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The Fight Against The Far Right

By Jean-Pierre Crisan

“I’m 57 years old, I have my own business, and I can’t get health insurance. I get up every day facing the risk of losing everything I’ve worked for. So when these guys say they want to dismantle Obama’s Affordable Care Act, or when I hear them say ’Kill the bill!’, what I hear is that these cold-hearted SOBs want to kill me, and millions of other people like me. So yea, this is personal —Damn personal!”

Right-wing ideology, greed, and social disregard have undermined the integrity of our nation, and far right public policy has proven itself over and over again to be a failure. From the shameful and immoral practice of slavery in the Old South, leading to the hundreds of thousands of lives lost defending and defeating it in the American Civil War, and the continued, unrepentant racism of Jim Crow and Segregation, to the lack of regulation of banks and the stifling of commerce by monopolies that led to the Great Depression.

Conservative extremism continued in America with people like Ayn Rand, Senator Joe McCarthy, and Robert W. Welch Jr’s John Birch Society, along with a long list of evangelical religious extremists, many of whom were found to be financially and sexually corrupt.

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More recently, Reagan’s de-regulation of banks led to the Savings and Loan Crisis, and his trickle-down economics did not boost employment. Then came the scourge of deeper evils, with a stolen presidential election in 2000, followed by a war, based on pure lies and fabrication, that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. The Bush era’s deregulations and tax giveaways to corporations and the wealthy have delivered us to the ruin of America’s economy that we see today.

Right-wing extremists are a small minority in society, yet they manage to garner more than their fair share of attention, and their shrill voices, like carnival barkers or pompous fight promoters, seem always to drown out the quiet, thoughtful consideration of the common reason of everyday folk who understand the practical issues of getting their day’s work done or of amicable and productive relationships with friends and family.

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Conservatives have the backing of the rich and of the large corporations, whose interest is understandably to concentrate wealth and power in their hands, and to control the masses for their own monopolistic and oligarchical interests. The greed, temerity, and arrogance of the powerful has been matched only with their incompetence and criminality, as we have seen with the size of failed institutions, such as Lehman Brothers and AIG, and the Madoff scheme, which had been using investment schemes that made them more the next generation of gamblers and white collar criminals than any suitable or reasonable model of investing.

These brazen operators, inebriated beyond shame with their wealth and power, along with lack of accountability, with only a handful facing prosecution, continue with heroin-like addiction to behave with an arrogant sense of entitlement to take all they want, just as they have, in spite of the light of truth, and as well the world’s scorn and disdain shining upon them.

With the weakness of the progressive movement in our country, the Far Right knows that it will not be held responsible for its actions, and that it can get its way without debate or consideration of other views. Their insolence has slammed the door on reasonable and civil discourse, which has devolved into class warfare and a fight between reasonable people and a gang of bullies.

WrongWay

Right-wing extremism presents the greatest existential threat to navigating today’s challenges. We have seen a Republican party that opposes President Obama regardless of issue, and who have openly declared that they want him to fail. Republicans have refused to negotiate or compromise even with our president’s most generous, balanced and thoughtfully considered offers, including a $4.5 trillion debt reduction deal that included only $1 trillion in revenue, and heavily favored Wall Street. We have seen a Congress that has tried to obstruct and sabotage every effort by our administration to lift our nation from its woes.

This is not the ages-old debate or distinction between conservatives and liberals, or between Republicans and Democrats, which is healthy and necessary in free society. The Republican Party has been hijacked by ideological and religious extremism, and by congressmen who are no more than lobbyists for narrow interests, and who often do not have the education, qualifications, or intellect to function at the world-class level that should be expected in Washington. The Republican party seems to be trying as hard as it can to live up to its stereotype of being the party of angry, intolerant, cold-hearted, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants who don’t care about people.

TrashGop

The Far Right is a different creature, these people do not want to debate, they want to conquer. These people have no desire to help anyone but themselves. These are people, filled with bigoted hatred, that have no moral or spiritual basis in their lives. The Far Right is a monster, and the distinction here is between Good and Evil.

The 2008 Elections: A First Hand Account

Register

The Obama campaign held the promise of badly needed change. Barack Obama, who I continue to admire as a magnificent man of uncommon intellect and character, has restored pride in our nation, and has done much to restore American goodwill in the rest of the world. Most of what he is doing is steering us on a better path. We’re in deep, and no, he can’t walk on water. We won’t get out of this mess for free, and it will take a while to repair the damage.

