What we're about

Throughout the world, many complex problems – some old, some new – defy resolution through traditional methods. The problem we are focusing on is that democracy is facing grave threats. We are building a diverse group of concerned people to try to identify underlying problems and develop alternative solutions. We envision this as a working group that develops ideas and action plans. Thus far we have identified the following problems. In the coming months we will be researching and examining each of these problems in search of cures. We are always open to considering new problems. If you want to work with us please join:

Our political system is tainted with the corruption of money. Candidates, parties, and elected officials rely too heavily on donations from corporations and wealthy donors to fund campaigns and activities. Recent Supreme Court decisions define money in politics as protected free speech. Lobbyists get almost unlimited access to officeholders and candidates. The power of advertising curtails meaningful discussion on issues as candidates fear saying anything that might be taken out of context.

The gap between the rich and everybody else has been increasing. Over the last thirty years most of the increase in productivity and gross national product has gone into the pockets of the very wealthy. The real-dollar salaries of the vast majority of Americans have stagnated or declined. This contributed greatly to the frustration expressed by voters and non-voters in the 2016 presidential elections as reflected in the support for non-traditional candidates of both parties. Many are questioning the very premise of our capitalist system.

Because of the Electoral College, two presidents were elected recently despite losing the popular vote. The Senate is problematic. California has 66 times more people than Wyoming yet each have the same two votes in the Senate which decides who will sit on our high courts. Until 1920 the House of Representatives grew in size every 10 years. The House has not increased since then despite a tripling in population. Our "winner take all" voting system discourages the formation of more than two parties. Similar problems exist on the state and local level.

The American people are more divided than at any time since the Civil War. There is no longer a sense of a common mission for our nation. There is disagreement over the meanings of the core principles upon which our nation was founded. Our democratic institutions are being called into question. Our communities and families are torn apart by differences over politics and religion. Voter apathy continues to be a problem with large percentages of the voting age population abstaining from elections.

Racism has perhaps been the greatest problem since the founding of our country. While major strides were achieved since the 1950s, racism remains a real problem that contributes to the divisions of our society. Nativism - prejudice and discrimination directed at immigrants - has also been a problem throughout our history. It has reached new heights since the 2016 election with the demonization of large swaths of our immigrant population.

Our K-12 educational system is failing in some of its core missions including developing a good understanding of democracy and our nation’s history. There is far too much inequality in our schools, with “wealthy” districts having far greater resources than “poor” districts. Early childhood education must also be strengthened. As the founders understood, an educated populace is a necessary condition of democracy.

As we are learning, social media has become a double-edged sword. On the one hand it empowers us with the ability to share information and organize politically. On the other hand it has been hijacked by enemies of democracy to subvert our elections and sow division.

So many candidates who seek our votes seem to lack inspiration – strong proposals for the long-term future of our country and world. Part of the problem is the fear of having to raise large sums of money. Another part is the intense personal scrutiny they face. We have begun to see new faces in record numbers entering politics and this is for the good. But we have a long way to go

Upcoming events (1)

Money in Politics: National Reform Proposals & Select State Regulations

At our last Meetup we heard reports from members on two subjects: What Factors Influence Voters and The Role of Money in Politics in Other Democratic Nations. At this upcoming meetup we will hear reports on major proposals to limit the influence of money in politics at the federal level and how the states of Virginia and New York approach the issue.

Photos (6)