The most important thing we can do for our democracy is to be active!
Right now we are seeing a large scale attack on the foundations of our democracy. Elections are no longer competitive; they are rigged to allow greater voting power to some. It has been a century since we updated the number of people representing us in the federal government, which means less representation across the board. More importantly, in many places individuals are being blocked from voting. Some people can’t vote at all. It is time for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia to have a say in our government. This erosion of our citizen rights didn’t happen by accident. It was orchestrated, and it is time to recognize and understand the powerful dynamics behind this.
What is Not Working?
First it didn’t happen because there is more money on the right. In Meaghan Winter’s All Politics Is Local: Why Progressives Must Fight for the States highlights how left-leaning funders far outspend right-leaning funders. However, they are more reluctant to fund anything that has political overtones. They chose instead to fund safely non-political social programs. Whereas right-leaning funders far more often fund political activity.
Further, according to Winters, left leaning individuals are more mobilized and energized when they are losing. That’s right, if things are going well, they tend to ignore the political situation and assume it will continue to operate in a healthy way. Right leaning individuals are far more likely to spend their money on changing the system. They are focused on winning.
More importantly, the winning the right-leaning individuals who are dominating the GOP these days are focused on is about winning by weakening our very democracy. The GOP has slowly adopted a predominately libertarian philosophy that is focused on eliminating social safety nets and programs for the poor and in fact any government regulation or program that isn’t specifically focused on protecting individual property rights and capital. This isn’t the GOP that operated in my father’s day. This is a new brand of GOP.
Meanwhile the Democrats have been slowly dissipating their presences in states. As the GOP has perfected it s messaging and created a firm base of support. Democrats have been absent. “The Democratic Party, and other independent political groups, had spent their energy mobilizing voters, rather than organizing them…and that was the heart of the problem. Mobilizing meant encouraging people to show up to perform a short-term function like voting or protesting. Organizing meant getting people together, empowering them, giving them the responsibility and freedom to bring in more people, expand the agenda, take on more work.” (No More Nice Dems by Joseph O’Neill).
We need strong Communities
This is why I believe we need to mobilize and organize. We need to be active and involved in our democracy. The old adage stands, use it or lose it. I will be fighting to ensure Wright County continues to be a healthy community where people live enriched lives. We need the resources that provide us with opportunities for growth such as education, job availability and sustainability for our farming community. We also need strong family structures, including available and affordable healthcare, childcare, adequate housing, food security, safe transportation systems and we need to take care of our elders. We live in rural Minnesota for a reason, we need sustainable systems that support our natural resources and the ability to use them.
Most importantly we need to make sure these systems work for all. There are too many in Wright County who cannot find affordable housing and who try to survive on incomes that are not sustainable. This is especially true for our elderly and for our young adults. While unemployment rates are at all-time lows, underemployment still plagues many young adults trying to survive on wages that don’t cover the cost of living. Our families are also struggling as the cost and availability of childcare has become a serious concern. If we want a community that is for all, we have to fight for this! We have to demand that government works for us! We can have a strong vibrant democracy that embraces the entire community.
Won’t you join me?