Is Cooperation Possible to Build a Caring Economy? It Takes Strong Empathy to Make Progress.
No one should be asked to compromise their most cherished values, yet compromise is often thought of as what governing is about. Effective government makes progress with human rights to expand freedom and fairness for all -- it's what being a progressive means. The human rights values laid down in the second, very long sentence of our American Declaration of Independence laid out no compromise with King George, but an idea around which all Americans, regardless of party, could cooperate. **
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
To Effect Their Safety and Happiness.
These are pretty awesome American goals if you ask me. You'll notice what this second sentence did NOT say. It did not say
to effect stronger job creators.
It did not say
to effect a stronger middle class.
In fact, freedom and fairness for all, at least according to African American historian and author of Our Declaration, Danielle Allen, was laid down as the ideas and values all Americans should aspire to and cooperate around, as they would later say, "In order to form a more perfect Union. . ."
It wasn't perfect at the time. Women couldn't vote. Slavery existed (and unfortunately still does in many parts of our world). But the empathic ideas of safety and happiness for everyone was something around which EVERYONE was called on to cooperate to make happen. Such actions and government and laws were a "public good" and why many states were called "common wealths." So here is an idea for caring citizens of both major parties to work on together.
Reframe the Villain
When our founders enumerated to the world their list of grievances, the number one grievance was the elimination of the public good. Here's how they said it:
"The history of the the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."
Is the threat to America's public good really the opposing party? Really? When I talk to friends of either party, who have no intention of changing parties, most of them believe in a public good, i.e. public schools, public health, public service. The idea of an expanding common wealth to invest in our public good has not gone away from the minds of American caring citizens. So how do we cooperate to strengthen the public good for a better and more fulfilling private life.
I suggest we reframe the villain.
The villain to the public good in America is not a Republican or Democratic per se. The villains are the privateers and their accomplices, who can be found in every party. Privateers and their accomplices are alive and well and THEY do not CARE for anyone but themselves. AND, they do NOT want a strong effective public government. They are ON the record saying all the time that nothing should have authority over the market, which they obscenely say is the creation of a Christian god. That means public government, the people, should not have authority over the market. That moral worldview is a bankrupt morality and should be replaced with a caring economy based on empathy and responsibility to self and others. Our consultant, George Lakoff, devoted an entire chapter to privateers in The Political Mind. He wrote:
“Privateering is a special case of privatization in which the capacity of government to carry out critical moral missions is systematically destroyed within government itself, while public funds are used to provide capital for private corporations to take over those critical functions of government and to charge the public a great deal for doing so, while avoiding all accountability.”
You can read more about how to end privateering here. Privateering is not an American phenomenon. It is global threat. So the following resolution is offered as something caring citizens involved with any political party could do to combat privateering and help build an empathy surplus. You can start with your own spheres of influence. If that includes a political party, you could encourage your county and state political parties to embrace and pass the following resolution.