We the People Uniting on Our Massive Common Ground
June 13, 2017
The media-enflamed war between conservatives and liberals is intensifying. Over the past 20 years, a nearly nonstop media invective against the other party has caused widespread animosity and even hatred in the US and several other countries. But citizens agree on nearly all major issues. All sane people want a strong economy, good jobs, low crime, good education and healthcare, efficient and effective government, a clean environment and good international relations. If we agree on these and many other issues, why is there so much division, fighting and ill will in society? The answer largely is that people have been misled and emotionally manipulated into disliking each other.
The main Founders of the US, except Alexander Hamilton, were greatly alarmed by the establishment of political parties. They did not want the new union divided into acrimonious factions. In his Farewell Address, George Washington called political parties the worst enemy of elected government. He warned that vested interests would use them to divide citizens, suppress their ability to rule themselves and unfairly concentrate public wealth. He was correct. This is exactly what happened. When the people are divided, we are conquered. Political party-induced division prevents citizens from gaining the majorities needed to take back control of government from vested interests.
Excessive time, money and other resources are wasted on trying to defeat the other party. Many citizens believe that the most important action needed to improve society is to put the other party back in power or keep the current one in power. But both major political parties in the US largely are controlled by wealthy campaign donors.
The 1976 landmark Supreme Court case Buckley v. Valeo weakened campaign finance laws in ways that enabled wealthy citizens to have greater control of government. From the 1930s to 1970s, the economy, productivity and wages largely rose together. But this changed after Buckley. As the wealthy gained greater control of government, wages stagnated while the economy and productivity continued to grow. Since the 1980s, regardless of which party was in power, wealth was concentrated at the top of society. At the same time, flat wages, declining job and retirement security, and rising prices made life more difficult for average citizens.
The fighting between two major political parties is a sham that has existed for nearly all of US history. Since the 1980s, both parties largely have implemented a big business-first philosophy. The economy and stock market grew. But nearly all benefits of this growth were concentrated at the top of society.
The division between Republicans and Democrats is deceptive because citizens from both parties mainly want the same things, both parties largely are implementing the same strategy and both serve the same master. In violation of our Constitution, that master is not We the People. It is the small group of wealthy citizens and corporations that spend substantial amounts on election campaigns and largely control government, media and the economy.
These wealthy citizens and corporations are not the enemy. They do not intent to harm society. Their intention virtually always is to improve it. The true enemies of humanity are our narrow-minded, reductionistic thinking and the flawed economic and political systems that result from it. These myopic systems unintentionally place economic growth and shareholder returns before everything else, including the survival of humanity. This forces well-intentioned business and political leaders to take actions that degrade the environment and society.
A whole system series of books called Global System Change describes how to evolve our economic and political systems into sustainable forms and achieve long-term, widespread prosperity in the US and other countries. The final book in the series, Global System Change: We the People Achieving True Democracy, Sustainable Economy and Total Corporate Responsibility, extensively discusses the most important action needed to establish true democracy and widespread prosperity in the US – uniting citizens.
We the People (citizens collectively) are the most powerful force in society. The US Founders intended to establish true democracy that would be a shining light for the rest of the world. The US Constitution makes clear that all the power of government comes from the people. But shortly after the founding of the US, political parties short-circuited the Founders’ intentions, subverted democracy and enabled vested interests to largely control government and society.
As discussed in Global System Change, through many forms of corporate welfare, at least several trillion dollars of public wealth are transferred every year to the wealthy citizens and corporations that control government. As public wealth is unfairly concentrated at the top of society, public education, infrastructure and many other important aspects of society decline. Life becomes more difficult for low and middle-income citizens when the public wealth is not used to equally and fairly benefit everyone.
The Founders intended to establish democracy in principle (i.e. all citizens equally control government). But they knew that democracy in practice was an unworkable form of government for more than small groups. Average citizens usually do not have the time needed to study complex issues and make well-informed decisions that maximize the long-term well-being of society. This highlights a primary concern of the Founders about democracy – the ease with which non-expert citizens can be misled. The inability to study complex economic, political, social and environmental issues in depth makes citizens highly vulnerable to vested interest deceptions.
To avoid this weakness of democracy, the Founders structured the US as a constitutional republic. In the same way that citizens rely on doctors, electricians and other experts, they were intended to rely on expert politicians who study complex issues and make decisions that broadly benefit society. But again, political parties and inappropriate government influence short-circuited this intended functioning of government. Republican and Democratic politicians largely do not serve the citizens who elected and supposedly control them. As noted, they mainly serve the wealthy citizens and corporations that paid to put them in office and the political parties that largely control their voting.
Radical media is a primary factor dividing and disempowering citizens. From 1949 to 1987, the Fairness Doctrine required major media outlets to present both sides of controversial issues. But this honest portrayal of reality limited the ability of vested interests to mislead, divide and disempower citizens. As a result, business-controlled government removed the Fairness Doctrine. Radical media argued that the law limited free speech. But free speech is not an unrestricted right.
Media does not have a right to provide biased, deceptive information that misleads and divides citizens. Radical media often misleads people into focusing on smaller problems, such as abuse of social welfare programs, and ignoring much larger ones, including corporate welfare, business control of government and destruction of life support systems. This media deception enables vested interests to unfairly take the public wealth and remove the people’s power to rule themselves.
Perpetuating the media and political party-driven civil war between conservatives and liberals will drive the ongoing degradation of society. This division is the glue that holds our unsustainable house of cards together. Uniting citizens is the only way to establish true democracy, reverse the degradation of society and use the public wealth to equally and fairly benefit all citizens. The Republican and Democratic parties cannot unite society. Both parties have too much baggage. Many people have been emotionally manipulated into hating citizens and leaders in the other party. They never will work with the other side.
Global System Change: We the People discusses why a third option is needed – an option that is truly focused on benefiting all citizens – a We the People movement. The book extensively describes how citizens are falsely divided by radical, deceptive media. It also discusses how a We the People movement can be established and operated.
Life has been getting more difficult for nearly all average citizens since the 1980s. This degradation of society will not end until We the People begin to work together on our massive common ground. Global System Change: We the People describes how we can achieve the truly prosperous democracy that our Founders intended.
Frank Dixon oversaw the sustainability analysis and rating of the world’s 2,000 largest companies for many years as the Managing Director of Research at Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, formerly the largest corporate sustainability research firm in the world. Institutional investors used Innovest research to develop high-performing socially responsible investing products. Extensive corporate sustainability experience made it clear that flawed systems compel all companies to degrade the environment and society. Frank Dixon developed the TCR® approach to provide a practical and profitable way for companies and investors to engage in system change. Following Innovest, he provided sustainability and system change consulting to companies in the US and Europe. Most recently, he wrote the Global System Change series of books. Using a whole system approach, the books describe the major economic, political and social system changes needed to achieve sustainability and real prosperity.
Frank Dixon has an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Copyright © 2017 Frank Dixon