Our 21st Century Growing Pains

Call for Envisioning/Creating Reconciliation Councils in Every Neighborhood
By Larry Sparks

In these times of troubles, most Americans are unaware of the potential in our every day decisions. The challenges we face are the consequences of the courage shown and the choices made by our ancestors and elders. Our decisions and choices are our gifts to our children and friends. We are now in a very similar puzzling time of douth and question every value we have. Million of us cultural creatives have come to realize that what is was created based on our valuing things more than people. Thinking our problems are personal failure as oppose to systemic degrading value that create roadblock to humanizing or self and society. Most of these choice were created by representatives who cared more for their self interest then in our human need, thus turning every aspect of our lives into things. Even having the arrogance to turn corporations into human being and giving inanimate object human voices to sell stuff.

Very few people realize that in our era of materialism and ill reason, we have to go against our common sense in order to become more human human beings. We have the opportunity and responsibility to become fifty times grander than we ever thought we could be, the responsibility and opportunity to transcend the mundane and become the extraordinary. Out of today’s negativity, by the everyday choices we make, we can move to and advance our species to the next stage of human evolution.

Going beyond race class age sex we find ourselves in a revolutionary period where a simple act of picking up a piece of trash is a revolutionary act, a symbol of creating new human relations with our neighbors in beloved community. Out of this decision-making awareness and consciousness, we can once again regain our humanity by choosing not to destroy the planet.

We need a new Declaration of Independence from dehumanizing acts of hate, lust and violations/violence of all kind. We need to meet the challenge of Martin Luther King Jr,’s ‘s call in the last three years of his life to create beloved communities by making a radical revolution in values and taking a stand against militarism, materialism and racism. We need to go beyond Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention in which he continued to define our identity, self-worth, and relationships by the consumer madness of the “great middle class.” If we continue to view our human identity that way, we will continue to destroy ourselves and the Earth.

By acknowledging that we are our “brother’s keepers”, we recognize that we are only one of the many species who reside on Planet Earth. Without this respect and recognition we become damaged human beings like the guy who says, “I don’t care, I’ll be dead anyway.” Technocrats in our country have turn everything into commodities, thus losing our capacity to think in a socially conscious human. Should society be organize based on individual advancement or should it be taking the best of what we have accomplish over 3000 generations
and make a way out of no way, that way being higher more advance human self worth? Taking our historical lesson to create a new American.

What are the organic ethical and sacred principles that will guide us through the 21st century? How do we join and bring to life, as our mentor Grace Lee Boggs and her late husband Jimmy Boggs envisioned and to which they dedicated their lives, the noble quest for a renewed America, an America which we can all be proud to call our own?

I love America but hate some of the things that are done in my name. Grace is constantly reminding us that we are all works in progress, always both being and becoming. To quote Teilhard de Chardin, ”Nothing is constructed except at the price of equivalent destruction.” (The Phenomenon of Man, p. 51) Hope doesn’t just happen! Join this world-wide movement to enrich our humanity.

As right and the left becomes involved or even corrupted with traditional electoral politics, we need to join in the mission to rebuild, redefine and respirit Detroit, Michigan, and our Beloved USA, so that we can live in the world in a new, more sharing/caring non-idealistic way, guided by, envisioning and finding new ways to meet our potential as human beings, battling/resisting any violation of that quest. Going beyond capitalism and beyond socialism using what it means be a human being as our standard to judge thus transcend backward ideas. Going beyond violence thus the violations of our quest to love hope and the new American all inclusive dream.

Won’t you join us, your neighbors, in building participatory democracy, through Local Responsibility Councils on every block.

A lot of Americans recognize that our electoral system does not provide for government of, by and for the people.

The article explains why changes in technology and campaign funding – while important – are not enough to democratize the present system. It is the system itself that has led to declining voter participation; under-representation of racial minorities, women and the poor; lack of meaningful competition and choice in most elections; and failure to mobilize, inform and inspire half the eligible electorate. Therefore the rules of the system themselves need changing.

To begin with, we need to struggle for a system of proportional representation to replace the present winner-take-all system which disenfranchises those who voted for a losing candidate even though the margin of victory for the winner, as in Florida, may be less than the margin of error. Proportional representation, by contrast, rewards not only the winning candidate but everyone who has been involved in the election. Every voter counts. It also moves politics towards struggle over issues and away from obsession with candidates and personalities. So it generates citizen participation not only on election day but in between elections.
Proportional representation voting would not require amending the U.S. Constitution because nothing in the Constitution requires winner-take-all single-member districts.

To force passage of this legislation, however, requires a citizens movement with the same commitment to grassroots organizing as the civil rights movement that forced the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. We can’t depend on the parties or on politicians.

But changing our present system to make every voter count will benefit not only blacks but everyone under-represented in the present system.

Therefore, to give momentum to the movement, activists need to go beyond identity politics and, in the tradition of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., act primarily as aroused and engaged citizens. As Guinier puts it, “‘ One vote, one value,” a notion underscored by the conservative Supreme Court majority, ironically could become the rallying cry of a multiracial and multi-issue grass-roots movement of voters throughout the nation. It could herald a new era of issue-centered rather than candidate-centered politics. Black leaders may be key in some communities; union activists or environmentalists in others. But in the end, an aroused and engaged citizenry — one committed to a broad, multiracial democracy — will be our best, indeed our only protection to ensure that every vote counts and that every citizen can truly vote.

— “Its Time Is Coming” By Grace Lee Boggs, Michigan Citizen, April 1-7, 2001



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