Yes. Coopetition is a word. To #OccupyCompassion in your neighborhood in 2014, #CaringCitizens in Ohio advance democracy as a human right in Compassion Primaries by applying the Charter for Compassion:
“Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries.”
Here’s how Compassion Primaries work:
First, enter the 2014 primary election as a candidate for precinct representative to your respective county political party or as senate district representative to your respective state political party. In Ohio, the filing deadline for those offices is February 5, 4 p.m., at your county board of elections.
Second, as a compassion occupier talk to your fellow party members and share a compassionate vision that moves all parties to accomplish, e.g. healthcare, healthy food, clean elections, clean air and water, and education as a human rights, etc.
Third, invite them to help you find other compassionate members of other political parties to join the “coopetition” to encourage all political parties to focus on compassion and human rights.
Fourth, use the voter lists from your board of elections to invite members of all parties to consider meeting occasionally in inter-party gatherings to identify best practices for the advancement of compassion and human rights.
Metaphors constitute our reality.
When democracy is a human right, citizens cooperate rather than compete. The human rights principles of universality and equity make the idea of losers in a democratic republic abhorrent. Wealth creation and human well-being are used equally to measure economic freedom in a human rights democracy. Liberal market failure exists when compassion, commonwealth and the common good shrink:
“It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain.” - - - from the Charter for Compassion
The current metaphor of “democracy as a product” leads to dirty elections and pain. Privateers are unethical private corporations and unethical wealthy individuals who need enabling insiders in government and party central committees to help them shift the moral mission of an effective and compassionate public government to the privateer. Frequently, enabling insiders give public funds to privateers to operate some task of public government. This removes public accountability, while increasing private profits with public funds. Also, caring citizen business owners encourage each other to help stop privateers and enabling insiders from inflicting pain.
How can one spot enabling insiders inside government or central committees who work sometimes unwittingly with privateers? Some won’t acknowledge compassion and human rights as governing principles that strengthen America. By not practicing the application of compassion and human rights principles to conversations about public government our mutual capacity for such dialogue is weak. Privateers and enabling insiders need treatment for their EDD, empathy deficit disorder.
Effective government is made possible by caring citizens intending to apply the principles of democracy as a human right to public government. Here are two cases to consider: one local and one international.
Local: Should county commissioners, in Wilmington, OH, spend $7 million of public monies to build a new facility for the Dayton YMCA, a private, quasi-religious, non-profit corporation in another county? Why not build a public health and recreation facility and ask the public health department to run it.
International: TPP - Trans-Pacific Partnership is characterized as Total Planet Privateering by many. Are the U.S. Senate and President functioning as enabling insiders? At this writing on Friday 01/17/14, my Republican congressman’s local office had received several comments from constituents about TPP - ALL opposing TPP. But holy cow, Batman, I received a letter by email exactly 1.5 hours after I stopped by the office that implied his support of TPP.
How might we apply the human rights principles of universality and equity? Is it fair to all concerned? How do commissioners and U.S. senators and representatives apply the human rights principle of accountability? How might the project or treaty build goodwill and better friendships? How might we all foster the human rights principles of transparency and participation in the deliberations concerning the rec center and the establishment of TPP? Are there wealthy individuals or corporations who would stand to gain from a new Wilmington YMCA or from the TPP?
Whatever the final decisions are on the YMCA and TPP, the need for #CaringCitizens to #OccupyCompassion in their neighborhoods has never been greater. Compassion Primaries are opportunities for American #CaringCitizens to have important conversations. If you believe compassion and human rights should be governing principles in public and private government, now is the time to consider entering a compassion primary. (Some states are "caucus" states, meaning they choose party leaders in caucus meetings instead of primaries.) Metaphors and conversations matter. I hope you will consider making YOUR local primary a Compassion Primary in 2014.
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Chuck Watts is the co-founder and president of the Caring Citizens’ Congress, an Empathy Surplus Project. He also serves as his elected precinct representative to the Clinton County Democratic Party. His co-founder, Gary Evans, is a lifelong Republican. Chuck hopes persons living in states where party members are chosen by a caucus vesus a primary will write to explain that process. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-412-3758. Thanks go to my editor, Mary Tom Watts.
Join the Empathy Book Club Circle on the book: Empathy and Democracy: Feeling, Thinking, and Deliberation by Michael E. Morrell http://j.mp/1d7OcD7
Morrell’s argument in this book is that empathy plays a crucial role in enabling democracy to function the way it should.
We will be holding a weekly online book club via Google Hangouts to discuss this book. We will read a chapter and then discuss it in an empathy circle format. The discussion will be recorded on Youtube for others to view and benefit from.
About the Book
It is Michael Morrell’s argument in this book that empathy plays a crucial role in enabling democratic deliberation to function the way it should.
“Today’s democracies are still struggling to fulfill democracies promise of equal consideration, and the claim I will defend is that they can do so most fully by giving empathy a central role in democratic decision-making.
Without empathy, large modern societies cannot give citizens the kind of equal consideration necessary to make democratic decision legitimate