On the Path Forward, 5 of 5
So for those wanting to red the whole thing in a print format, there is a PDF of all five parts at the bottom of this post.
One and one and one is three. One thing I can tell you is you got to be free!
All of this stuff I am telling you, this whole deal about how you can be part of a massive change in the way things are done with only 20 hours a month — less than a part time job — has been about *you*, individually.
But you aren’t doing this alone. I write this to get those who are not already doing this stuff involved. To get them up and active and spending the time and energy and yes, money (because gas ain’t cheap, and hunger doesn’t stop just because you are busy, and winter is cold and summer hot and water wet) and get out there and make this happen.
But truly, you will not be alone in this.
In the Indivisible guide, they tell you to get together with people in your area. Here is where social media is really useful. You have a precinct. You will meet people at your party meetings, you will meet people at your city, county, state and federal officials offices, you will meet people online if you want to put in the time for it.
Now, you don’t have to get together in person. You do need to get together. To come together.
It doesn’t have to be many of you. Five is enough. Meet at a house once a month, swap stories and snacks and maybe have a viewing party of some tv show or movie.
A small group like that needs to happen in every single precinct. You end up going to places together. Share the cost, the burden, the babysitting.
Help each other out. Bring other people in.
Have fun. Truly. Because fighting against oppression does not mean that you can’t get into Game of Thrones. Or Westworld.
Hell, go out for pizza and beers after you drop by your COngressman’s office in mass to talk about a bill.
A good group will have someone who watches the local council, legislature, and related websites, watches for new legislation.
Another person will focus on the people. Hell you are all essentially neighbors. You might even be int he same city councilman’s district, but in different districts for State and federal offices. Fine.
Belong to a couple groups, and let them get together once in a while.
The basis of the group should still be Oppression opposition, should still be based in Human Rights. Talk about them once in a while. Talk about how human rights involve you, personally, and each of the others.
When you go to the precinct meetings, you will be a group of people, and you will get listened to, because there is likely going to be one of you that has a big mouth. Which is good — even if it is an annoying big mouth.
A moment is made when one person starts acting in a way that is different. A statement is made when three people join in. A movement is made when five to seven other people join in.
That’s all it takes. You stand up, you stand out, and you speak truth. Truth that is this nation is founded on the opposition to oppression; that what makes us strongest is the power of human rights; that we are a nation built on the idea that all of us are created equal, and endowed with certain inalienable rights that we must always and forever be vigilant about protecting.
That is the heart of America.
Truly, that is the heart of everything. Religions around the world hold that the key to being a good person is treating everyone equally. The followers suck at it, but the religions are pretty good about it.
I have explained to you how there is a constant presence within a section of America where the opposition to Human Rights is pretty much a given.
So let’s talk about that. In light of the ten things I say we should do. TO give you an idea of how you can speak to your list of things.
Minimum Basic Income
It has taken me a very long time to get to a point where I support this idea. The turning point for me was when I realized that we already do provide such, just on a more limited basis (a basis that was grounded in compromise with those who oppose human rights).
Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, TANF, SNAP, ACA – these are all programs that seek to provide a minimum basic income to people. There is a lot of resistance to these programs. They are expensive, they are disliked in principle by those who “don’t need it”, and they are disliked by those “who have to pay for it”.
Some will argue, right now, that Medicaid, Medicare, and the ACA are not part of this. Fine. Go ahead. But remember the Earned Income Credit and Bush 2’s here, have a bunch of a money. They are part of this same issue.
Yes, the money has to come from somewhere. I get that. Getting the money is a challenge. But first and foremost, let’s understand that we are not arguing about *should we do it*. We have to — we support human rights.
1.3.1. The Government, recognizing the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger, shall take the measures, including specific programs, which are needed:
1.4. The Government has an obligation to ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized shall have an effective remedy.
1.5. The Government shall ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have is right thereto determined by the Constitution and the authorities it vests.
1.6. The Government shall ensure the equal right of all persons to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights as set forth herein, by law, by action, and by intent.
3.11. All Citizens shall have the right to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their family, including
3.11.1. adequate food,
3.11.2. clothing and housing,
3.11.3. and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.
9.2 Each citizen shall have the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and
9.2.1 the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control,
9.2.2 Through the action of the State, for the duration of their lives, in a manner which is reasonable and affordable for them, in accordance to the Without Distinction Rule.
220.127.116.11 This action on the part of the State shall be without regard to risk measures.
So, in my Line (my list of Human rights, pulled from reputable sources), it is fairly apparent and obvious that since the government’s job is to ensure these rights, that the government needs to do it.
Moreso, in guaranteeing *everyone* a basic minimum income (the rich and poor alike) we actually simplify the basis by which we do it. Social security becomes something we do for everyone, all the time.
Aside from giving a boost to the economy (and inflation), it makes sure that people don’t starve, that the unemployed can survive, and that the infirm or ill can make ends meet.
We have a moral, ethical, community duty to see that his happens.
You want details now? How much per person, how to pay for it, how to do it? AWESOME!!!!
That’s where we need to be. But we aren’t there yet. First we have to recognize that this is a human right, and it is the government’s job to attend to it, and that is not where we are.
We can actually do this — and answer all of those questions — within the next decade.
But, again, first, we have to change the culture of our Government to one that recognizes that its job is to protect our human rights.
So that is one example.
Me, I say we tie the rate to a baseline of minimum standards and then increase according to costs. Right now, I think that would be around 15K a year. Not enough to lift one out of poverty, but enough to make sure that those in poverty have a chance to get out of it.