I joined the campaign in early 2008 to help them with data and web work. I also canvassed neighborhoods and made calls evangelizing our message of hope.

Then I began to see the danger in what I was doing…

Anyone who put up campaign signs in their yards for Democrat candidates was sure to find their signs stolen or vandalized within a few days.

The cars of some of our campaign workers with Obama bumper stickers were rammed or vandalized.

At one of our campaign work sessions, we heard about the encounter of one of our volunteers, a young mother, with her baby in her car, at a gas station, where she was confronted by three young, rough men who saw the Obama sticker on her bumper. They began taunting her, then began to shove her around, then grabbed her arm, banging it against her car as they said that they wanted to break her arm to keep her from voting.

Well, the 120 pound woman had a black belt in the martial arts. She grabbed one of the men as he swung at her, and used his moving, unbalanced weight to propel his face into the corner of her car, just above the tail light. Then she used his falling body as a shield from the other two approaching men as she got into her car and sped away with her screaming, terrified child.

A few weeks later, a campaign manager from a nearby state, who had been such an inspiration to our campaign with his energetic and positive personality, was gunned down in his office, in broad daylight, in cold blood.

…I am still heavily armed, everywhere I go.

After Obama had won the election, and put forth his health plan, I attended several Anti-Healthcare Rallies —I just had to see what kind of people… They were actually hate-Obama rallies attended by people wearing poorly fitting back-yard clothes, with hateful slogans scrawled, misspelled, on their signs. I endured vulgar and hateful epithets as I carried a placard that read, simply: ‘Health Insurance Reform Now!’ These were some of the meanest people I had ever seen.

Since the election, I have witnessed our communities being torn apart, families and businesses too. This may sound extreme, but as with the campaign, you will see that I ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie.

I am not welcome in my father’s, nor several of my other family member’s homes. They sit around, watching Fox news, grumbling their sour drone against minorities, working people, poor people —just about everybody. They have turned into angry bigots and intolerant xenophobes, living their lives consumed with anger and hatred.

Many people I know have always been openly racist, and nigger jokes are all too common here in the South. Although it is shameful, no one ever paid much attention to it; it is just the way things have always been here, and part of everyday discourse. Now these people too have turned into angry bigots, intolerant and suspicious, with automatic antipathy to anyone who doesn’t think just like they do.

I began to face probing political questions when I gave estimates in my business. People I had done work for many years have stopped hiring me. I feel unwelcome in many local businesses, and I would not risk having my car repaired at any of the smaller, local shops.

I faced the same type of probing political questions when I tried to get a septic tank permit. When the inspector suspected that I did not have the hard-line views prevalent in the rural South, he made it clear that I would not get a permit, even though the soil scientist’s report clearly detailed the type of system that could be installed. I sold the land for a very low price to a local, who promptly received a permit.

With the 2008 elections, I have seen the South and the other intolerant, conservative parts of the country show their true colors, and as a campaign worker, I was in the front row to suffer the rage and endure the insult. It was personal, I was scared, and I was hurt because I know that my country is better than that. America is better than that.

I am disgusted with the South and with conservatives for what they have taken from our nation’s unity and accord and for how their intolerance and poor judgment has held us back. These conservatives shun progress and learning, and regard those who are different from them with the hypocrisy of suspicion and condescending self righteousness protected with sheepish denial.

The South has worked against the unity of our nation since the day it was founded. The American Revolution was really the first civil war, with the South a refuge for British Loyalists and slave owners, extending the war, and costing additional Patriot’s lives. At some of the battles, including the pivotal battle at King’s Mountain, there were no British soldiers, only Southerners fighting Northerners.

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A Time For The Collective Personal Growth Of A Nation

Our nation is at a crossroads. Do we take these times as an opportunity to grow, to mature, to understand ourselves? Do we seize upon the inspiration, dreams, and hope that inspired our nation’s founding? Or do we descend into a malaise, to be stuck in some dark netherworld of fear, superstition, of primitive egos, banishing our spiritual selves?

