Chapter 29

What Can We do?

With synthisophy in mind.... what can we do to depolarize the Nation?

Recall that hominids that cooperated with one another – and punished those who didn’t – must have outfought, outhunted and outbred everyone else.  Over millions of years, this genetically evolved and biologically selected tribal ethos resulting in the exit of Homo sapiens with the extension of the warrior ethos out of Africa 70,000 years ago, lead to the dominance of this human species and the extinction of others. This ethos resulted in our becoming the dominant and only human species on the planet and is still hardwired into our evolutionary genetic consciousness.

So maybe if we understand that these evolutionarily developed instinctive cognitive biases, the resulting confirmation biases, and the argumentative theory stoked by the tribal and warrior ethos may very well be present in the 100 billion neurons in our brain generating our perception of reality, our neuroreality, which as proposed by Andersen in Fantasyland, Powers in The Silencing, and expanded upon by myself, may not always reflect true reality, it may be unneureal. It’s in our genes, it’s been in our genes for a very long time. So let’s take a step back, try and detach ourselves from this genetic predisposition, take a deep breath and try and be a bit more rational rather than emotional in our political positions and discussions, listen, seek truth rather than argument, and reduce the amount of polarization and vitriol present in our society.  

So what can we do to depolarize the Nation?

Participate in the democratic process, be an informed citizen, get involved in a cause that will better society. We need an active and informed citizenry. Consider classical times in ancient Greece: At any particular point in time, not just on election day, an estimated 75% of voters were participating in government in one form or another. Consider what Thomas Jefferson said: “the people can not be all, & always, well informed. the part which is wrong [. . .] will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. if they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.” Take Action on one of the issues below.

 

Run for office at the local, state or national level. There was a surge in candidates running for US congressional office in the 2018 elections. Take Action.

 

Choose an area of interest and contact your local, state or national representatives and express your views on that topic. Form a group supporting a particular topic and do the same. Create a website or organization to express this opinion. Take Action.

 

Follow the political movement started by the surviving students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida after the shooting that occurred there on February 14, 2018.  They are setting the best example of citizen political action in our Democracy – our founding fathers would be proud. Take Action.

The Senate is not a valid representation of the people.  When the US Constitution was written and the US Senate was formed in 1789, the 13 original colonies had populations ranging from 59,096 in Delaware to 691,937in Virginia. Virginia had 10 times the population of Delaware. Today California has a population of 39,536,653 and Wyoming has a population of 579,315, that's 70 times more!  A 10 to 1 ratio back in 1789 might have seemed reasonable, but I wonder what the founding fathers would think today of 70 to 1?  California has one senator per 20,000,000 people, Wyoming has one per 290,000 people. A Constitutional Amendment can be implemented in either of the following formats per Article 5: An Amendment may be proposed either by the US Congress with a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, or by a convention of states called for by two-thirds of the state legislatures.  To become part of the Constitution, an Amendment can either be ratified by three-quarters of both state legislatures in the US Congress, or by the legislatures of three-quarters of the states, or by state ratifying conventions in three-quarters of the states. Perhaps an Amendment could pass in which the 2 least populated states would give one US Senate seat to the 2 most populated states in the US. California (highest populated) would then have one Senator per 13,300,000 people, Wyoming (lest populated) would have one Senator per 580,000 people. The ratio would be reduced to 23 to 1. Texas (2nd highest populated) would have one Senator per 8,300,000 people, and Vermont (2nd least populated) would have one Senator per 623,000 people. The ratio would be reduced to 14 to 1. 

 

Gerrymandering – there are software apps that draw lines and create Districts by the Part in Power, with a large portion of the Party Out of Power’s voters in just a few Districts, and the rest of the Districts split so many have a majority of the Party In Power’s voters. The Party in Power then has a disproportionate amount of “representation” in government. It’s a false representation of the population. It’s called gerrymandering, named after Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry who in 1812 signed a Bill that redistricted Massachusetts to benefit his party, one district of which looked like a salamander.  Here’s a quote from David Winston, who drew House districts for the Republican party after the U.S. Census in 1990, “As a mapmaker, I can have more of an impact on an election than a campaign, more of an impact than a candidate. When I, as a mapmaker, have more of an impact on an election than the voters, the system is out of whack.  So let’s get rid of Gerrymandering and come up with a more equitable method of delineating districts. Gerrymandering cases from Wisconsin, Maryland, Texas North Carolina and other states are presently in the Supreme Court and other courts. In Michigan, an all-volunteer group of 3000 activists has defied the odds by collecting hundreds of thousands of voter signatures for a 2018 initiative to overhaul redistricting in Michigan.  See what they did and do it in your state. Take Action.

 

Get rid of electoral college, or set up a state by state contract to bypass it. There’s a proposal in the works now called the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact”, and it’s an agreement between groups of states to award their electoral votes to the winner of the popular national vote. The electoral college was set up by the founding fathers to insure against an unyielding public choosing an unqualified candidate, with the electors voting for a different more appropriate candidate should that occur.  Perhaps that was a good idea back in 1787, but now it has done the opposite and elected Donald Trump with 3 million less votes than the opposing candidate.  I don’t think the founding fathers would approve of this outcome. Contact your representatives and Take Action.

