Lawrence, KS - Events Local News Groups Contact
Our Next President Should Support Direct Democracy
By Indy Media / filmsforaction.org
By Joel S. Hirschhorn. From COA News.org.

Though many local and 24 state governments provide rules for some ballot measures and initiatives, they have been limited by diverse establishment, status quo political interests on the left and right that feel threatened by such populist citizen power.

I was impressed by the recent Wall Street Journal article by John Fund: The Far Left’s War on Direct Democracy (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121702588516086143.html?mod=todays_columnists). He made the point that direct democracy, though sorely needed, has been successfully crushed by ugly tactics from those interests that would rather use their money and influence to control legislative and other government functions. They fear citizen power. They know how to control elections and manipulate voters. “Unfortunately, some special interests have declared war on the initiative process, using tactics ranging from restrictive laws to outright thuggery,” said Fund.

I agree with Fund’s summation: “Representative government will remain the enduring feature of American democracy, but the initiative process is a valuable safety valve. …attempts to arbitrarily curb the initiative, or to intimidate people from exercising their right to participate, must be resisted. It's a civil liberties issue that should unite people of good will on both the right and left.”

If this sounds reasonable to you, then the appropriate question to ask of presidential candidates is straightforward: Do you support providing more direct democracy opportunities?

Indeed, many people want some way of creating a federal ballot initiative mechanism whereby the misdeeds or inaction of government could be addressed by Americans voting directly to get the transparent and accountable government and effective public policies they want. A national ballot measure to end the Iraq war would have succeeded in 2006, for example. Putting Democrats in control of Congress did not work. Do we need the ability to recall a president because of dishonesty, incompetence and wrongheaded policies? Yes.

Also consider that the two-party plutocracy has been able to stifle political opposition by making third party and independent candidates unable to grasp any real power, as they can do in most other democracies.

In thinking about direct democracy I was reminded of the all too prevalent view that Barack Obama will challenge the traditional, money dominated two-party control of Washington politics. So, I pose this challenge to Obama: If you truly represent a force for fixing a divisive and ineffective political system, then why don’t you explicitly come out in favor of creating more direct democracy opportunities? Why not condemn all attempts to crush ballot measures and initiatives? And why not help start a national discussion of the possibility of a federal ballot initiative mechanism?
COA Tool Box

* delicious | digg | reddit | magnoliacom | newsvine | furl | google | yahoo | technoratilogin or register to post comments
* email this page
* printer friendly version
* Subscribe to Joel S. Hirschhorn posts
* Receive COA News headlines by e-mail:

When over 80 percent of Americans see the nation on the wrong track it is fair to conclude that representative government has failed. The two-party plutocracy has too much power. This is the ideal time to recognize the limits of electoral, representative democracy and become an advocate for more direct democracy.

President Theodore Roosevelt, in 1912, wisely observed "I believe in the Initiative and Referendum, which should be used not to destroy representative government, but to correct it whenever it becomes misrepresentative." Direct democracy is all about converting the notion of sovereignty of we the people into reality.

It comes to this: Should we be content to put our faith in elected representative or should we put it in ourselves? When you vote for candidates you don’t put your faith in yourself, you put it in them. Haven’t we been disappointed enough in those elected? We have less to fear from the will of the majority than from the actions of dishonest, corrupt and plutocracy-serving elected officials.

For political reform seeking Americans the litmus test for presidential candidates should be whether they support more direct democracy. If Obama is not just about rhetorical change, but a true reformer of the political system, then we need to hear from him on this issue.

Let him explain whether or not he supports what Ralph Nader does, who has said that presidential candidates should “put front and center empowering the American people in direct democracy format so they can move in when their so-called representatives cave in to the interests of big business. …Campaign finance reform has got to go hand in hand with direct democracy like initiative, referendum, recall.” His current platform says that we need “more direct democracy reflecting the preamble to our constitution which starts with ‘we the people,’ and not ‘we the corporations.’”

