Draft GPUS Platform Amendment Democracy Chapter Introduction
CHAPTER TITLE: GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY
SECTION NAME: INTRODUCTION
After more than a century of rule by Democrats and Republicans, our democracy is in disarray. Corruption is rife. Money buys political office. Districts are gerrymandered. Alternatives are restricted or excluded from debates, the media and the ballot. As a result, voter participation is low and seen by many as an empty gesture. People are disempowered.
Our federal government wastes astronomical sums every day, doling out subsidies and corporate welfare to big business and the wealthy, while cutting programs for the poor and shackling the middle class with the bill. Trust in government is fading. Our nation is increasingly a plutocracy.
Greens want to bring grassroots democracy to the United States, to counteract what Thomas Jefferson called the “excesses of the monied interests.” Our government should reflect the great diversity of honorable, generous and good-hearted people of our country. A grassroots democracy would be more reflective of the people and their interests. It would elevate new people into leadership – more women and people of color, more teachers, nurses and local retail clerks, more mothers, union members, dishwashers, artists, janitors and secretaries. Our government will have fewer millionaires, but greater moral authority. Our goal is a government of, by and for the people.
Greens support open, honest and accountable government and civic institutions. We believe the rules of our democracy should give real power to people to influence the decisions that affect our lives. We support electoral reforms, such as proportional representation and instant runoff voting, to increase the power of voters to elect people who represent them. Public financing of campaigns will help give us a government we can be proud of -- one that can’t be bought.
Greens intend to become an important political force in this country, and to present candidates for election at every level of government.
2004 PLATFORM DEMOCRACY CHAPTER INTRODUCTION
Our nation was born as the first great experiment in modern democracy. We seek to rescue that heritage from the erosion of citizen participation. Moreover, we seek to dissolve the grip of the ideology, intoned by big-money interests for more than twenty years, that government is intrinsically undesirable and destructive of liberty and that elected officials should rightly “starve the beast” by slashing all spending on social program, in the name of freedom. We challenge that tactic by calling on all Americans to think deeply about the meaning of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. In a democracy, individuals come together to form structures of governance that protect and advance the common good. We the citizens are the government, and we the citizens can direct it to fulfill its finest goals and purposes. Our citizens must not permit usurpation of their authority by acts of individuals and government agencies that isolate or insulate government from their oversight and control. We, the People, have a responsibility to participate in self-government through all the means that our Constitution provides.
Citizens of a democracy must have the information and ability to determine the actions of their government. Vast concentrations of wealth and power that have occurred in recent years are inherently undemocratic. The deregulation of corporate activity and the decentralization and underfunding of the regulatory structures that remain – accompanied by the centralizing of big money – has been a disaster for our country. The true owners of the public lands, pension funds, and the public airwaves are the American people, who today have little or no control over their pooled assets or their commonwealth.
The power of civic action is an antidote to the corporate control of so much of our law-making and regulating. The pervasive abuse imposed by corporate power increasingly undermines our democracy, but the Green Party seeks to rekindle the democratic flame. As voting citizens, taxpayers, workers, consumers, and stakeholders, we unite to exercise our rights and, as Thomas Jefferson urged, to counteract the “excesses of the monied interests.” Toward this end, we consider serious reform of campaign funding to be essential, as well as curbs on the influence of corporations on lawmakers and regulatory agencies.
The Green Party considers American democracy to be an ongoing, unfolding project that is dynamic and creative in nature. We are committed to the strengthening of our civil society, including the many mediating institutions at the community level that have always characterized our democracy. We seek to heal the alienation and apathy that has been cultivated in the citizenry by the power-brokers of the status quo. Righteous anger about the crippling of our democracy is rising in the land, and the Greens offer constructive alternatives. In addition, we seek to repair the plummeting opinion of the United States in the international community resulting from our arrogant, narcissistic foreign policy of recent years. A growing and grave imbalance between the citizens of this country and the interests which extract power from the citizens is an imminent danger to our security and national and global social stability. We strongly feel that our country should view itself as a member of the community of nations… not above it. The United States could well play a leadership role in that community but only if we become committed to an eco-social vision of peace, national self-determination, and international cooperation.
Our goal is to become an important political force in this country, and to present candidates for election at every level of government.