We are caught in an endless, vicious, unproductive cycle where we think we elect people to positions of power to represent us – but then they are swallowed up into the machine and courted, swayed, and bullied by industry representatives. Every two years or so, the election cycle begins – politicals step up, make promises, flash their smiles, work on their sound bytes, and then disappear into the smoke and mirrors of our so-called representative democracy.
It’s time we did something different. This article in the German journal Deutsche-Welle lays out how the group Extinction Rebellion is advocating for the creation and validation of Citizens’ Assemblies. This isn’t radical. It’s actually quite normal. Systems are meant to evolve and change, to grow and strengthen. What we see happening is a natural cycle of life. The cyclical nature of any living thing involves a birth and a death.
Iceland did this in 2013. When they realized that their bankers had participated in schemes that put the people’s best interest in jeopardy, in order to satisfy the wealthy and elite, they made a collective decision to evolve in a way that was more egalitarian and will hopefully prevent another occurrence of that behavior. In the end, all things must abide by the universal laws of birth and death, and a time will come in the future where Iceland may have to rewrite their constitution again.
In this community, people have been standing up and fighting for over two years. We have had some small victories, which eventually do count at the end of the day. Native Daily Network does a good job of highlighting where we are at this point in time in this article. But we must do more, because the legislators and policy makers are interested only in furthering the effects of unjust and biased laws which support only industry’s interests. The governor’s actions, or lack thereof, were confirmed by his words here.
Therefore, I think it is time we come together as a community, find our common grounds, debate with passion and respect the issues we face, and write a legislative agenda that addresses the problems we see in society. Part of the change that needs to happen within each one of us, in my opinion, is that we have to stop giving up our power to others with the hope that they will do the work the way we intended. We have to own every piece of whatever we create, from the very first to the very last minute. We have to be consistent and diligent in making sure that our desires for an egalitarian and just society don’t crumble under the guise of greedy intentions.
We must feel our way into this work, and we must not falter. There are examples for us to follow. British Columbia, Canada has done it. There are differing opinions of whether or not it has been successful, and therein lies the affirmation of the call to diligence and consistency, because as we evolve, so should the ways we govern.
Justice and peace are not static realities. They shift and morph, as living entities. What we cannot continue is to allow them to die by our inattentiveness and complacency. What we must do is come together and craft a way forward, without the interference of industry and agency because they want to keep the status quo of incremental change in place.
We must be heard, but we must find our voices again, in a collective and just way. In a follow up post, I will point out some of the steps I think need to be taken and some foundational principles that could be used to base this action on. So, stay tuned.