I have learned much about the stubborn forces that perpetuate bigotry, about the lies and denial that protect narrow views and the intolerance of new and unfamiliar ideas. I now see that bigotry is not the kind of thing that one can simply tell another to stop and change their ways. Bigotry is part of a complex set of behaviors that relate to addiction, supremacism, dogmatic belief, ego, and greed. A bigot looks only inward, and sees life through the filter of the self and its immediate needs. Bigots like to hurl insults that seem to make no sense till you realize that they are more about themselves than you, revealing how transparent, simple-minded and unashamed they are.

Bigotry is deeply embedded at the primal levels of the human psyche. Everyone, at some level, is a bigot. It is hardwired as an automatic survival impulse. It is the filter that we use to sort critical information out of an overload of sensory input to give us the simple answer to the question: Are they in my tribe? Bigotry's narrow range of tolerance steers our very act of progeny. It is the reason a female songbird will choose only a certain mate that matches her brain's genetically embedded template.

The distinction that separates humans from all the other animal species is man's possession of intellect and the ability to reason. Man has evolved in the thousands of years that we have diverged from the animal world, while most animals have remained the same. It is this ability of man to understand nature and one's self that enables us to apply conscious learning to grow and evolve beyond our primal ancestry. This is why we can have unwavering hope that humankind can grow and change to reach higher levels of ourselves.

2012 Elections

StandWithUs

President Obama can run circles around his opponents intellectually, and he has made monkeys out of all the small-minded racist bigots nipping at his heels. He has, however, been weak, and has given in on so many of the issues that he had pledged to vigorously fight for. He should know by now that polite doesn't work with Republicans; they take it as a sign of weakness, and are emboldened, like predators by the smell of blood, to attack even more viciously.

“Romney’s very first attack-ad against Obama used as its premise a bold and obvious lie.”

Republicans feel like they have the right to do whatever they have to do to get their way. They have spread propaganda that is full of lies and distortion, and they have taken lying and hypocrisy to new brazen and creative levels. With their relentless attacks, ugly name-calling, lies by hate media, and false fronts like the ‘Tea Party’, people have been duped to believe in things and vote for people that are against their own interest.

A Quick Primer on Lying

TrashFaux  Right Wingers, right wing media, and corporations are ignominious liars, and in oh so many ways, such as the oil company's propaganda campaign after the oil spill, where they showed happy faces, playing tourists, and people professing their adoration for BP while the company and its political allies were working like the devil to suppress the truth. Then there was Newt Gingrich, Bob Barr, Henry Hyde, Bob Livingston, and a number of other Republicans who fell from grace after it was revealed that they all had extramarital affairs as they tried to bring down Bill Clinton, who had also lied. We have seen Fox News, who, year after year, wins the ‘Pants-On-Fire’ award for their false statements and their misleading reports. Then there are the hacked videos, such as the one that unfairly cost USDA official Shirley Sherrod her job by cutting her words up as she spoke against racism to make her sound like a racist. During the Republican ‘debates’, we saw candidates at their podiums look into the camera without a hint of shame, and tell one lie after another. 
 
  These are just a few examples of deception that can come in the form of propaganda, hypocrisy, half truths, seeds of truth, omission, silence, denial, reversal, tactical arguments, revision of history, dehumanizing name-calling, telling different things to different people, changing the subject, and lastly: flat-out lying.
 
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“The Far Right, in any form, has never been a good thing anywhere in the world or at any time in history.”

One has to ask what kind of people would want Republicans in charge —people who wish ill on their own neighbors and family as they seek to make healthcare available only to the wealthy. Republicans want to take away your retirement and for you to work for minimum wage till you are 80. Republicans don't believe in education, and they don't care if children starve, old folks freeze to death, or if we cut down all the trees, kill all the animals, pollute the rivers till they turn purple and catch fire, or if we eat every last fish out of the ocean, and Republicans want to shut you up if you say you don't like it. We have learned a lot about what people can do when they are at their worst.

Far Right Republicans would be seen as traitors and seditionists, as they seek to dismantle and disempower our government, but for the fact that they are ignorant and short-sighted, as we have seen with government shutdowns and credit downgrades, demonstrating that they do not understand the complex systems of modern society and government’s role in making order out of what would be unregulated misbehavior and injustice. We have already seen our nation come dangerously close to disintegration under the Articles of Confederation. Republicans represent a pernicious threat to our nation with their narrow views, lack of compassion for others, and xenophobic intolerance of anyone who doesn’t walk, talk, and act just like they do. They lack imagination and shun individuality as they all read from the same script handed down by the shock-jocks of hate media.

