. . . That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,
deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, �That whenever any
Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the
People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, . . . organizing
its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their
Safety and Happiness.� --The Declaration of Independence
How many more lies must we listen to? How many more
political scandals must we endure? How many more of our young people have to be
grievously wounded or die in unnecessary and illegal wars, and how many more
trillions of dollars in economic waste must we clean up before we are sickened
enough to demand effective changes in our government?
Are we ready for a peaceful political �evolution� to safeguard our personal and economic freedoms in this
country and to avoid committing war crimes against others?
Crossing, an excellent history of the near failure of the American
Revolution in the winter of 1776, David Hackett Fischer concluded that neither
Washington�s leadership nor the victories at Trenton and Princeton saved the
revolution following his resounding defeat in New York City.
To the contrary, Washington�s victories resulted from the
revival of spirit that arose among the ordinary people in the Delaware Valley
as they began to read Thomas Paine�s American
According to Fischer, �This great revival grew from defeat,
not from victory. The awakening was a response to a disaster. Doctor Benjamin
Rush, who had a major role in the event, believed that this was the way a free
public would always work, and the American republic in particular. He thought
it was a national habit of the American people (maybe all free people) not to
deal with a difficult problem until it was nearly impossible.�
Although we are calculating the cost in thousands of lives
and billions of dollars, we cannot imagine the full extent of damage that will
flow from our president�s having misled our nation into an illegal war with
Iraq and our innocent troops into the commission of war crimes.
We are only beginning to get a glimpse of the devastation to
the American economy caused by unrestrained deregulation and reckless Wall
Street gambling, as our president threw away our hard-earned money, eliminated
taxes for his wealthy friends, ran up debts for our children and grandchildren
to pay in the future, tried to destroy our Social Security system, encouraged
the shipment of American jobs out of the country, and allowed the international
value of our currency to depreciate.
All of us, liberals, conservatives and independents, are going to be increasingly harmed by the
failures of our government and those we�ve allegedly elected to run it.
We must anticipate that there are more lies on their lips
waiting to be told, even more ugly secrets waiting to be uncovered and even
worse scandals yet to unfold.
The good news is that the American people remain the best,
the bravest, and the brightest our human civilization has ever produced. America
is the Promised Land, and Americans
are an amalgamation of all races and all cultures on Earth.
The American genetic pool is the most robust and diverse of
any society on earth, and the revolutionary spirit continues to run deep and
true in the bloodlines of all who yearn for freedom and the full fruits of their
The American people will survive and, ultimately, we will
achieve a government that better cares for us and is less threatening to the
rest of the world.
The bad news is that we will have to go through hell to get
there. So, how do we brave the flames?
A national policy
Perhaps the most basic problem with our government today is
that, irrespective of the party in power, it primarily responds to the demands
of large corporations and moneyed special interest groups, rather than respecting
the hopes and aspirations of ordinary workers and small businesses.
Every four years the two main political parties construct �platforms�
to serve as publicity gimmicks to get their candidate elected. After the
election, both parties generally ignore the policies they set forth in their
platforms and begin to take care of themselves and their financial supporters,
rather than to do what they said they were going to do for the rest of us.
The process is supposed to result in policies that reflect the
interests of the voters, but it is a scandal at best. At worst, it is a
continuing political disaster.
Access by individuals to their elected officials is the
foundation of a republican form of government. However, the election of our
representatives is now more dependent upon massive expenditures of campaign
contributions from their corporate sponsors, their wealthy friends, and
well-funded, single-issue, special interest groups rather than upon a
meaningful vote by an informed electorate.
Special interest groups deploy more than 35,000 lobbyists
and spend more than $10 billion each year to promote their agendas. While there
are allegedly some limits on campaign contributions, there are no restraints on
No matter how deeply we ordinary citizens dig into our
pockets, we cannot financially compete with the powerful special interests. No
matter how well we organize, we cannot match the influence of the financial and
political insiders. No matter how often we march and picket, they will always
beat us through the side door into the corridors of power.
Not only are we are no longer represented; we have also been
stripped of constitutional protections we once enjoyed. Thoughtful people of
every political persuasion are increasingly alarmed about the reductions in
freedom we have passively accepted in response to 9/11. Many of us,
irrespective of party or political beliefs, now question whether the Bill of
Rights will survive another alleged terrorist
Since we have been abandoned by our government, we must
collectively focus upon a peaceful method to modify our government to one which
more attentively considers the needs and protection of all voters, whether
Republican, Democrat, Reform, Libertarian, Green or Independent.
An intolerant, nonresponsive and repressive government
cannot endure. The choice is whether political change results from a violent
revolution or a peaceful evolution,
from a revolt or an evolt.
