THE URGENT NEED TO REPAIR OUR DEMOCRACY
Thank you for inviting us to speak with you today.
This is an all volunteer effort, and the only reason I’m able to be here today is because of the support I’m receiving from volunteers all across the country in so many ways. But we still have gaps, and more volunteers are needed, so if any you wish to help, please step up.
You may wonder why an 80 year old man and volunteers would be engaging in a completely nonpartisan walk across America, from the west coast to our capitol in Washington DC.
I walk to engage with all American people and support local, state and federal efforts by you to Fix Our Democracy.
It’s 10 miles a day, 5 days a week, accompanied by volunteers with a wide range of skills, plus a pretty cool support RV to help spread our message. Have you seen it outside?
I’ll tell you why I’m walking.
- Our federal political system isn’t working right today.
- It isn’t properly serving our common good.
- We're headed toward autocracy, instead of strengthening our representative democracy.
- The failure of those we’ve elected to properly do their job has consequences.
- Our nation is on a downward path because of it.
- And most of us already know this.
So let me ask you, YES or NO:
Are a majority of those we have elected properly representing our interests?
Are they instead primarily representing their own reelection interests, those of their wealthiest and most influential donors, their political party, their campaign consultants, and the media who make huge profits on campaign ads?
This is why you and I, and millions of Americans must act, to save and improve our representative democracy.
We must stand up, speak out, be patriots, march, advocate, and vote.
But let me be clear. There are many good people working hard to pass legislation in Congress and in the states that will help fix our democracy.
They even totaled a slight majority of those in our House of Representatives this past year.
But they do not constitute a majority in our US Senate, where the rules have been set to allow even a small minority to block such fixes.
The result is that Congress as a whole, can not and has not, been able to act to reform and fix our democracy, and also has not been able to enact helpful legislation on so many other issues that have the support of a majority of we American people.
The good news is that we, the American people, have the power to fix this.
Each state has the power to determine how its elections will be run. We the people can change many of the broken parts of our political process to serve our interests rather than their interests.
Here’s what we can do:
- We can reform our political process to make it more fair, equitable, inclusive and more competitive.
- We can get more turnover and better representation for our common good or, if this can’t be accomplished, set reasonable term limits for our elected representatives.
- We can have independent commissions draw voting districts, so we voters can choose who we elect, rather than having politicians and their political party choose which voters they think will most likely vote for them.
- We can have campaigns publicly funded, not by only 2% of us as now, but by 100% of all registered voters with a small rebate or credit we can use to support the candidates of our choice.
- We can require those who use our public airways to have many more neutrally moderated debates and discussions among candidates, before elections.
- We can allow all candidates who have received large threshold numbers of small donations, the opportunity to present their views to much bigger audience so we can then decide which candidate or candidates will best represent our interests.
- We can put all primary candidates, regardless of party, on a single ballot, and allow all registered voters to select the highest vote getters for the general election.
- In that election, we can use ranked choice voting to ensure that whomever we elect has the majority of us in support.
- We can enact automatic and secure voter registration and vote from home ballots.
- We can reform our electoral process to prevent those who do not have the highest vote total, from subverting the will of we the people and taking power anyways.
In summary, we must change enough or all of these fixes in order to get proper representation.
You in Nevada have a great opportunity to improve things right now.
How? By voting for Ballot Question #3 to make the Nevada primary process more inclusive in ways that will serve the interests of all Nevadans.
The fact that many in both political parties oppose Ballot Question #3 tells you they want to reduce, not increase, their political competition.
They just want to stay in power.
They are putting their interests ahead of your interests.
And that is not the job you elected them to do.
It’s representation malpractice.
So call them out for not doing their job.
And vote for candidates who will represent the common good of all Nevadans.
So now let’s move to the national level, where our two major political parties act like two warring Super Bowl teams, each doing everything they can to win at all costs.
There’s a problem with this.
In football, the goal is to win.
But in politics, the job of those who win is to govern on behalf of all 330+ million of us.
This isn’t happening properly.
Meanwhile, we the people whose interests are supposed to be represented, have never been more upset.
Seldom, if ever have we needed proper representation more than we do now.
The problem is, we’re not getting it.
This is why we need to fix it.
Here's how bad it is:
- Most of us have lost our trust in Washington.
- We urgently need candidates and representatives who will fix our democracy to properly serve our common good.
- The system has been hijacked, to ensure those with power keep it.
- Unscrupulous politicians are willing to corrupt and shatter the very institutions and rights that brought them to power.
- That’s how autocracy begins.
- There’s little correlation between getting elected and serving the will of the people.
- The two major parties prioritize their candidates’ re-election interests, and the interests of their party and biggest campaign money contributors, ahead of our public interests and common good.
- They rig the system and set the rules to stifle competition from independent and third-party candidates.
- They control the money, the debates, and the primaries. They even draw their own voting districts.
- Congress is so regularly gridlocked, there's little progress on the issues important to most of us.
- Small numbers of our representatives can block actions that benefit the greatest percentage of us all.
- Meanwhile, almost half of American workers who work a full work week, can’t earn enough to afford basics like rent and food.
- We see the very rich becoming much richer, while many see the collapse of the middle class.
- And the working class face low wages, dead end jobs, debt, homelessness, lack of health care and too little educational opportunity.
- For the first time since the great depression, life expectancy in the US is headed down, as drug overdoses and suicides rise.
- Once a world leader for healthcare and education among all advanced economies, we are now in the bottom quarter for healthcare and bottom half for education.
- How does that make you feel as students and professors?
- Unaffordable lifesaving prescriptions and medical bills are the reason most Americans file for bankruptcy.
- Our country is getting poorer, sicker, more divided, and our families are paying the price.
Therefore, I say again, there’s an urgent need for a properly functioning government to serve our common good.
So Let me ask you:
Will you support Ballot Measure 3 and be part of the next victory in your state?
Will you organize and join nonpartisan citizen walks to Fix Our Democracy in your community?
Will you do so at the next opportunity that’s coming right up - Veterans Day, Friday, November 11th?
Will you only vote for politicians who will lead to fix our democracy?
Will you reach out to other organizations of all types, and work together to fix the system so government can work for you, your present and future family, and the rest of us?
We can do this!
So spread the word. Be passionate. Be patriots. Proudly carry our American flag.
And know you are standing up with many more of us, for something much bigger and more important than just ourselves.
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