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Carolyn LaDelle Bennett

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Collective effort for common good

I agree by and large with what you say in the talk “Lawrence Lessig: We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim” [Filmed Feb 2013 • Posted Apr 2013 • TED2013], but your reflection on your son with a hypothetical brain tumor in composing a response to the woman who raised a question about the impossibility of doing anything about the current state of affairs, I wondered if we might not do well to go beyond thoughts of “our” children or “our” family. I wondered also if a better response might be not in “your” issues (environment or campaign finance or nonviolence, etc.); but the interrelationship of these and the collectivity of effort.

I think an underlying problem we have in the United States is that we compartmentalize, we segregate (we tribalize politically, socially, ideologically); and that segregation or tribalization is used by elite powers, by corporate interests against us and therefore against the whole republic, the public interest, the common good, the common defense and general welfare, as the Constitution’s preamble puts it.

What do you think? How can we Americans ─ or are we too much of the individualist in search of our own “happiness,” our own “stardom,” our own “wealth,” our own “consumption,” etc., that we cannot ─ come together in a broader and more sustaining effort?

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Closing Statement from Carolyn LaDelle Bennett

Resent on activism and activism and conscientious objection -

I received an alert from your address today but not link or message and this reply I sent to you on April 30 might be a reprint. If so disregard.

I hear your comments and am not entirely in disagreement with you as relates to my own character or way of being. I am an activist writer. Writing is my activism or my instrument of activism, my instrument of response to the world. I’m a former professor, an “intellectual,” an independent thinker (in the best sense, an “educator” at heart) who likes to think, especially of ways that we can make our world a better world. I’m not an “on-the-streets” activist of a “Code Pink” or “Occupy” sort (my sense of activism for the greater good is smaller, more deliberative, under the radar, off camera, committed and unending). I think what ended the good work that happened in the 1960s and 1970s ─ though some good happened ─ was that the movement was (or movements were) fragmented, divisive, classicist, void of true and lasting commitment and the commitment to be true and lasting).

I publish a blog and I have a Facebook page. I haven’t been “blown up with emails,” as you put it; but to the extent that I can, I limit what enters my inbox and don’t tolerate or rather don’t respond to incivility; I don’t find bickering or “angry person” antics” useful.

To the extent that I can, I contribute to Pacifica and independent, publicly supported free-speech news radio programming in the United States. I was a Peace Corps teacher in the early years of the PC and my internationalist “activist” worldview ─ my care for human beings at home and abroad, my interest in domestic and foreign affairs and the interrelationship of these ─ was planted and rises from my service overseas.

I think we, all people, are needed “to make a better world”; we are stronger together than apart. The world needs all people, not just the “political elites” who hold and who buy and sell public office.

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    Apr 12 2013: I wrote this paper a little while ago for a class, and feel as though you may like to read the scattered arguments and vague relative science theory.

    Abstract: There is a paradox that permeates our American culture which has been (and is) manifested: 1. when the American Dream interlaces in our education (media, schools and cultural history) and 2. our natural instincts of being socially altruistic - conflict in order to create primary values. By citing a literary theorist as well as an evolutionary sociologist, the (three part) argument will be made for: A. the paradox actually exist, B. where one can see active examples and C. how it can/does effect us in value forming. As the argument formulates, I will go as far as to suggest the reasoning of this paradox goes beyond our society's conscious control, and part of the said paradoxical problem may very well exist in factors which historically proven to be evolutionarily beneficial - which today, unreflected and uneducated on, proves the opposite.

    http://ezinearticles.com/?First-Step-to-Contemporary-Civil-Disobedience:-Identification-of-the-Paradoxical-Issues&id=7415922
    • Apr 20 2013: Nicholas Lukowiak and others:

      OPUP (OPERATION UPROOT)
      Uproot entrenchment and the status quo in Washington
      National nonpartisan, independent group project
      Every state, city, town, village, hamlet, reservation represented
      GOAL: To unseat elected federal Washington

      STARTER TOOL: Project Vote Smart, “a unique research center located high in the Montana Rockies and far from the partisan influences of Washington whose staff, interns, and volunteers work hard to strengthen the most essential component of democracy – access to information. Project Vote Smart is a non-partisan, nonprofit educational organization funded exclusively through individual contributions and philanthropic foundations.”

      1. PROJECT VOTE SMART (http://votesmart.org/) (http://votesmart.org/about/)-SEARCH every U.S. Senator, Representative and candidate, elected and aspiring Executive Branch official
      2. STUDY voting records and professional backgrounds
      3. CORROBORATIVE SEARCH more data at other “independent” nonpartisan sources such as Center for Responsive Politics Open Secrets and “credible” news and information sources, (http://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/index.php) and others
      4. SPREAD SHEET every official and record and related pertinent data
      5. TARGET pro-war officials; corrupt officials (such taking money or other gratuities from corporations or organizations whose work or business come before officials, e.g., gas and oil, genetically modified food); officials with conflicts of interests (such as family members or relatives in positions intersecting with proposed or considered legislation); officials in office more than 12 years; officials voting against the public interest, against the environment, against rational regulation (such as regarding food and prescription drugs and agriculture and water and energy and health and medical care and telecommunications); against civil rights and against human beings at home and abroad)
      6. REPLACEMENT SEARCH for potential candidates in the publ

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