500 million people getting 15k a year is not going to be done without taxes. Have to be realistic about it. We also have to defend our nation well, and we have a lot of enemies. While a lot of them will go away over time, it will take time, and we need to be secure in the meantime because, well, let’s remember: some folks never get the message.
(yes, I know there are not 500 million people in the US. There will be. Soon.)
The other part — and here you can’t argue that we aren’t talking about the ACA and Medicare and Medicaid.
The money we give them with the MBI is going to be swallowed up super fast by medical bills among the poorest if we don’t take care of them medically, and, if you look at the examples I pulled from my list above, you can see they also argue this one.
Co-pays are fine. Insurance companies are fine. They can do it. THey just can’t say no, and they do have to cover things, and yeah, they need to set firm lines on that cost.
This one is a no brainer. It is being done all over the world, in all manner of ways, and hey, we are supposed to be Americans, the best of the best. Act like it for a fucking change.
And, again, here we are talking about not if it should be done (that thinking is in opposition to human rights) but how to do it.
Are you now seeing the power of that simple thing about making the Law be about human rights?
Our laws are, for the most part, about Property. People were once property — Black people, women, children — all property.
Not all our laws — we have the bill of rights, which only covers 10, and from which we have built the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act and so forth, but the basis of our laws is quite different from a focus on Human Rights.
This is the Radical aspect of what we are trying to do, and you likely never even realized how radical it was when I mentioned it in part two.
Remember that? Here’s a refresher:
A bill that says, simply, that Law and Justice are in the Service of Human Rights, because the United States is about human Rights. And here are those human rights that we hold to be self evident.
Law and Justice are in the Service of Human Rights
Did you realize that is a radical concept when you read it?
That it is so far fucking left it essentially counts as an extremist position?
Now, here’s the kicker. That line is pulled from the goals of the Framers. The folks who met in 1787 and 1788. As the sorta government they had going at the time was falling apart and the freedom of the nation was at risk in that 6 year window.
We went a long way away from that, didn’t we?
IT doesn’t seem like such a big deal because the US is founded on that idea — it lies in the back of the heads of all the folks I told you about in the last part.
But we keep fuckin up because we have not put that idea into practice. That is what we need to do, now as The Resistance.
TO put that simple and easy to recognize but incredibly radical and holy shit there are a lot of human rights to the point.
The United States of America essentially bullied the rest of the world into creating the United Nations. The Soviet Union — and now Russia — joined mostly to keep us in check and keep it from becoming a US toy.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was one of the major reasons that the UN came into existence. Making that the centerpiece of its existence, the basis for which it worked. Not all the members joined in on that, but a lot of them did.
We have never made it law in the US. Never made it part of the Bill of Rights.
We need to. Most of it was created from lessons we learned here in the US already.
And we start by using it as our path forward.
The incoming Administration and Congress are going to be dismantling the systems that were built over decades of effort to meet that goal. That goal of Law and Justice are in the Service of Human Rights.
Now, imagine how hard it is going to be for them to deny that their efforts are in opposition to human rights?
They don’t give a damn that millions of people are losing their health care. That millions more are at risk of being fired or kicked out of their homes for being gay or trans. That women get paid less than men and are raped at utterly unacceptable rates. That a woman cannot have control over her own bodies and that black people are being gunned down in the streets in the name of Law and Order or imprisoned more harshly and for longer than white people.
IF they did, they would be introducing bills about it. If they did, they would be calling for investigations. If they did, they would not be doing everything about money money money money when money is what shields them from the realities of the death of the middle class.
Tax and Spend Democrats is what these people used to call folks on the left.
Money politics is white politics.
Yet note that I took just one suggestion above, about money, and grounded it in the moral, ethical, human decency basis of human rights.
The third item I would cover is recognizing the human rights of all Americans.
In my list, this is referred to as the without distinction rule. That rule represents everything that those who oppose human rights have been fighting against for decades.
1.2. The Government has an obligation to undertake and ensure to all citizens within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction these rights without distinction of any kind, such as
1.2.1. Age, Race and Color,
1.2.2. Gender and Sex
18.104.22.168. Inclusive of identity, sexuality, and heteronormativity
1.2.3. Language, Ethnicity, and National or Social origin,
22.214.171.124. Although reasonable definition of common language for governmental purposes is allowable
1.2.4. Religion, Creed, Political, or other opinion,
1.2.5. Property, Birth, Social Class, or other status.
1.2.6. This code, 1.2 inclusive, shall be referenced herein as the Without Distinctions Rule, and shall apply, wholly, to all these rights herein, with only the specific exceptions so stated.
That is it.
That is what we are fighting for, and if you stop for a few moments to think about it, you come to realize that is what we are fighting about.
The idea that the government is supposed to fight for our rights, supposed to defend them, ensure them, protect them.
That is what makes us The Left, why we are The Resistance.
Because if law and justice are in service to human rights, then all politics must be in the service to human rights. And when politics, law, and justice are all in the service to human rights, the peoples beneath them are, as well.
That is how we regain our country, and that is why we start locally, and work our way up.
And why we can do it in two years and in four years and make it a reality within the next 20.
For another 240 years.
I am a Liberal. Because as a Liberal, I hold this truth to be self evident: that Law and Justice shall be in the service to Human Rights. As that, first and foremost, is what being a Liberal is about.
On The Path Forward1 A PDF containing all five posts, plus On Oppression and On The Line.