By David Swanson
Donald Trump uses backdrops formed by crowds of boy scouts or soldiers. Progressive Democrats use documents called #People’sPlatform endorsed by numerous quasi-grassroots organizations.
Neither remotely approaches the far more desirable governance that one would get using direct democracy, governance by opinion poll. The reason for the pretense of populism is clear: people are wiser, even laboring under today’s relentless sewer of propaganda, than any contingent in either mega-party. There is little doubt we’d do better with representatives selected at random than with those we’ve elected.
The #People’sPlatform is a purely partisan document that asks only Democrats in Congress to do anything. And it asks them to do only what a significant number of them already want to at least pretend to want to do. Of course, as a minority, if they do all act as desired nothing whatsoever will happen.
To seem serious and practical, the #People’sPlatform pushes only agenda items for which there are already bills in Congress, but because the Senate is so relentlessly horrible, they are not items for which there is legislation in the Senate. The House bills promoted are good ones: single-payer (always a Democratic favorite when the Republicans are in the majority), college tuition, minimum wage, abortion, automatic voter registration, ending prison privatization, taxing financial transactions.
The bills do not go nearly far enough on college, wages, election rights, decarceration, or taxation. They are not what activists should be organizing around; they are what legislators should fall back on if they can’t do better.
Then there is climate chaos, one of the twin monsters facing us, and the #People’sPlatform couldn’t find a bill, so just hung up a “Coming Soon!” sign.
Then there is militarism, the other monster facing us, and the #People’sPlatform predictably takes no notice, never mentions the existence of 96% of humanity, never gives a nod to 54% — soon possibly to be 59% — of the spending Congress decides on each year. Of the several wars going, which would the “people” like to end? Who knows! Should the booming weapons trade continue to destroy distant places? I guess so.
On the topic of militarism, as it happens, there is no shortage of bills.
H.R. 1666 would end the U.S. war on Afghanistan. The bill has 13 cosponsors, 8 of them Democrats, but perhaps suffers the fatal flaw of having a Republican author. If the goal is to end the war, it’s a great vehicle, but if the goal is a years-long election campaign for Democrats, it’s deeply deficient.
Yet there are dozens of other bills to choose from. H.R. 2668 would scale back nuclear weaponry. And the cosponsors are all Democrats. What’s wrong with that one?
Or how about H.R. 608 which would require the United States to stop arming terrorists in Syria, something Trump just claimed he was going to do anyway. Why not make it law?
Or draft an ideal bill and declare that it is “Coming Soon!” as done with climate chaos. And then impose that demand on Republicans and Democrats alike. That’s what independent people would do if they got organized and had a platform.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.Help support DavidSwanson.org, WarIsACrime.org, and TalkNationRadio.org by clicking here: http://davidswanson.org/donate.
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