A Declaration of Independents

Share this post...

Submit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
A Declaration of Independents: A New Kind of Politics
by Jack Random
Barack Obama has claimed the nomination of his party for the presidency largely on the promise of a new kind of politics, one that transcends traditional party lines. 
Obama and Republican John McCain will be competing in the fall for the decisive independent voters. 
So who are the independents?
We are individuals who are hungry for change.  We believe the government does not represent our interests.  We believe our country is headed for hard times.  We are not all the scapegoat reactionaries or gullible followers that so many media personalities think we are.  We do not want war.  We want peace and prosperity for all. 

We are pragmatic populist progressive libertarians.  We are pragmatic in our approach to political change, populist in that we believe the government has an obligation to listen to the people even when it does not want to hear the message, progressive in that we believe in the working class, in equal rights and equal opportunity.  We are libertarian because we believe that no government should impose on the private affairs of its citizens. 

Our pragmatism dictates that we are tempered in our expectations.  We will not push for programs, reforms or legislation that has no realistic chance of being enacted.  For example, we recognize that government sponsored health insurance (a single-payer system) is the ultimate solution to our health and medical care crisis but we also know that there is not a sufficient base of support to overcome the inevitable charge of “socialized medicine” – no matter how specious the accusation. 

The politics of pragmatism means that in deference to other social, political and economic interests, we do not expect any branch of government to settle the questions of same sex marriage or a woman’s right to choose abortion.  We do not believe these issues should decide the composition of our next government. 

The politics of pragmatism, however, does not value and will not accept pandering.  We expect our leaders to state their positions, express their values and explain their beliefs.  We expect you to answer all questions openly and honestly without regard to political expediency. 

We demand that our government listen to the people.  We expect you to listen as intently as politicians traditionally listen to lobbyists and special interests – as if your political lives depended on it.  We expect you to address all issues of great concern to the people.  We expect you to find solutions that you believe have the greatest potential to alleviate today’s problems without creating new problems in the future.  We expect you to balance the common good against the rights of individuals. 

On the issue of national security, we expect a reasoned approach.  We will not sacrifice individual civil liberties.  We do not deny the relationship between American foreign policy and terrorism.  We desire a foreign policy that respects the rights and cultural differences of other nations.  We want an end to the policy of American exceptionalism that claims the right to attack other nations without provocation, that exempts America from the universal laws of all nations and that demands of others what we would not submit to ourselves.  We support diplomacy, international law and international institutions that provide an alternative to military intervention for the resolution of conflicts. 

As we strengthen international institutions and lengthen their reach, we would like to see unnecessary military bases shut down and the resources channeled to other causes that enhance our chances of survival on the planet. 

On the issue of immigration, we recognize the concerns that an open border brings but we do not agree that a wall separating us from our neighbors is a reasonable solution.  We cannot ignore the fundamental truth that nearly all of us are the descendents of unwanted invaders.  A wall is the multi-billion dollar non-solution of pandering politicians who do not want to see the problem go away.  If there were no immigration problem, how would they defend the policies they have promoted for two decades?  If they could not blame illegal immigrants they would have to accept responsibility for the global trade policies that have stolen our jobs and deflated our wages. 

We understand that illegal immigration is a symptom of the disease†that charades under the flag of Free Trade.  We understand that neither a wall nor mass deportation is a practical solution.  The migrant workers who came to this country were responding to the economic realities of their own nations – realities that were created by the global economic policy that our leaders in the White House and congress not only supported but sponsored. 

We want our government to fight for international labor laws, including the right to living wages, and the means to enforce them.  We want you to fight against anti-labor laws in our own nation that falsely proclaim the “right to work” as they set up barriers to union organization. 

In the case of China, a nation that parlays unfair trade, environmental recklessness and exploited workers to economic dominance, that owns our debt and possesses the means to control our currency, we recognize that we cannot reverse the damage that has been done over decades in a day, a year or even four or eight years but we must begin the reversal now. 

In the cases of India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Latin American and African nations, whose workers have been exploited to their ultimate detriment as well as ours, we should form a Fair Trade alliance to effect more immediate change, inviting the European Union and other nations to form a united front against the Free Trade mandate of the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.  We expect our government to take lead this effort. 

