Tag Archives: representation

Physician, Heal Thyself

for Jim Morrison, who I very liberally paraphrase and augment: Why are songs and poems important? Because songs and poems are the basis by which culture is passed from generation to generation. No one sits at their child’s bedside and reads them War and Peace; they teach in rhyme, in meter, in short works. In the building blocks of culture.

There is no spokesperson for your generation;
it is a hoax that you want to believe —
that someone else will speak for you,
explain those crazy thoughts of yours
that keep you awake late in the night
questioning first, your sanity,
then next, the sanity of those who judge sanity.

There is no great role model for your age;
just another media frenzy led by old, tired sharks
who want to find a way to package
some elixir of youth, then age you before your time
and hook you on the stuff, too.

There is no voice crying out from the wild,
no magic bullet or single dosage
no seer sage poet priest politician messiah.

There is just you.

And the dreams you don’t express.
And the others you let speak for you.

Throw away your radio,
your Billboard and Rolling Stone,
your solid gold subscription
to someone else’s Top Ten List.

Speak your own words.
Speak your own mind.
Teach yourself how.

20 JUL 2004

Share This:

Rambling on Politics

Democracy is dependent upon a single, basic premise: that those with power as a result of wealth and social standing are willing to reject the advantage conferred by the possesion of this power and reject the use of any such advantage in the defense of their position against others with differing viewpoints and agendas who do not possess similar advantage. In short, democracy demands equality before the law. Despite the obvious fact that individuals are NOT equal with respect to environment, education, race, religion, intellect, physical prowess, social standing and/or graces, financial wherewithal, and so forth, the intention of a TRUE democracy is to ignore those factors and regard each person as legally interchangeable.

There are, of course, safeguards built into our legal system to ensure this. But unfortunately, they do not address the fact that there is in practice, if not in the theory upon which that practice is based, a great disparity between the resources available to some versus others. In our democracy, for example, a defendant is provided with legal counsel in matters of criminal court. In a true democracy, it would be either ensured that this legal counsel vouchsafed an indigent defendant is comparable (in education, experience, and expertise) to the counsel for the prosecution, or that the party prosecuting the case would be no better than the individual produced by the defense. Likewise, for a wealthy defendant, it should be ensured that the quality of their attorney should be correlative with the quality of the prosecuting attorney.

With respect to democracy by representation, true democracy requires that the agent, or representative, be truly of the people they represent. For example, a congressman should be of similar educational background, financial status, cultural milieu and so forth of their average constitutuent. That means no congressperson should being wearing suits that the majority of their district cannot afford. Likewise, the salaries of government officials should never exceed the average per capita income of their “flock”. In regard to campaign contributions, no political candidate should receive from ANY contributor (personal, or corporation — which legally is the corpus or body at the head of which is the representative of any number of stockholders who have chosen to invest their individual monies and/or opinions in the legal person thus incorporated) more than the equivalent of one week’s salary of their average voting bloc. That would eliminate the campaign finance issue altogether, perhaps — and salary increase issue as well — because the only way for a candidate or congressperson or president to get more money (either in salary or contributions) would be to actively improve the living wage of their constituency. Now of course, you might say that will increase the jostling over “prime districts”. Well, I think it only need be sorted out at the smaller district level. Larger districts, such as states or countries (i.e., senators and presidents) typically include a wide range of income, including much that is NOT wealthy. In California, for example, it is probably likely that the district that includes Beverly Hills would have a high median income, versus the district that includes Compton and Gardena. For a Senator, that would probably wash out at some level. For a Representative, however, Beverly Hills represents a cushier spot. However, the basic premise of democracy as defined above can be applied here. The point is that financial, social, etc., inequality MUST not influence legal equality. Therefore, the average amount of campaign contributions from the wealthiest quarters CANNOT exceed the average contribution amounts from the poorest quarters. That means that if Pickens County, Arkansas as a whole contributes only $500, then Los Angeles County, California can only contribute the equivalent per capita amount (for example if there are 500 contributors in Pickens County, Arkansas that roughly equates to $5 per contributor; to apply that to Los Angeles County assuming a population of 5,000,000 means that the most that could be used by that constituency is $5 each, or $25M. But that is a VERY wild theory that probably in five minutes will make no sense.

The point is this, I guess. To me, it’s like televangelism. There are no circumstances when a preacher should be wearing a Rolex unless the majority of the constituency to which they preach ALSO not only can afford Rolexes, but chooses to spend their monies on such things. By the same token, under no circumstances should an elected official be wearing a suit, driving a car, living in a home, that the majority of their constituents could not afford. Not on the distribution of wealth, but the distribution of numbers. Because, you’ll remember, democracy is about legal equality. Which is a numeric base. 1 = 1.

Of course, military service should be determined on the same basis. Particularly in a draft. There is no legal way, in a true democracy, for a wealthy child to get a deferment when a poor child does not. As far as the law of democracy goes, they are absolutely equal. Anyone who bends that system does not believe in democracy. And should NEVER be elected mayor, governor, senator, congressperson, president or even head of a homeowner’s association in so-called democratic nation. Or something like that.

Share This:

Primary Colors

You can’t trust the politicians,
but they’re really not to blame
’cause we give them what they work with,
handing over without shame

all the best of our intentions
and worst of our desires,
all the evils we won’t mention
but that honesty requires.

So in every politician,
there’s a bit of you and me;
they do try to represent us
and they do, to some degree:

all the quick conclusions
and the power we adore,
all the easiest solutions
that end in poverty and war.

There are some good politicians,
but they don’t stay good for long
because who they represent is us
and we are often wrong:

all the selfish motives
and all the foolish pride.
All the general vote is
is picking for your side.

09 SEP 2003

Share This: