No matter who “wins” in the upcoming midterm elections, the people of this planet and the planet itself are likely to be the losers. We’ll lose because the Democrats are unwilling to take the bold steps necessary to create meaningful reform and transformation in our country. Intimidated by the threat of right-wing smears, Democrats have been reluctant to articulate and build support for a vision of what Western societies could look like if we got money out of politics, democratized our economy and our politics, repaired the damage done to the life-support systems of our planet by global capitalism, elevated media and political leaders that tell the truth, and prioritized social and economic justice, equality, and environmental sanity. The Democrats’ focus on a “minimum wage” may gain them some seats in Congress, but it is a pathetically inadequate step — compare, if you will, their plan for a minimum wage with what MIT economists have shown to be “a living wage” required to meet minimum standards of subsistence (see livingwage.mit.edu).
Tikkun’s education and activism arm, the Network of Spiritual Progressives, has a vision and a concrete strategy to get money out of politics and reorient our society around an ethic of generosity based on the understanding that our well-being as North Americans depends on the well-being of everyone else on the planet and the well-being of the Earth itself. The Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (ESRA) provides a path for meaningful transformation of our entrenched system. The ESRA not only calls for banning corporate funding of elections (like the demand of Move to Amend), it also bans individual funding of elections (because even with corporations not contributing, the super-rich will still pour tens of millions into elections to get their way). All elections for the presidency, Congress, governorships, and state legislatures must be publicly funded. In addition, the ESRA mandates that large corporations retain their corporate charters only if they can prove a satisfactory history of environmental and social responsibility once every five years. (Please read more and sign a petition to support it at tikkun.org/ESRA.)
These two clauses of the ESRA — coupled with the Network of Spiritual Progressives’ domestic and global Marshall Plan to eliminate poverty and change U.S.-sponsored global trade agreements so that they benefit rather than disadvantage the poor in developing countries — could rein in the exploitative and environmentally destructive aspects of our current political and economic system. This is the real path to a change you can believe in. To join our efforts, please go to spiritualprogressives.org.