On the issue of climate change and environmental protection, we recognize that time is short and will not wait for economic reform.  In the last few decades we have witnessed an acceleration of global warming and natural catastrophes.  We can no longer afford to debate the relative responsibility of human causes; we must act now. 

Recognizing that we have done more than any other nation and probably more than all nations combined to fill the planet’s atmosphere with toxic pollutants, we hold a disproportionate responsibility to lead a green revolution. 

Unlike labor standards and living wages, we cannot take a gradual approach to this crisis.  We cannot allow China, India or any other developing nations to pursue the same industrial path that we followed in the last century.  We must therefore enable all nations to follow a new path, a path of clean energy, a path that utilizes all the planet’s resources in solar, geothermal, wind and other renewable sources, a path that maximizes fuel efficiency, localized production and global mass transit. 

America can lead this monumental effort by redirecting the resources we have devoted to weapons of mass destruction and war or watch other nations lead while our economy continues to struggle against the tide of planetary evolution.  We can lead by moving the world away from the growing threat and inevitable catastrophe of nuclear energy.  As recent history has instructed us, nuclear energy begets nuclear weapons.  We can afford neither and we must take the lead in disarming and dismantling both with dedicated and sincere resolve. 

While we lead the world in this critical transformation, we cannot ignore the degradation of human values that has eroded our standing abroad even as it has weakened us at home.  Liberty and justice can no longer be slogans for military invasion even as the rights of citizens are sacrificed at home to the false gods of patriotism and security. 

On this there can be no compromise.  The right to privacy in one’s property, communications and personal affairs must be guarded religiously.  The right to dissent in words and actions must be upheld.  Freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of speech and the right to assemble in protest must be defended.  The Patriot Act must be exposed for what it is:  A pretext for enabling the most abusive government intrusion into the private lives of its citizens in all of human history. 

We believe in a press that cannot be bought and will not be used as a government propaganda agent.  We believe that every media outlet has a solemn responsibility to investigate and report the facts without fear of consequence.  We believe that media reform ensuring the independence and diversity of the press is essential to a functioning democracy. 

We believe in the right of individuals to be free from government invasion and interference in all cases except where a clear and compelling cause can be demonstrated to an impartial judicial authority. 

We have not thrived as a nation by backtracking on the fundamental rights of our founding.  Instead, we have always struggled to expand our rights and liberties and to defend them against the inevitable assault of our enemies. 

At this critical time in our history, we must recognize that once again our most dangerous enemies are not those who would strike us from afar but those who live within our borders.  These enemies wear the masks of our defenders.  They have won positions of power and influence and they have launched a determined attack at the core of our greatness. 

These enemies are not new to the American story.  They were the profiteers and British loyalist during the revolution.  They were the authors of the Alien and Sedition Acts.  They were the traders and plantation masters who went to war rather than yield a way of life built on the exploitation of slaves.  They were the corporate monopolists that suppressed labor with hired thugs.  They were the McCarthy era fear mongers forcing citizens of every stripe to sign loyalty oaths and blacklisting those who resisted.  They were the white supremacists preaching a gospel of intolerance, spreading terror with lynching and imposing their will with laws of segregation and disenfranchisement.  They were the traditionalists who fought back women’s suffrage and continue to fight women’s rights and civil rights and opportunity for the least privileged among us. 

The enemies of American freedom have always lived within our borders, disguised as friends and neighbors, waiting for the opportunity to press their cause of oppression.  They always claim the moral high ground, always wear the badge of patriotism and always proclaim themselves defenders of the American way. 

The enemies of America have come out of the shadows once again and it is the duty of every loyal citizen to oppose them with all the resolve and unity that we would summon to oppose a foreign invader. 

We are at a crossroads.  Perhaps all generations believe that theirs is the greatest challenge and all are largely correct.  For as long as more and greater weapons are being developed without a reciprocal development of diplomacy and humanitarian values, the world of the future will always be more dangerous until at last the die is cast and we have crossed the threshold of no return. 

I fear as we should all fear that we are approaching that threshold.  That is the challenge we must embrace.  That is the reason we will overcome all barriers to achieve a world that other generations have only dreamed: because we must, we will. 



Share this post...

Submit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn