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We are now in a crisis and in danger of losing democracy. ...
We are now in a crisis and in danger of losing democracy. We've lost our voice in government, education and almost everything else in society. But we have now entered the age of communications and information technology. We have the Internet, and with it, we are discovering the potential for democracy.
As we are exposed to another double dose of presidential elections and the two-party system of divisive political rancor and shameless pandering, many of us are thinking about solutions for a history of expanding government that has simply grown beyond our control.
That said, consider this: Amend the Constitution to establish nonpartisan direct representative democracy with secure voting networks connected to voter's homes. Rather than politicians selling themselves to partisan factions and corporate interests, we would select and elect highly qualified and well-compensated professional government managers to represent our common sense interests in self-government.
With direct democracy we can reclaim government, education and a divided society with common sense, mutual understanding and cooperation. Indeed, we need to move from the cynical divisions of America versus the United States, to the unity of the United States of America. That's what direct democracy is all about.
|Solution to America's Crisis: A Simple Amendment||ix|
|State of the Union||1|
|The 2000 elections and the two-party system||7|
|The people are kept ignorant and insignificant||11|
|The injustice system||14|
|Declaration of Independence||17|
|Thomas Paine's American dream||18|
|Civics lesson on government||20|
|Are we a democracy or a republic?||22|
|Crushing History and Free Speech||28|
|Stomping on democracy||42|
|Direct Democracy in our Town||46|
|Change of the Political Guard 1994||49|
|Partisan terrorism, 1996 style||49|
|The Direct Democracy Center||51|
|Debate with an educator?||54|
|Constitutional crisis, 1998-1999 style Partisan politics and the two-party system||59|
|Author's petitions to the Supreme Court. End the two-party System||61|
|Comparisons of the way America was and the way we are||65|
|The debate begins with a gagged public||69|
|Real democracy from C-Span||72|
|Our Titanic dilemma||74|
|Common sense tells us we must complete the American Revolution||77|
|The First Democracy||80|
|Why representative democracy failed||85|
|Aristotle's Types of States||92|
|What's so bad about the way things are?||95|
|Economic euphoria and political irresponsibility||95|
|History could repeat itself||102|
|Corporate America and the monopoly factor||106|
|The Internet and the revolution||110|
|Free speech abuses||117|
|Big government and the two-party system is bad government||122|
|Paine would say finish the revolution||127|
|Elements of direct democracy||130|
|Voter initiatives and referendums||133|
|Uninformed polling fraud||141|
|No more campaign finance corruption||142|
|The tyranny of the majority is nonsense||147|
|Voter apathy is another myth||150|
|Tyranny of the minority is real||151|
|The Kennedy legacy||169|
|The next generation||172|
|Generation of people power||174|
|Superficial society of selfish interests and extremes||178|
|Who do you trust?||186|
|The direct democracy of citizen home rule||187|
|Liberals, moderates and conservatives||189|
|Citizen coalition of the vote||192|
|What worries us and what we can do about it||193|
|The political trail of the 1992 elections leads to direct democracy||198|
|Beating up on Clinton||200|
|And Hillary too||214|
|The China syndrome||217|
|Judgement Year 2000||218|
|The John McCain factor||223|
|The legacy of Thomas Paine||223|
|The Pericles connection||224|
|Who will our leaders and heroes be?||227|
|The media decides elections and influences public policy||229|
|The Elian Gonzales factor||234|
|We're up against the new elite establishment||238|
|Super citizens on the information highway||245|
|The Ventura-Perot factor||249|
|An amendment for all the people||252|
|Public airways and the news media||256|
|Wake the sleeping giant of democracy||257|
|Direct democracy is inevitable||258|
|Speak the language and get results||259|
|Turn the media and government around||261|
|Repeal the income tax amendment and establish a fair sales tax||263|
|Break government's destructive monopoly on education||266|
|It's time for school choice and privatization of education||268|
|It's the curriculum stupid!||274|
|Direct education is inevitable--Do it now!||278|
|Direct education books||286|
|Relief from property taxes||288|
|The fraud of higher education||291|
|Our experiences with education||295|
|Imagination and common sense||297|
|A.||The proposed 28th Amendment||304|
|B.||Petition for the proposed 28th Amendment||308|
|C.||State model ballot initiative amendment||310|
|D.||Supreme Court petitions for nonpartisan government||313|
|E.||Author's letters to the editor published in major newspapers||332|
Crisis in America runs so deep and wide that it simply cannot be entirely explained in one book. But I'll do the best I can, including what I'm convinced is the solution.