One way we can regain control of our government is to
require it to hold a National Policy Referendum every four years when we vote
for our president. Such a referendum would not make law; rather the purpose
would be to express the collective policy of the people through their answers
to the major political questions that should most concern the new
administration and Congress during their terms of office.
Individuals and organizations could nominate policy
questions; Congress would have to debate the issues in formulating 12 current
policy questions to be listed on a national ballot, and the president would
have to either sign or veto the bill.
To ensure passage of the policy bill, perhaps the pay of all
members of Congress and the president and
all members of their senior staffs should be withheld commencing on the New
Year�s Day of each presidential election year until the issues are identified. Or,
maybe all national political campaign contributions to parties and candidates
should be prohibited until after the policy referendum bill is passed and
Once the questions are promulgated, presidential candidates
(and other elected representatives) would be forced to take positions on a wide
variety of real issues.
Politics has been defined as the art of not telling the
truth, and politicians quickly learn to avoid telling the truth at all cost. Because
there are special interests on both sides of every issue, it is impossible to
please everyone, yet the politicians strive onward, lying and denying, twisting
and hiding, trying to grab every vote.
The best theater can be seen during the presidential
debates. Trying to get a straight answer from any of the candidates is like
waiting for pigs to fly.
Most importantly, we the voters would be more likely to
study and question the issues and to arrive at our own opinions, rather than to
have them spoon-fed to us by the corporate media.
Not only must we increasingly talk about the issues over the
back fence or in the breakroom, we must also insist that the Fairness Doctrine
eliminated by the Reagan-appointed Federal Communication Commission be
resurrected to require fair comment and competing points of view by ordinary
voters to be aired for all to hear.
Instead of responding emotionally to brief television and
radio ads, most of which are designed to evoke a negative reaction, we would be
far more likely to thoughtfully consider positive information and political
A number of countries, including Canada, Sweden and
Switzerland refer policy matters to their voters for binding decisions, and the
European Union resulted from a referendum in the participating countries. During
its 2004 presidential election, Taiwan submitted two policy questions regarding
its relations with China to voters. However, no nation presently holds a
nonbinding policy referendum as a matter of course.
There are those who might argue that the presidential
election is a referendum on the
candidates� platforms; however, the winner-take-all results do not, in any way,
suggest the level of voter support for any of the competing issues. The outcome
turns far too often on which of the candidates makes the fewest mistakes or
which has devised the most effective smear campaign.
A National Policy Referendum will not be a national opinion
poll. The process of articulating the political questions, the more lively
debate, and our thoughtful vote will validate the results far beyond that
attainable by any random sampling, no matter how scientific. Voters will not be
expressing a snap opinion. Nor will voters make law. Voters will make policy!
A right to vote in a National Policy Referendum can be found
in the First Amendment to the Constitution, which expressly provides our right
to petition our government for redress. Our right to peaceably assemble and to
seek redress was intended as the bedrock of our free society and as a safety
valve to avoid violent revolution.
In a free society, we have a duty to avoid the use of force,
even if we believe our existence under ineffectual government is being
seriously threatened. It is also our duty to peacefully petition our
government, before we resort to violence.
If we are to effectively modify our government through a
peaceful political evolution, we must be allowed to exercise our vote in a
National Policy Referendum. Otherwise, what can we do?
A peaceful write-in
As effective as a national referendum may be to establish
government policy, little good will come of it unless those we elect are forced
to pay attention to our interests and to actually carry out our policies. As it
is, presidential candidates say one thing and do another to the extent they
believe they can get away with it, and because of party politics, we keep
getting stuck with having to decide upon the lesser of two evils.
Imagine if we combined a National Policy Referendum with a
grassroots rebellion in which a majority of us were to actually write in the name of the person we
wanted to preside over our government. Wouldn�t we seize the power that
legitimately belongs to the citizens of this country and wouldn�t we evolve a far more effective and representative
Can we trust the current method by which we elect our
president? Are there good reasons why we should rebel against the present
In 2000, more than a half million voters selected Al Gore,
the Democratic candidate, over George Bush, the Republican candidate. However,
Bush prevailed in the Electoral College because the United States Supreme Court
interfered, stopped the Florida vote recount and five justices voted to give him
that state�s 20 electoral votes, even though the candidates were only separated
by a few hundred popular votes.
Bush had an edge and the fix was in. His brother, Jeb, was
governor and Secretary of State Katherine Harris chaired his Florida reelection
committee. Not only were thousands of eligible (mostly Democratic) Florida
voters disenfranchised before the election, but every effort to manually
recount the ballots, including thousands of rejected votes, was blocked by the
Secretary of State.