“The crowds at the Palin rally chanted: “Kill him! Kill him!”

The progressive movement is weak in this country. Democrats, 18-to 20 somethings, and poor people do not vote. Progressives are often lazy, self-centered, and apathetic, and they know more about the latest pop sensations and fashions than our history, constitution, and system of government. They are willing to let the whole thing go to hell because it’s too emotionally upsetting to get involved —after all, someone might be mean to them. They are passive and think that it’s someone else’s job to take out the garbage and to repair things when they break. They live in a world of noble dreams and bright intellect, and think that if you read good books, listen to classical music, do art, meditate, eat healthy food, get eight hours of sleep, think good thoughts, and tell the people who you love every day that you love them. —That if you do all these things, the world will be ok.

Perhaps the meek will inherit the Earth, but only after they have been crushed, and when there is nothing left of our World, and when God has given up and gone home. We must stand up and defend what is right and fight what is wrong. We do not have the luxury of thinking that it will blow over, or that things will set themselves right, or that someone else will make it all work out. It is up to each of us to do what we can. It is time for progressives to get attitude —to get up, get out, and get active.

GetActive! 

Obama and the Democrats represent the best hope, considering the mad, brash, and intemperate alternatives. Republicans are running on pure emotion, dogmatic ideology, and gut feeling, while Democrats have put forth balanced and well considered proposals that are affirmed by economists and, as well, by history, from Roosevelt’s New Deal to Clinton’s surplus. Democrats work more like family around the kitchen table, and Republicans, more like football players. Democrats enter government as public servants with noble aims, to do good, while Republicans enter government to dismantle government.

It’s hard to imagine, after the disaster of the Bush years, why people would ever want Republicans back in office, but the zombie march continues. There are many more Democrats than Republicans, but Democrats don’t vote, and are diffracted over a more diverse constituency. If there was an 80% rather than a 40% voter turnout in our elections, we would be looking at a very different political landscape. A broader negotiating framework would develop where power would be spread across a more diverse decision making base. The current two-party system and political polarization would dissolve into a more multidimensional form. Extremists, reactionaries, and one-issue politicians would be marginalized, and big money and pampered influence would be balanced with the spectrum of normal, practical, working people who would find consensus rather than all cling to one of only two sides.

“The bottom line is that progressives need to get out and vote!”

Washington is a circus tent, with its shrill showmen, provocateurs, and money-fisted lobbyists, all buzzing around like flies under the bright lights of an info-tainment media that flocks to show only the most freakish, disfigured, and frightful characters. It would be lively comedy, a garish vaudeville act to be enjoyed with many glasses of beer if this spectacle were not the wheelhouse of our ship of state, as it navigates through the foggy and murky waters of our World, through storms and between reefs, and across deep, dark waters that are filled with hungry predators who wait patiently, like history, to eagerly tear us asunder and devour us if our folly delivers us to ruin.

 
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(This author is not sponsored by, or affiliated with the 2012 Obama Campaign or any other organization.)

What You Can Do

Register and vote. Get other people to register and vote, and if they give you the old, “Aw, one vote doesn’t matter”, remind them that most elections are hair-splitting close, and that the consequences can change the course of our nation. The ‘Great Recession’ that we are now living through would not have happened without Republican bank and investment de-regulation, and without Bush’s $4.5 trillion tax giveaways to the wealthy.

Stand_By_Me

Know the facts. Right Wingers lie. They lie constantly. They lie about everything. Unfortunately, progressives have to spend most of their time dispelling these lies, false rumors, and ugly innuendo. So when Republicans try to tell you that the recession is Bill Clinton’s fault, they need to be corrected by reminding them that it was Phil Gramm and other Republicans that allowed reckless investing to return to America by repealing the Glass Steagall Act of 1933. They rammed it through congress with a veto-proof majority in 1996 as part of Gingrich’s ‘Contract On America’.

And when Right Wingers decry ‘Obamacare’ as costing trillions, remind them that it is the opposite that is true; that planned changes to our healthcare system will save over a trillion dollars by reducing waste, fraud, and duplication, and by modernizing the system with such things as electronic data transfer and records keeping. Incalculable additional savings will come through expanded preventive care, and by reducing the millions of uninsured that now show up at emergency rooms at taxpayer expense.

