A PRIMER FOR CIVIC REVOLUTION
By Richard D. Vogel
Copyright © 2016 by Richard D. Vogel
Permission to copy granted
Every elected official of the United States government, including the President, swears an oath before he or she takes office.
It goes like this:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
What they are swearing to defend is set out quite clearly in the Preamble to the US Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Strictly speaking, the US Constitution is a law, but behind it is a political contract because the government derives its power from the consent of the governed.
Since the 1980’s US administrations have been strong on defense, but what happened to Justice, domestic Tranquility, the general Welfare, and Liberty?
The Reagan Revolution broke the American political contract.
The election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 marked the ascendency of wealthy over working people, of capital over labor, of “free” trade over fair market exchange, and of military adventurism over diplomacy. It set the stage for the restoration of the death penalty and mass incarceration, attacks on public education and civil rights, free trade agreements that have decimated the American middle class, and a state of permanent war. The Reagan Revolution has contributed substantially to the three global megatrends that loom over the 21st century: increasing globalization, increasing inequality, and catastrophic environmental damage caused by unregulated economic activity.
Nothing short of a Civic Revolution can overturn the legacy of the Reagan Revolution.
A Primer for Civic Revolution
The right of Civic Revolution is one of the terms of the original US political contract:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among people, 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.
The guiding principles of Civic Revolution in a democracy are simple and straightforward:
- Elect only politicians who prove themselves willing and able to preserve, protect and defend all of the provisions of the American political contract, and dismiss those who do not.
- Pressure sitting lawmakers to follow the principles of the American political contract when sponsoring and voting on legislation.
- Put the plutocrats and the politicians on immediate notice: