Hi Friends - as earlier reported, I am not able to blog much here in July, and then I will check the weather to see if it makes sense to continue.
However, even in the midst of craziness, I wanted to post again about ALEC - because we all need to know who is taking over our government at the state and federal level. One of the more naive things we could think these days is that our democracy is under threat but continues to function, that it's just a matter of winning an election or two to turn things around. But now elections themselves are tainted (as we know so well here in Wisconsin, starting with Waukesha County) and we can no longer trust results. We have let right-leaning technology companies take over the polling process, exposing our votes to hacking and various ways to program miscounts (see, for example, http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/24/us/computer-voting-is-open-to-easy-fraud-experts-say.html, or this intriguing article that shows you how to steal an election, http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2006/10/evoting.ars) .
Meanwhile, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), made up of a very few corporate donors and rightist pro-corporate legislators is writing the legislation that is coming before our state governments all across the country. I just want to say this: the threat to our democracy is real and profound. It's why during all the tumult of last winter and early spring, I kept insisting that, while the threat to collective bargaining rights was important, something even more crucial was taking place. If we lose democracy, many other rights will be lost as well.
So, my quick message this morning - to know what's happening, to care, to not give up, to engage beyond party or sector interests but on behalf of the greater common good. We may not all face the same threats to our well-being, whether public sector union rights or access to public education or clean water or health care, etc. Some of us face various forms of discrimination, unemployment, mortgage defaults, and more. But what we share in common is our claim to the right to democratic participation in a process not rigged by corporations and a rightist party seeking a permanent majority on their behalf. Without enforceable defense and protection of that basic right, we are all in trouble.
Here are links to the two articles that woke me from my blog slumber this morning:
ALEC Exposed, by John Nichols
A Discreet Nonprofit Brings Together Politicians and Corporations to Write 'Model Bills', from ProPublica
Merry reading! But don't get depressed, get focused!