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Occupy the Path of Corruption
Never before has an election seen political operatives try so hard to convince voters that those with whom they disagree politically are their enemies. The addendum of course being that there is only one party or candidate which can possibly prevent these traitors from destroying our country.
But it is not your peers with whom you argue about politics inhibiting progress on important issues; it is the systemic corruption caused by money in politics. Regardless of which party is in charge, it is the political establishment controlled by special interests that is steering the country towards decline, not those who merely disagree with our political preferences.
Combatting this corruption requires cooperation among traditional political opponents, so it is little wonder politicians and special interests are eager to perpetuate the lie that political opposition is tantamount to treason.
Unfortunately, most of the (rare) attempts made to date seeking to encourage cooperation between political foes have focused primarily on a constitutional amendment. But an amendment is a long, difficult and contentious process, especially for people unaccustomed to working together in a civil and productive manner.
A better approach might be to find agreement on a simple solution that improves the situation in the short-term and which all sides can work towards together. This approach would pay immediate dividends by improving the quality of both public policy and political discourse, while paving the way for additional reform in the future.
Begin by identifying nonpartisan reforms which would shield government decision-making from special interest money. For instance, real and tangible change could be affected by combining a reform to greatly empower the Federal Election Commission (FEC), with a proposal to make Congress more responsive to constituents and expand elected official’s sphere of influence beyond just lobbyists and big money donors.
A beefed-up FEC would replace an agency policing elections about as effectively as Barney Fife would police New York City, with a powerful new authority to fairly oversee the rules of the road by which candidates and elected officials are expected to abide.
The second half of the reform would put constituents and representatives into closer proximity and contact. While not as powerful a change as remaking the FEC, it would nonetheless have a marked effect on people’s perception of the institution of government and their role in it.
Combined, the result is one reform for the head and one for the heart; both being necessary for success.
Whether it is this specific combination of reforms, or others which would achieve a similar outcome, no reform which could actually succeed in ending or abating systemic corruption will ever be made into law by the corrupted establishment. Not willingly anyway. Reforms of this magnitude require large-scale direct action and sufficiently broad popular support before a captured government will ever take action.
The anniversary of the Wall Street occupation reminds us that while perceptions can be altered without a demand, eventually we must take the wheel and steer the course if we ever hope to arrive at the destination we seek. The path to undoing the damage of special interest control of government begins with a demand delivered in such a way that it forces those in power to stand up and take note.
Imagine what would happen if activists from the Tea Party, Occupy movement, and every ideological in-between were to unite in a display of displeasure with the status quo and to issue a demand to repair what has been broken. In so doing, the normal workings of lawmakers and lobbyists in Washington D.C would become effectively paralyzed. Might that do the trick?
Will anything less?
Over the next several months, if reform groups of all stripes united to recruit people to ‘Occupy the Path of Corruption’ between K St. and the Capitol Building in Washington D.C…that would be something even our captured government and its mouthpiece media couldn’t ignore.
Begin the occupation on April 1st. By that point, voters will be awakening to the fact that whatever the outcome of the election, their lives haven’t improved one iota. Plus, the possibilities for April Fools’ Day references are endless (Won’t Get Fooled Again, Fools on the (Capitol) Hill, etc. etc.). Spring will be approaching and it will be a lovely time to occupy the roughly 2-3 miles of stretch of road including K St, surrounding the Capitol Building and the main thoroughfare in-between the two. Volunteers should plan to stay (or have people rotate in) until their demand has been met. Mostly the goal is to be an annoyance and constant reminder to lobbyists and lawmakers as they attempt to go about their business.
Occupy Wall Street correctly targeted a major player pulling the strings in Washington, but K St. is the conduit through which special interests of all stripes exert much of their control. By occupying the actual path of corruption, it makes it crystal clear to the average voter what it is really being targeted; not capitalism or success itself, but how those with money can buy elected officials and rig the system to work against the rest of us.
With government so deep in the pocket of special interests that it is now incapable of doing the people’s business… then ‘We the People’ have the duty to prevent those who have stolen our republic from continuing to sully our good name and act against our collective interests.
The only way this works – and this cannot be stressed enough – is if this is not simply a progressive effort purporting to speak for society at large. To succeed, it must be a broad alliance of people from across the political divide; a much truer representation of the 99.9% than we’ve seen up to this point.
Finding common ground and acting in cooperation on this critically important issue of shared concern would capture the attention of the media and the public in a way no one side can do by itself. It would rightfully strike fear into the hearts of hubristic special interests.
Solutions exist if we can somehow find the strength and will to seize them, even if they involve working with those we normally view as political enemies. If we do not, than we are as much to blame as the special interests taking advantage of the void our apathy has created and our stubbornness allows to persist.