 

Get involved in depolarization as described at better-angels.org: The United States is disuniting. The last presidential election only made clear what many have feared – that we’re becoming two Americas, each angry with the other, and neither trusting the other’s basic humanity and good intentions. Today Americans increasingly view their political opponents not only as misguided, but also as bad people whose ways of thinking are both dangerous and incomprehensible. This degree of civic rancor threatens our democracy. Launched in 2016, Better Angels is a bipartisan citizen’s movement to unify our divided nation. By bringing red and blue Americans together into a working alliance, we’re building new ways to talk to one another, participate together in public life, and influence the direction of the nation. Take Action.
 

Overturn Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission. This was the landmark US corporate and campaign finance law dealing with regulation of political campaign spending by organizations. The US Supreme Court held (5–4) on January 21, 2010 that the free speech clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the government from restricting expenditures from independent non-government organizations towards advertising for political candidates. This opened the flood gates for the super-rich to drive elections. Recall Thomas Jefferson’s quote: “a vast accession of strength…founded on banking institutions and monied in corporations under the guise and cloak of their favored branches of manufactures commerce and navigation, riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry.” Take Action to address the super-rich driving elections.

 

Should the President face impeachment?  On what grounds?  Research the impeachment process and take action if you see fit. Go to impeachdonaldtrumpnow.org and other sites for information on this topic. Contact your representatives and say such.  Take Action.

Based on President Trump’s behaviors, is he fit for office? The 25th Amendment to the Constitution Section 4 states:

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the President’s cabinet or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the president of the Senate and  the speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of his cabinet members or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the president the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

Can anything be done about the unequal distribution of wealth in this country? Look at the wealth distribution shown below as presented by Dan Ariely and Michael Norton in their 2011 study Building a Better America—One Wealth Quintile at a Time, in Perspectives on Psychological Science:

Note the disparity between the ideal and estimated distribution of wealth, versus the actual distribution of wealth:

Top 20% have 84% of the wealth

2nd 20% have 11%

Middle 20% have 4.7%

4th 20% have 0.2%

bottom 20% have 0.1%

Bottom 40% have 0.3% of the wealth - purple and light blue are so small they do not appear on the chart.

Does this seem reasonable? If not, Take Action

If you think 25th Amendment should be implemented at this time, contact your representatives and say such, Take Action.

Are you in favor of term limits? Congress has a 13 percent approval rating, but a 95% re-election rate. That’s because our elected leaders can abuse their power to keep away challengers, which transfers power from citizens and into the hands of unaccountable career politicians. If you see fit, go to www.termlimits.com and other sites for information on this topic and Take Action.
 

I have Summit Meetings at my place every few months. Friends come over, we have fun and talk politics for an evening, making sure to keep it friendly and respectful.  Take Action, have a Summit Meeting at your place.

 

Start your own political website promoting discussion on various topics – see www.synthisophy.com as an example.  Although I’ve had much better success generating activity on my www.facebook.com/synthisophy/ page. Try and stay Centrist.  Take Action.

 

Nowhere in the US Constitution does it state that the government is a two party system, so let’s create a third party in the middle between the Left and the Right, and call it something like the Realist party, or the Centrist Party.

 

Close the Revolving Door between Wall Street and other major financial, investment medical and other institutions, and Washington. The major players shuttle between top jobs in Washington and Wall Street and other major institutions.  As a result, the government is “captured” and in effect becomes an arm of these institutions, passing laws to make bankers richer rather than protecting average citizens. Isn’t this what Thomas Jefferson warned us about? Take Action.

 

Figure out a way to minimize fraud, as seen in the tobacco, fossil fuel, opioid/pharma, and many other industries. Take Action.

Put an absolute limit on the amount of money that could be spent on an election, shorten the campaign season. Take Action

 

Reinstate Glass-Steagall Act – otherwise, the mortgage crisis of 2008 would not have happened. Take Action.

Pass law that requires presidential candidates to submit and make their tax returns public. Take Action.

 

Does anything need to be done in the area of Immigration reform? Take Action.

 

Does anything need to be done in the area of health care reform? Take Action.

 

More quickly transition to renewable energy? Take Action.

 

Is there a stock market bubble now? Take Action

 

Rebuild American Infrastructure? Take Action

 

Should we enact a carbon tax? Take Action.

 

Eliminate Super Pacs. Take Action

And most importanly, Vote.

 

 

These are just a few suggestions, I’m sure there are many others. With synthisophy in mind, I hope that many people will Take Action in our Democratic Republic and go in many directions to bring about much needed change in our present society. As Thomas Jefferson says above, it is time for the people to stand up to the moneyed interests, to the alt-Right and alt-Left, and bring our democracy and society back to its roots. It’s what the founding fathers originally intended as stated in the Declaration of Independence: “Governments are instituted among the people, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”  And as Abraham Lincoln said in his Gettysburg address: “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” What will be the answer to Ben Franklin’s question about the creation of the USA and the US Constitution in 1787: “We’ve given you a Republic, can you keep it?”  Take Action!