America is steeped in uncertainty, enveloped in a fading democracy and weakened by the lack of education. Through the last half of this century our society has been assaulted by selfish interests and battered by the failures of good intentions. We have been subjected to political terrorism, social aggression, legal anarchy and media-driven chaos. Our public schools have become factories of ignorance and warehouses of violence. Yet through it all the vast majority of us have remained silent.
We are now in a crisis and in danger of losing democracy. We've lost our voice in government, education and almost everything else in society. But we have now entered the age of communications and information technology. We have the Internet, and with it, we are discovering democracy all over again.
Unless the power of electronic democracy is taken away from us, the Internet can make direct democracy and direct education possible, even inevitable. Rapid advances in network technology means that voting networks and education networks could be connected to all of our homes. But unless we make it happen sooner than later we run the risk of losing democracy entirely.
Our democratic republic is supposed to be based on maintaining a balance between order and freedom. The Constitution intended government to be strong enough to preserve order, but to leave society free enough to prevent tyranny. Over the last half of the 20th century a silent crisis has developed in America that has seriously upset that balance. Too many people and factions have abused their freedoms at the expense of the tolerant majority. As a result, government has become too reactionary, too tyrannical and too large. The causes and effects are obvious, yet clouded by the growing intensity of the problems we face.
Most of what the people know about the conditions in America is what they are exposed to through the news media and entertainment. Most of what people really know about is through their personal experiences. Things may or may not appear to be all that bad, but when it comes to the real condition of our society, it's much worse.
The news media and entertainment industries show us little more than endless dramas of tragedies, victims and survivors to play upon our compassion. They feed on our passion with sex, our anger with outrage and our fears with violence. And they create and exploit instant celebrities with highly competitive mass marketing. The corporate news media and entertainment industries combined are, indeed, a vast wasteland. It doesn't matter what they tell us. It only matters what they can sell us.
The media fills television and radio with talking heads speaking volumes and saying nothing. Even worse, they punch the hot buttons of controversy at every opportunity, inciting public outrage and encouraging reactionary government responses with bad politics and bad laws.
America has suffered a severe loss of direction and social order.
Government panders to the public with one face, saturates us with lies and deceit with the other, then does what it wants. The result has been the steady growth of government oppression.
What has been hidden is the national erosion of a failing democracy.
If we can agree on anything, it might be this: Most of us are suffering from the fallout of political turmoil, social aggression and economic stress. Many people are being denied because of a failed education system. Most of us are in need of a simple amendment to the stress in our lives. Something that can make it less complicated. Something that's more fulfilling, with purpose and a secure future.
If you're honestly happy and content with your life, this book may not be for you. Just remember that things can change, and they do. That which has driven this seemingly great economy for so long can collapse. It has happened many times before and it will again, in a whisper.
Much of this robust economy is based upon a seemingly unstoppable stock market, high investment, high paying jobs, low inflation, low interest rates, and low unemployment. But what most of us are really aware of and concerned about (other than education, health care and Social Security) are stagnant wages, the lack personal savings and very little job security.
What we should be even more aware of and concerned about is the silent crisis looming over us. We've allowed ourselves to become vulnerable and complacent in the face of the growing power of our institutions, government and a society eroded by extremes and excess. Many people can't really see it or feel it or understand why. Nevertheless, it's there and it's still happening. It is well known that we've become a people divided against ourselves by apathy and cynicism. We live in a nation confused by social, political and economic contradictions that we have tacitly accepted as beyond our control.
The overwhelming majority of us have remained unwittingly caught in a submissive web. The silent crisis is the systemic loss of democracy to the ravenous appetites of social spiders, corporate predators and ambitious government powers.
As citizens of this democratic republic we're supposed to be in the business of living in a free society with no more government than is absolutely necessary. Sovereign power is supposed to rest with the people. Instead, government has grown into a giant monolithic, politically correct, oppressive corporation, which has usurped the power of the people and nearly completed an aggressive takeover of America.
Contrary to what government would have us believe; nothing will change that fact until we break our silence and take on the responsibility of changing it.
The gravest mistake the American people ever made occurred between 1909 and 1913 when they unwittingly allowed their elected representatives to propose and ratify the 16th Amendment to the Constitution: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration." Therein lies the reason why government (state and federal) has grown into the monster it is today. The power to tax has proven time and time again that it is the power to confiscate, oppress and destroy.
Sheldon Richman wrote a book that should be required reading for every taxpaying American: "Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax." Amity Shlaes wrote a more recent book, which is said to be the year's best book on taxation. "The Greedy Hand, How Taxes Drive Americans Crazy and What to Do About It."
