“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” – Leonardo da Vinci
“I shall assume that your silence gives consent.” – Plato

The Most Important Conversation We Could Ever Have

What would explain the strange unease and insecurity many are feeling? What is making the “weaker links” in our society snap? How do we feel about our financial future? Does it seem that our national government now has a more authoritarian “body language”?

Most importantly, how do alert citizens begin the difficult conversations on the problems affecting ordinary Americans? How do we talk about the dysfunction?

These conversations have already begun and you are a part of them. Every conversation you’ve had with a friend, every well though-out comment you’ve posted online has helped keep concerned people engaged one more day.

If you are looking for answers, you are not alone. In fact, you are in great company. Ordinary American citizens such as yourself have had enough of the strange silence and the lack of forthcoming answers.

It is long past time for a discussion of the grave domestic issues affecting our nation. You and people like you have never been more important to the healing and restoration of this country.

We’ve Abandoned the Selfishness of Polarized Politics

We seek to encourage these conversations.

We are ordinary American citizens, both “liberal” and “conservative”, who have given up our political religiosity. We have set aside our “pet” social issues and are coming together for a greater good: the preservation of our citizen-led democracy. Nothing is more important.

A lot of energy and time has been wasted. Guilt-powered pressure groups and moralistic one-issue voters have left our body politic a debris field. It is as if our cherished right of debate has been “weaponized” and turned on itself.

The foundational elements of our citizen-led democracy – the very things that allows us to argue for our cherished issues – have been shredded by their divide-and-conquer politics. And some of us had mistakenly fed our consciences with what is, in effect, the political pornography of partisan web sites.

We are done with this mindless, emotional tug-of-war. It saps our energy and our ability to press on with those core issues that matter to everyone.

We understand now that correct answers and solutions do not line up neatly among party lines. They never have and believing this now is as dangerous as it is delusional.

We must have clear and rested minds because our national government appears overwhelmed. It is time for us to step in.

We Must Stop and Think

While we must not stop progress, we must definitely slow change.

We are standing at the crossroads of our history so we should take a moment and look at the signs. We must consider where we are as a people. Like an ill patient, our nation must sit still to be diagnosed and cured. We can continue to treat new symptoms until our end, or we can carefully study the underlying pathologies to find our cure.

To continue to allow drastic changes in laws and conventions during this tumultuous time is to actively confound our efforts to find answers and solutions. It makes it more difficult for ordinary citizens to effectively do their duty and it could drain what little resources we have left.

The time for fear and complacency is over. It is now time for assessment, reflection, investigation and documentation. It is a time to find out what has worked in the past so we can know what may help in our future.

Regardless of your political persuasion, your energy and critical thinking skills are needed here.

Those Who Do Nothing

Of course there will be American citizens who will go on as if “things will somehow work out” without their involvement. Either from disinterest, dependancy, cowardice or from feeling overwhelmed, they will not be a part of the conversation. They may even demand that you also accept and acclimate to the dysfunction as they are.

The comfortable ignorance they seek is fed by our nearly useless news media. Instead of the probing analysis we have had in great figures such as Walter Kronkite and Edward R. Murrow, we have an unquestioning media that merely reports events and talking points. Our national “watchdog” has become toothless. Most of our journalists have forgotten their role in our democracy or are being prevented from performing their real jobs.

There are other persons and groups in our society that benefit from things being just as they are. There is more money to be made managing problems than solving them. A departure from the trajectory we are on may affect their wealth or station in life. Market shares, in business and in public opinion, are fought over every day and they will not be given up easily. But this nation is not just for them. These people will have to find ways of profiting from their helping us in the preservation our democracy, human dignity and the health of our communities – or they will have to go bankrupt.

How Bad Are Our Problems?

The fact is that the issues facing our nation are grave and may be frightening to some. It is mostly our fault. We have allowed ourselves to become distracted from our civic duty of monitoring our government. It is as if we had hired an employee, paid them handsomely and never monitor their activities.

Self-interest on our part and on the part of some political and business leaders has played an important role. Had we been proper stewards of our democracy, these problems would have never risen to this level.

We had continued to allow the dysfunction because we were made comfortable during an era of financial prosperity, and some businesses and self-interested politicians managed this illusion for the sake of profitability, power and their place in the resulting world.

“History is Written by the Victors.” Let’s Start Writing.

Our politicians and authorities are not the definition of our democracy. They do not dictate to us how we should view our place as citizens of this nation. They are not the standard bearers.

This determination is made by the ordinary American citizen. Who we are as a people is what we all say we are. Each person has a say because each person must live with the result.

American citizens will never give up their roles in this citizen-led democracy. We citizens will reassert our authority as we peacefully demand answers, seek clarity and seek out those faithful elected leaders who have struggled on our behalf for what is fundamentally important to the ordinary American.

Let us all contribute thoughtfully to our national dialog and open-mindedly consider anything and everything that may help us understand our nation’s problems. Let us also watch to see who works to silence us as we American citizens enter this time of assessment. Honorable politicians and agencies would not be concerned of an honest and open dialog for the benefit of the ordinary American.

Only we can make sure that our children’s future will include governance of this wondrous and powerful legacy we have been given.

Good luck to us all.

April 19, 2013