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Mon Dec 10, 2012, 06:52 AM


"We have the right to participate in a genuine decision making process, not a rigged parody"

(This was written by the young teacher who infiltrated an ALEC meeting. I posted her video, reposted here, last week)


ALEC’s education task force, like all the others, is a mix of state-level elected officials (their so-called “public” members), as well as “private” members: lobbyists from for-profit companies, and lobbyists from corporate-funded think tanks... Iowa State Representative Greg Forristall called for some opening remarks from Indiana State Rep. Cindy Noe, who proceeded to tell the room about how wonderfully their new education policies were unfolding in Indiana. Nevertheless, she called on the organization to start looking... more closely at the content of what's taught in schools. "If we're not careful," she charged, "we will end up with a full generation of secular humanists, of multiculturalists-- with kids who don't know real American values..."

They started talking policy...it felt a bit like that scene in The Matrix where Cypher is looking at the stream of 1s and 0s, but...can visualize people and objects through the code. That's what public policy has started to feel like for me: except instead of a fake reality manufactured by digital code, ours is a lived reality bound by the set of decisions...embodied in our legal code.

So for example, if we look at the union-busting laws ALEC favors...we can start to see our fellow workers who are going to have a harder time organizing as a result, and who will in turn have a much harder time commanding the living wage and benefits they need to feed, house and take care of themselves and their families. We can see the extra time and energy a growing number of us will have to spend working... Thinking as a teacher, I also can’t help but consider how all of those things will impact the classroom. If students’ guardians are working 70 or 80 hours a week because their bosses refuse to pay them a decent hourly wage...that means they’re forcing students to live with the social and emotional consequences that come with being surrounded by overworked and/or undervalued adults -- both at home and at school.

So those policies bother me just as much as the education policies under discussion in that particular room, as does the fact that the people making those policies have no clue about the lived experiences of those of us they impose them upon... there’s a reason why government is supposed to be of, by and for all the people: that’s the only way to get all of the information necessary to make decisions that work (more or less) for everyone, not just the people in power.

And this was turning-point number two....When they called for the public members' vote on a bill... I heard just one voice say, "Aye." When they called for the private members' vote, a chorus of voices said "Aye." Realizing that there were clearly more private members in attendance than public ones, and recognizing that those gathered had no problem with the impropriety of that fact, was just galling to me. That set off a string of very visceral realizations about just how insidious this process is.... How much can we expect our local officials to continue identifying with little old us, when they start being regularly flown far from their home districts to be wined and dined by national and international corporate lobbyists? And how much harder will that make it for us to change the outcome of a largely predetermined policymaking process, when we only find out that a bill is being pushed a few weeks or days before a vote, while they’ve been locked away planning these things for a year or more in advance...?

I’m done tolerating this. I refuse to continue living in a society where some people are essentially allowed to lie to the public with impunity, and buy the ability to disempower other people. I know I’m far from the only person who feels this way. But if we want our power back, those of us who share the same interests (which does not necessarily mean the same ideas) must unite and show the tiny group who doesn’t that they can’t trick, divide or hide from us anymore. As I believe I demonstrated, this doesn’t always have to be an ugly process—but yes, it will require some disruption to the powers-that-be.

We have the right to participate in genuine decision-making processes, not a rigged parody of such. And we have the right to make sure our various ideas can compete (and/or converge) on a level playing field. That means we have a responsibility to stand up, together, and peacefully but forcefully confront anyone who consistently reveals their intention to prevent that.


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Reply "We have the right to participate in a genuine decision making process, not a rigged parody" (Original post)
HiPointDem Dec 2012 OP
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #1

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 03:50 PM

1. the law-making process is rigged. who could have respect for such a process?


who could feel national pride in it?

it's a mafia bidding process, including 'vig' for legislators.

they're on the take, all of them.

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