: national service - be it for military or non-military purpose - establishes a lifelong relationship between the governed and government.

Passage of any such amendment would be hard; passage of all would be impossible - maybe, even harder  - than impossible. 

Whatever the end results, grass roots advocacy for these proposals - and the public struggle for passage - is critical for transformational progress.   

Individual battles may end in individual defeats, but the larger war - the crusade for the renewal of our American Conscience - can and must be won. 

Sometimes it is helpful to remember the lessons of the New Deal.  During the harshest days of the Great Depression, FDR sought implementation of a host of policies and programs.

The Supreme Court did not often agree with his efforts.

In an attempt to reframe his circumstances, FDR proposed an expansion of the size of the Supreme Court.

History records that FDR was unsuccessful in this attempt, but failure of his court plan coincided with an early retirement and an ironic change of heart among the Court members regarding activist government programming.  

Unlike that plan, this coordinated strategy speaks to the spirit and soul of our American Conscience: Americans want a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

To that end we must seek to change not merely the structure of government, but the language and rules of governance itself.      

Too often we have wasted energy under a false premise: engagement of the defenders of the status quo have no investment in fair, rational, and transparent compromise. 

That we have allowed this to continue so long is ultimately our fault. 

The rules are neither complicated nor a secret.  Privilege and wealth determine access, and access defines control.  Right now, the rules sustain a system established to protect the status quo. 

It is time for a new game - for new rules.

Together we can, we must, and we will learn from our mistakes. 

Together we will move forward with passion and purpose. 

And together we can reclaim Our America. 


Paul

 

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