A phony riot was staged by Republican Party operatives flown
in from out of state to intimidate local election supervisors, and five
Republican-appointed members of the U.S. Supreme Court contrived a
politically-motivated decision that reversed a far more reasoned opinion by
Florida�s high court, which had ordered that every voter�s intention be
determined as accurately as possible.
Following the election, Congress passed the $3 billion Help
American Vote Act, which encouraged the States to purchase secret computerized
voting systems manufactured and maintained by companies whose officers
uniformly support the Republican Party.
Walden W. O�Dell was the chief executive of one of those
companies, Diebold Inc. In August 2003, he sent a letter to 100 wealthy friends
inviting them to a Republican Party fund-raiser at his home in Columbus, Ohio. He
said, �I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the
president next year.� It appears that he did.
The 2004 election differed from 2000 in that George W. Bush
may have received a higher percentage of the popular vote; however, it has been
proven he should have lost in the Electoral College, except for another
fraudulent election, this time in (no surprise) Ohio.
Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell served as the
chairman of Bush�s Ohio reelection campaign and publicly called Senator Kerry,
the Democratic candidate, a �disaster� sure to reap �terrible� and �horrible�
results if elected. Not only did Blackwell cause the registrations of
Democratic voters to be rejected because they were on the wrong weight of
paper, there were too few voting machines allocated to poor (and largely
When combined with a Republican Party program of
aggressively issuing personal challenges to voters and the casting of
provisional ballots, the vote suppression tactics led to long lines and waits
of up to seven hours to vote, primarily in poor neighborhoods. Many people
finally gave up and lost their right to vote.
Exit polls across the nation appeared to give Kerry an
advantage in the popular vote, up to 3 percent in the swing states of Ohio,
Pennsylvania and Florida. Even before the votes were counted, Blackwell was
bragging that he had helped �deliver� Ohio in announcing Bush�s �victory.� In
just these three states, the odds of the dramatic swing between the exit polls
and the final tabulation have been calculated as 250 million to one!
During the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2005, to
certify the electoral vote, only one dozen Democratic House members and one
Democratic senator stood up to complain about the voting irregularities in
Ohio. However, their objections did force a debate about Electoral College
results for only the second time since 1877. After a two-hour session, the
Senate voted 74-1 and the House voted 267-31 to reject the protest. Can it be
said that either party truly had the interests of the voters at heart?
Our democratic republic is founded upon our ability to trust
the results of our collective vote. Is there any doubt that the advent of black
box voting, systematic election fraud, and the widespread intimidation of
voters dictate that we seize control
of the election process before the chance is lost forever?
Each of us must find within us the individual courage and
initiative to perform one simple rebellious act -- refuse to use the
computerized voting machines or any other machine ballot.
Instead of responding like laboratory animals pushing a
button in response to the stimulus of the latest 10-second television smear ad,
we can each take a little longer to carefully consider the candidates presented
on the ballot by the various political parties.
Once we decide, we can demonstrate our literacy and our
power by clearly writing in our personal choice for president of the United
States, whether or not his or her name is on the ballot!
Presently, half of all voters don�t bother going to the
polls and fewer than one-quarter actually elect the president for all of us. Imagine
the immense power that would flow to the people if voting truly became
If voter turnout was to dramatically increase, and if only
15 to 25 percent of all voters were to write in their electoral choices, trust
that the politicians would be scrambling to ensure that all write-in votes cast
for them are legally counted. We would quickly find all of them registering
their willingness to accept every write-in vote naming them for any office of
If we simple voters are smart enough to earn a living and to
figure out how to pay our taxes and if we have courage enough to fight the wars
started by our government, we are also entitled to collectively establish basic
policy to guide our government, and to personally write in the name of whomever
we consider most qualified to effectuate our policies.
We, the ordinary voters of every party, must evolt against politics as usual and join
in a nonviolent evolution to
transform our government.
We must demand a national ballot for
president that presents the 12 most important national policy questions and which lists the presidential
candidates nominated by the major political parties.
All paid political advertising should be prohibited during
the week before the election, and everyone should enjoy a four-day paid holiday
weekend to celebrate the most sacred sacrament of our national political
religion. No voter should ever be turned away from the polls, and every vote
must be patiently hand counted.
We should go to our polling place and thoughtfully answer
the policy questions presented on the ballot. Then, we should carefully write
in the name of the person we select
to implement our policy.
It could take a week or two to slowly and carefully hand
count (or recount) the ballots. So what! The results will be felt far beyond
We will again evolve a new system of government that will
better serve to provide freedom, justice and prosperity to all who share this
We will decide who is in charge of the United States and we will chart the direction of its
future. We are The Voters!
Copyright � 2008 William
William John Cox is
the author of You�re
Not Stupid! Get the Truth: A Brief on the Bush Presidency.
His political writings can be found at www.thevoters.org,
and he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.