Monday, October 23, 2017

#296 / Indivisible

Sam Karp, Leah Greenberg, Ezra Levin, and Janie Tyre
Leah Greenberg and Ezra Levin are pictured above. They are located in the middle of the pictured group, and are flanked by Sam Karp and Janie Tyre, formerly residents of Bonny Doon, in Santa Cruz County. Sam and Janie are now living in Menlo Park. The picture was taken on October 19, 2017, last Thursday, at an event to let people know about one of the most exciting developments in our current political life. 

Greenberg and Levin, who hail from Arkansas, and who now live in Washington, D.C., helped write the "Indivisible Guide," and are the Co-Executive Directors of Indivisible the organization. For those not familiar with Indivisible, let me encourage you to click this link, to find out more. 

Indivisible was formed after the presidential election last November, and its mission is to "fuel a progressive grassroots network of local groups to resist the Trump Agenda." There are 6,000 Indivisible groups around the country, which means that there is at least one, and maybe more than one, within your own Congressional District, no matter where you live. That's right; Indivisible groups exist even in the "reddest" and most conservative areas of the country. Here is a link to a website that will allow you to access a list of the Indivisible groups that have been established in your own community. Santa Cruz has an extremely active group!

In yesterday's posting, I noted that our system of democratic politics has been transformed, by money, into something quite different from what the authors of our Constitution had planned. Among other things, we are largely governed, now, by a plutocracy, not by democracy. In addition, our politics has become "national," which is where money is most important, and the most impactful.

My pitch, yesterday, was that our politics must not seek to smooth over or dismiss genuine differences or divisions within the body politic, but that politics is precisely the technique we use to resolve and decide contested questions. It is politics, in fact, that allows us to achieve the political goal we express in the slogan, "E pluribus unum." We become "one nation...indivisible" because  we don't try to suppress our political conflicts and controversies, but seek, instead, to resolve them through political action. 

Our system of representative government, in which we resolve our political differences, is supposed to be based on "local," not national, organization and action, with national decision making coming from the "bottom up," rather than being delivered from the "top down." One of the reasons that I am enthusiastic about the Indivisible movement is that it suggests that a decent national politics will be achieved only insofar as we make the Congress work the way it's supposed to, by holding our local Congressional representatives accountable to their local constituents. 

Our local members of Congress are now responsive to monied interests that operate on a national level. Indivisible seeks to support the efforts of concerned citizen groups, working at the local (Congressional District) level, that will give local voters a determinative voice in what their Congressional representatives do. In other words, Indivisible is seeking to restore the kind of representative democracy that Hannah Arendt has called the "lost treasure" of the American Revolution. 

Giving three cheers for that prospect isn't nearly enough!

Image Credit:
Gary Patton personal photo

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