On Democracy & Politics

The articles on democracy and politics linked below are drawn from the previous EcoIQ website, published in 2019. They were all written from a position of strong pro-democracy advocacy. That's a term - pro-democracy - that until recently would have seemed alien to our political culture. Pro-democracy demonstrators fight for political freedom against autocrats and dictators all over the world. As a term, it fits naturally for Egypt, for the Arab String, for the Orange Revolution in the old Soviet republics, all that sounds natural. But in America? Really?

We thought we didn't need to fight for democracy because it was something that we already had. Safe and sound. After all, don't all American's believe in democracy? We have had to think again, and to face the fact that substantial portions of America support democracy only when decisions go to their liking. And that's not democracy.

Our founders realized that keeping our freedom and our democracy would require constant vigilance. We've forgotten. During the recent impeachment hearings, one of the quotes most often used was of Benjamin Franklin. As he was walking out of Independence Hall after the Constitutional Convention in 1787, someone shouted out, "What have we got? A republic or a monarchy?" To which Franklin responded, "A republic, if you can keep it." Thomas Jefferson, who had a flair for the dramatic, expressed this same idea by declaring, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Today, we must remember what they knew, what we ourselves once knew, before it is too late. Unless we fight to keep our democracy, we will loose it. The articles below provide a bit of context for our struggle. To engage directly, visit Make A Difference Now.

For A Future That Works, Cooperation Is The Path. Growing our capacity for cooperation must function as a kind of common denominator. No matter which prospective future you think is most likely, and no matter what you personally believe is most desirable, in every future scenario our actual situation (on the ground, day-to-day) would be greatly improved by a much higher level of cooperation. Promoting greater cooperation is truly a no-regrets strategy. Whatever your best-case future, greater cooperation would almost always be helpful, and would often be vital. More >>

The Spirit of Liberty & Democracy. No matter how much we improve the functioning of our democratic system, we will fall far short of what we need unless we also restore the spirit of democracy. There is a growing recognition that tribalism, hostility, and vilification must be unwound if we are to move forward together as a country. We must learn to honor and respect each other again, or we will fail as a nation. If we fail, the tragedy would not be an episode, but instead an ongoing and worsening condition, worse for our children than for us, and worse for their children than for them. More >>

Our Stake In Democracy. Our democracy isn't working very well. Depending on how you look at it, you can reasonably say that it isn't working at all, at least in the ways that matter most. In a working democracy, the citizens would not be moving ever further into hostile camps that view each other as evil. In a working democracy, the government would address our most urgent needs and look out for our long-term safety and security. Because hostility is growing and because our government is failing to address our most urgent needs, our democracy is struggling to hang onto even the most minimal level of public trust and confidence. More >>

What Matters Most. Home is where the heart is. It is as close to paradise as most of us will ever get, at least on this side of the grass. Our communities are often, on an emotional level, extensions of our homes. They are the groups of people with whom we are emotionally engaged. People may be invested in small or mid-size towns, in neighborhoods, in extended families, in co-worker groups, and in a seemingly infinite variety of local voluntary associations. From all of this, individuals weave a tapestry that represents their personal community of the heart. More >>

We Must Save Ourselves. Severe and growing dangers are barreling toward our homes and communities like a runaway train. We are in increasing danger, and more and more people are understanding this not as an abstraction, but instead through their direct life experience. That experience may be of flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires or similar calamities, or it may be of job losses, factory closings, business bankruptcies, town centers hollowing out, and extractive industries closing up, or it may be bridges and water lines collapsing or other critical facilities failing. The real pains being felt now leave little need to call on abstract future disasters to motivate the defense of our homes and communities. More >>

Criteria To Define A Well-Functioning Democracy. Without a well-functioning democracy, we will be unable to cope with rapidly mounting challenges. At the same time, a dysfunctional democracy will be unable to recognize and grasp opportunities. Trapped inside our broken system, we face mounting problems, significant although often unrecognized opportunities, and all of it made much more difficult by the ever accelerating and unrelenting pace of change, change that unmoors and disorients even as it delivers a rush of thrills and a plethora of wild promises. If we fail to reestablish a well-functioning democracy, the most likely future is that we will simply be overwhelmed, overcome by a complex, ever-evolving, boiling witches' brew of unsolved problems and missed opportunities. More >>

Making Democracy Work Is A "Wicked" Problem. The mess we are in has many roots, many causes operating over a long period. The nature of our current situation is difficult to describe with any rigor. Pretty much nobody really understands where we are exactly, how we got here, and, most critically, how we can move ourselves to a better place. A "wicked" problem is a problem whose social complexity means that because of complex interdependencies, the effort to solve one aspect of the problem may reveal or create other problems. More >>

Saving Democracy: An Overview of Reforms. It is widely understood that what comes out of the results end of this Rube Goldberg sausage-making monstrosity we call democracy and government often bears little resemblance to the voters' and taxpayers' intentions and expectations on the input side. Because the results also so often bear little resemblance to the promises of dissembling politicians, the disappointment, cynicism and bitterness of voters grows. More >>

A Massive Reform Movement Is Building. The table is set for explosive growth of the pro-democracy movement. People are fed up and want this mess cleaned up. If advocates actively push a pro-democracy agenda, resistance to our self-evidently fair and reasonable demands will collapse. An aroused and engaged public would be, in fact, exactly what its advocates claim. Unstoppable. To prevail, broad and inclusive coalitions are being built. Advocates are making a major effort to engage the entire political spectrum, because while this is a battle, the great mass of the people – those on the right and those on the left – support democracy. More >>

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