Get the truth and unbiased facts by keeping a list of good sources. Bookmark all the standard trusted sources: NPR, BBC, DW, ITN, and the various web search engines’ news pages. Also, the main newspapers’ sites, and news providers like Reuters, AP, McClatchy Etc. Other sources, like Politico, FactCheck, usaspending.gov, and Wikipedia can be useful in obtaining unbiased data. Commentators like Amy Goodman, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and Jon Stewart have been effective in batting down the constant barrage of lies from the Right.

Write. Blog, post comments, network, put up a website, and more. One of the best ways to see the power that you can wield with a pen is to write a letter to the editor of your local paper. They welcome and need that connection to their community that reader letters provide. Write about a topic that is of intense local interest. Write these letters when you can provide information that is not getting out, or if you have a unique or professional perspective on the issue. Do not write to restate the obvious, or to whine, or opine, or put out your personal opinion unless you can show with hard, immovable facts or powerful anecdote that your feelings are shared by many other people. Often a letter to the paper will ignite a lively discussion, with letters and editorials on the subject filling the editorial pages for weeks afterward.

Post comments on popular blogs and news sites. Get you a handle and a snappy avatar, then go at it with some of the craziest people you will have the pleasure of not meeting. This can be as addictive as ratchet jawing on CB radio. It is usually verbal combat, but I have also seen some of the most articulate, passionate, and eloquent writing, as well as exquisite use of quotations in these venues.

Obvious but overlooked is to write your congressman or to persons of influence who are dealing with issues important to you. Write specifically to those who have your issue in their lap, such as those who have drafted legislation, or to influential committee members or vote tie breakers, or those to whom the lobbyists and their money have been swarming. Write a one line summary of your issue in bold type on the front of the envelope. Even if email is de rigueur nowadays, it is no match for a pile of letters on a staffer’s desk which cannot be ignored.

Write to people who would not normally receive political or social awareness pitches. I wrote to a doctor commending him on adopting computerized records keeping and information exchange. It saved my wife from duplicate tests, and the results of specialized tests by other doctors were available on his laptop. He posted my letter on his website. Another time, I wrote to a business that had Fox news blaring in its lobby and told them that their playing Fox News told me and about half the people in our community that we were not welcome at their business. I got no reply, but I went to the business a few weeks later, and the home and garden channel was on.

Join groups and Volunteer. What begins as a civic group’s bake sale, or trash pick-up day for their ‘Adopt-A-Mile’ or at a community park could be the beginning of valuable and supportive relationships. Civic groups and local political party meetings can be good sources of information. Hearing people talk on the issues helps you articulate your opinion and be effective in influencing people on the issues that are important to you. Every meeting is different, and varies with the people who are there and the pressing issue of the day. This is the dynamic quality of activism, and it engages us each to be right there, right now; to be prepared to rewire our thinking to change or enrich the ideas that we live by. It challenges us to be fresh of mind, spontaneous, ready to inject each our own strengths of leadership to add to the vitality of the group.

Join the campaign Working for the 2008 campaign filled me with the awesome and humble pride of being part of the venerable process that America’s founding fathers crafted so many years ago. The fellowship and purpose I felt working on the campaign gave me the great satisfaction that I was doing something. We had to do something. I discovered parts of myself that I never knew. Usually shy; I was bold. Usually timid; I was fearless. Usually quiet; I found spontaneity and leadership in my voice, ready to go nose-to-nose with anyone to stand up for what is right.

Campaigns begin in summer with voter registration. In addition to voter registration drives, booths, and advertising campaigns, we also canvas neighborhoods to identify likely voters and update and improve the quality of our data, whose accuracy is not only very important in making things run smoothly when we get close to election day, but also for future elections. In 2008, we added about 10% more voters during registration, which is one factor that boosted our party about 12% in our county’s elections.

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Three months before the election, we go into campaign mode. By now we have some nice data that we use to accurately target the most likely voters. Sophisticated algorithms use public data that is available on everyone to generate lists of such things like 3-out-of-5 year reliable voters, or teetering independents, and, of course all the new registereds. This way, campaign volunteers can be effective by contacting only likely or leaning-our-way voters. We pass out lots of flyers and door hangers, and we put up posters. We have scripts to work from when making our pitch, but we are encouraged to be spontaneous, and treat each person like they are our neighbor, which they are.

