Tag Archives: democracy

Starve the Beast and Watch it Eat Itself

The following piece appeared in Addicting Info by Don Hamel (link here). I took some editing liberties in my reprint. The first point is relevant, there is a big hoo-hah about whether we are a democracy or a republic (note the root words for our two party system – they’d both like to be the driving value that is considered to be ultimately American). The truth is that we are a constitutionally limited democratic republic.

This term “constitutionally limited democratic republic” means that #1 the Constitution is our founding document and authority, #2 we have a representative government – each individual citizens does not vote on each piece of legislation, so we elect people to act on our behalf, and #3 those representatives are supposed to be elected democratically – by the people for the people.

I agree with the author that the heart of our nation lies in democratic ideology. Indeed many of the current movements – Move to Amend, Occupy, Transition Towns, even many Tea Partiers are all about increasing citizen empowerment – they’re about democracy. The Citizens United ruling that granted corporate personhood is the backdoor that allows a corporation to pretend like they are also a citizen that is looking for some individual empowerment and wants to take liberties (and oh boy do they!).

I know some readers love to point out the disadvantages of having government involved in our daily lives, my question is, would you rather it be replaced with an entity just as large – or larger – but with a mission statement that clearly does not have the best interest of humans in mind. This question is especially poignant in the case of that entity providing human services. Also my question is: does their ideology make them comfortable with watching people suffer and die as a result of losing those human services if the “beast” really could be drowned in the proverbial bathtub?

My value system does not allow me to be comfortable at all with our status quo. My ideology and value system is outraged at every life taken by military force whether it is through direct targeting, “friendly fire”, or the poison that is put into the earth and slowly kills those around it. My values are insulted at every belch of toxic waste onto this beautiful planet. My conscience screams out as cyclical poverty leads to ignorant, desperate people, who hurt each other in their struggle for survival. My religious upbringing tells me to love my neighbor, feed my people, and to give and forgive. My spiritual being feels sucker punched when I see our prison industrial complex, our military industrial complex, and all of our our fear based industrial complexes. I am deeply disturbed at how our collective greed and laziness have allowed disposable gadgets to outweigh the value of the human being – depending on what socio-economic benefit can be rendered from them.

That’s why I can’t stay silent about the injustices happening to me and my fellow humans. What follows is Don Hamel’s piece; here’s what he has to say about it: Continue reading

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Nation or Salvation?

Saving souls and governing democratically don’t mix – at least both cannot exist as a top priority in one’s mind as a governing leader. Either saving souls is more important or the principles of democracy are, because the concept of “salvation” in the Christian church is not a democratic notion. Salvation means submitting to not only God, but to the long list of rules that salvation centered religions have pushed as a requirement for salvation.

Mormonism is the center of curiosity today because it is Mitt Romney’s religion and he just semi-officially became “the contender” for President on behalf of the Republican party. If you’re not in Utah, Mormons aren’t very evident in daily American life, they aren’t as numerous, loud, or show stealing as evangelicals tend to be. If we are going to be governed by a man who believes as Mormons do, we have a need to know what Mormons believe. Continue reading

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Snake in the Brain

The human brain is pretty amazing. We have the capacity to write beautiful sonatas, engineer skyscrapers, and achieve flight. In such higher level thinking we must be conceptual and rely on an extensive network of pre-existing neural pathways, their beginnings started with our first breath. Whether our cleverness is about natural born talents or acquired knowledge, the finer achievements in human history are a product of thoughts that went way beyond finding food, heat, water, security, reproduction and sex. The part of the brain that impels us to meet those most basic needs – voluntary or involuntary – is called the “reptilian brain”. As sophisticated as our higher level deliberations may be, our reptilian brains are always in charge. One reason why media, campaigns, and messaging in general – especially Republican created- works on us is because it speaks to our reptilian brain. Democrats tend to appeal to higher level thinking and lose the battle for the mind.

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