In "The Rights of Man," Thomas Paine wrote about the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping the prosperity of the people. The "Income Tax" Amendment was passed on the promise of limited use and low tax rates. Income tax withholding from each paycheck was first introduced as a "temporary" measure during World War II. Over time we've learned the hard lessons. Taxes are not temporary. Once government takes hold of our income, they never let go and they always want more. The income tax has given the greedy hand of government unlimited power. There's only one way limit that power. Establish a fair taxing system, like a flat tax or consumption tax, and abolish the income tax by repealing the 16th Amendment.
Offered here is a simple solution, although a difficult one to achieve. That solution is true self-government. Real, not imagined, democracy. Nonpartisan direct representative democracy with voting networks connected to voter's homes. It would be genuine self-government, wherein we decide how much government we want and how it works, not by micro-managing government ourselves, but by deciding all matters of taxation and major public policy. Taxation and public policy fuel the engines that drive government and society. It's time for us to be in the driver's seat.
Who do you trust? Do you trust government, corporations and the media to decide your life, your future and your family's future? If the answer to that question is "Yes," then you should read this book and ask yourself the question again.
Do you trust your own judgment to decide what's best for you? Do you trust the collective judgment of your fellow citizens? If the answers to the last two questions are "Yes," then direct democracy is for you.
We could do it with a simple amendment to the Constitution: The 28th Amendment establishing nonpartisan direct representative democracy with secure voting networks connected to voter's homes. For example, here's what the Direct Democracy Amendment might look like:
THE 28TH ARTICLE OF AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES
Nonpartisan Direct Representative Democracy
SECTION 1. All political power is inherent in the people. The people have the right to instruct and direct their elected representatives through secure electronic device voting networks connected to voter's homes and to alter or reform government when the public good requires it. The selection of qualified candidates and all elections shall be conducted over the voting networks. The people shall be truthfully informed by their elected representatives, sufficiently to make informed decisions. The people shall have the power of initiative and referendum. The people shall decide all matters of constitutional amendments, taxation and public policy by two-thirds majority vote.
SECTION 2. All state and federal elective offices shall be nonpartisan and subject to an annual confirmation vote of the people. No political party or party central committee may endorse, support, or oppose a candidate for nonpartisan office.
SECTION 3. The provisions of this article of amendment shall supersede all provisions of this Constitution and laws enacted thereunder in conflict therewith. No article of amendment shall be enacted diminishing citizen's or state's rights enumerated by this Constitution.
That was easy. Direct democracy, one, two, three! Add direct education and it's a whole new world. Now, all we have to do is get it passed as an amendment to the Constitution, proposed by two-thirds of both houses of Congress, or by the legislatures of two-thirds of the states, then ratified by three-fourths of the states. That's not so easy!
In the text that follows, the elements of the silent crisis looming over us, and the way out from under it, are discussed briefly and to the point. The suggested solution, of course, is amending the Constitution with direct democracy and direct education. More suggestions are contained in a detailed proposed amendment located in the Appendix of this book.
So, what are your priorities? How would you feel knowing that you could have made a difference and didn't even try? Then imagine yourself as a well-informed registered voter in the privacy of your home. You're online with a secure voting network, able to participate in deciding the present, your future, and the future for your family and future generations. You can and you will make the difference. Imagine yourself as a citizen of the early 1900's. How would you have voted on the 16th Amendment establishing the income tax? How would you vote on it today?
There are those who will say that direct democracy will not work because of voter apathy, cynicism and self-interest. However, common sense should tell us that voter's self-interest is what will overcome apathy and cynicism, and make direct democracy work.
This book is written in plain language. So, please take a read with me while we re-examine ourselves. It might just prove interesting. It might even save our country. No one else can do it for us. We must do it ourselves.
The cause of the silent crisis is the people's silence. I've broken my silence with published letters to the editor, a direct democracy web site and I'm taking it a step further by speaking out with this book. I couldn't leave my family, my community, my state and my country with anything less.
A Few Thoughts To Remember
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
This book is the exercise of the purest form of free speech. It encompasses both the freedom of speech and the right of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition government for a redress of grievances. It has been said, and how true it is, that the only thing necessary for evil to exist is for good people to remain silent.
The great Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes made many truly profound statements. Among them are: "The mind once expanded to the dimensions of a larger idea never returns to its original size." "Think things, not words." "The answer to bad ideas is good ideas."
"That government is best which governs least." - Thomas Jefferson
If we don't bring America's culture together with direct democracy, our nation will likely implode.
As long as imagination, original thought and common sense exist, hope is not lost.
Posted November 11, 2000
If you feel disenfranchised as a citizen and voter in America, this book may provide the answers you're looking for. Indeed, the current crisis in the presidential election proves the need for more democracy and voter participation in self-government.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.