There are people who do not participate in elections because of their religious beliefs. There is a large group of people who cannot vote because of their criminal record. We found that the very poor don’t vote, as they live in another world, disconnected from society by their illiteracy, desperate and broken lives, alcoholism, and their utter lack of motivation to do anything.

With the election only days away, it’s game-on with Get Out The Vote. Everybody is calling and canvassing, reminding the voters one last time to get out there and vote. Carpools and rides are arranged for the disabled and elderly, and we load up car trunks with water and snacks to take to precincts where long lines are expected. There’s chili, cokes, snacks, and anticipation mixed with the wistful goodbyes of a closeknit group that will soon go back to their normal lives.

Author_At_Rally

Go to events and rallies. These are the front lines where people can most visibly push their issues. Live events can range from sweet-singing pep rallies to contentious town hall meetings where constituents from both sides come to redress their grievances; where everybody has their tongue sharp and loaded, and emotions and rhetoric run at high temperatures. There are cameras, lights, big signs, funny hats, and important people with red sweaty faces in the room, while cops shuffle nervously from foot to foot along the back wall. People are shouting at each other a foot apart, and you never know when a fight might break out. It is a rare chance to see a candidate in person, and whether your contact is a quick handshake or a question from the crowd, you have about a dozen words to ask, challenge, lead, and hold responsible a candidate who will then usually try to agree with you while sheepishly qualifying his answers. At rallies, you can feel the enthusiasm of both sides, and meet people and groups that share your interest. The power of a live event can do everything from empower to traumatize you. It is intense, and will linger in your memory a very long time.

Boycotts. America’s big banks and American companies are boycotting the American economy in their fail-wishing strategy to defeat Democrats. They pocketed billions in corporate welfare while paying themselves huge executive bonuses. Meanwhile these companies sit on record amounts of cash as their stock prices soar. Companies are trying as hard as they can not to hire people by using temp workers and adding work and pressure to the workers that they currently have.

The American People need to send these villains a message by wrapping their logos in laurels of shame and hurting them where they can feel it by not doing business with them. We have already seen millions of people move their bank accounts from the National Banks of Infamy to community banks and credit unions. We have seen rare instances of humility as these bad players backed off some of their sneaky fees and predatory practices. We have seen some companies shamed into hiring more people, or moving jobs back to this country from overseas.

Sign petitions. Although petition signers are accused of being arm chair activists, or ‘slacktivists’, petitions are an easy way to amplify your voice and inform bad players that the People are watching them. Many companies and elected officials were shocked into changing their ways when confronted by hundreds of thousands of people’s names decrying their actions or policies. Petitions rally people around an important issue, and draw the attention of the media who will shine the light of shame on the wrongdoers. The most effective petitions have been those that addressed specific or local issues. Petitions have also been used to initiate recall elections, which have removed a number of bad players from office.

When signing up for petitions, choose only those that are recognized by reputable sources, as some are no more than advertising gimmicks. With online petitions, make sure you read their terms, and make sure that you see and decide any check-boxes for sending you emails or sharing your name or information.

Donate. Barack Obama set new records for not only the amount of money that his campaign hauled in, but also in the way that they earned it. Obama won because more money came in as $5, $10, and $25 contributions than all the Republicans’ rich and powerful donors could muster. This shows that the People were able to overcome not only all the lies, smears, and unsporting actions of the Right, but also their uneven advantage of paid-for influence.

Donations to local candidates are important too, because these will be the State and National candidates of the future. It would be a shame if the more qualified candidate lost only because he couldn’t afford as many campaign posters as his opponent. We need to help bright young stars achieve early success to encourage them to follow a life of public service.

Yes_We_Can

Inspire and Impassion. As a new nation created in The Age Of Enlightenment, we cast off the tyranny of monarchy and theocracy to fulfill what are the hopes of every person in every place: to be free and have the opportunity and resources where our work and imagination can realize our dreams.

And now, with powerful social and political movements across the world, people are again casting off the shackles of tyranny. This time, dictators instead of monarchs, and oligarchs instead of theocrats are being cast aside, and the air is alive with hope and possibility against a background of tension and uncertainty.

In so many ways we are the center of the world, and we bear the responsibility of doing our ways well as the world watches in wonder and awaits our leadership in each step we take. As we see the glow over the horizon of possibilities and dreams, it is for us to seize the moment and discover what we may have never before dared to imagine.

“It can happen. We can make it happen.”

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