Can you imagine Obama saying these things? I can’t.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Joel S. Hirschhorn can be reached through www.delusionaldemocracy.com.]
0.0 ·
0
What's Next
Trending Today
Dakota Access Pipeline Permit Denied
Nika Knight · 5,128 views today · 'For the first time in Native American history, they heard our voices.'
90 Inspiring and Visionary Films That Will Change How You See the World in Profound Ways
Tim Hjersted · 4,131 views today · The world today is in crisis. Everybody knows that. But what is driving this crisis? It's a story, a story that is destroying the world. It's a story about our relationship to...
93 Documentaries to Expand Your Consciousness
Films For Action · 3,544 views today · There are over 800 documentaries now cataloged in our library of social change films. That's probably way too many for any mortal to ever watch in a lifetime, let alone a few...
Why Are Media Outlets Still Citing Discredited 'Fake News' Blacklist?
Adam Johnson · 3,262 views today · The Washington Post (11/24/16) last week published a front-page blockbuster that quickly went viral: Russia-promoted “fake news” had infiltrated the newsfeeds of 213 million...
How Romanticism Ruined Love
5 min · 1,997 views today · The set of ideas we can call Romanticism is responsible for making our relationships extremely difficult. We shouldn’t give up on love; we should just recognize that it’s more...
The Orwellian War on Skepticism
Robert Parry · 1,876 views today · Official Washington’s rush into an Orwellian future is well underway as political and media bigwigs move to silence Internet voices of independence and dissent, reports Robert...
Projext X: Using Leaked Documents to Reveal the NSA's New York Spy Hub, Hidden in Plain Sight
10 min · 1,859 views today · A top-secret handbook takes viewers on an undercover journey to Titanpointe, the site of a hidden partnership. Narrated by Rami Malek and Michelle Williams, and based on...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,746 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Where Do You Draw the Line? (2016)
60 min · 1,529 views today · Why is the Ecuadorian government proposing to extract oil in an area frequently classified by ecologists as one of the most bio-diverse rainforest regions left intact on earth?...
Twelve Things To Remember After The US Election, From Front Line Organizers
Bill Quigley · 1,376 views today · When you find yourself in a suddenly darkened room, what do you do?   Some rush blindly to where they think the door might be.  Others stand still, let their eyes get...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,019 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Law Professor's Epic Response to Black Lives Matter Shirt Complaint
Social Design Notes · 946 views today · A first year law school student wrote a complaint about her professor having worn a Black Lives Matter T-shirt during class. The professor’s response is priceless. Scans of...
Lifting the Veil:  Obama and the Failure of Capitalist Democracy (2011)
114 min · 927 views today · This film explores the historical role of the Democratic Party as the "graveyard of social movements", the massive influence of corporate finance in elections, the absurd...
The Fight for Clean Water (#NoDAPL)
2 min · 877 views today · Clean water or Corporate profits? What’s more important? #NoDAPL Energy Transfer Partners: (214) 981-0700 U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers: (202) 761-0010; (202)...
United Natures: a United Nations of all Species (2013)
103 min · 707 views today · United Natures explores the Rights of Mother Earth, Environmental Philosophy, Wisdom, Spirituality and the potential for a Neo-indigenous future for humanity. Directed and...
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 696 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
Social Media Echo Chambers: Here's How Most of Us are Living in One
2 min · 673 views today · Americans are blocking out the friends and news sites that won't confirm their views.
This Short Film Plays Out Like an Epic Movie That Will Shake Your Soul - But the Movie Is Real, and We are The Actors
6 min · 530 views today · For next year, we need a resolution capable of confronting the crisis we face, and making a future worth fighting for. This short film looks back on the crisis and confusion...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 483 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Dreaming Beyond Capitalism: a Culture Without Fear
Martin Winiecki · 424 views today · In the 1990s an unusual encounter took place in the Ecuadorian Amazon. In plant rituals, shamans of the Achuar, a tribe living in pristine forest that had never been in touch...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Our Next President Should Support Direct Democracy