2nd Am Revolution ~ Part III except “The Final Frontier” i.e., copyrighted ending

January 30, 2018

Missing Topics (or elsewhere) Federally funding of elections, limited window to 6 wks and black TV, Radio and newspapers, FB campaign ads last 3 days.

A bipartisan TED-ED project that would teach via animation in 3-5 minutes segments the basic facts of the US Constitution at the level that a 9th grader would be able to understand it. Public promotion of this by all school system would create a level of “informed” public/voter that immediately expose those elected officials who spoke or acted in ways that obviously exposed their own lack of understanding of this vital topic. By a process of social osmosis review of this information by those running for federal office, or elected or appointed to federal office, and employees of the White House and US Congress would become the cultural norm.

This story begins in 1066 with Wm the Conquer’s census of England, Doomsday Book, the Salisbury Agreement making a mutual alliance btw the King and the country’s barons to maintain the peace, the King’s law court in which his Justices were each assigned to a circuit court to adjudicate disputes all part the country. These diverse rulings complied into books that provided a judicial consistency in decisions (the idea of precident) that was to become known as “Common law”.


Part III – We The People: What now, and how

Some years ago I took a college course in world history. Our professor began the course with a list of ten ‘insights’ provided by his extensive and lengthy study of history in other places, other times, other cultures

The first item on the list of what people learn from the study of history is that people DON’T learn from history – a fact recorded time and time again over millennia of human habitation of Planet Earth. This is a particularly chilling idea (no pun intended) in light of the current political controversy over the roll of humans in climate change and global warming.

Obviously, the problems we are experiencing with democracy (and/or rising sea levels) are not going to go away by themselves. Our only hope is to let our minds ‘revolve’ until “pro-active” become our default setting. Then its time to get dressed, and go out into the real world to do what we can, or make use 21st-century technology, which luckily can be done in one’s pajamas. The light at the end of the tunnel is NOT the train coming from the other direction. We have many good reasons be hopeful!

In an effort to correct the problems discussed earlier, one logical response would be an amendment to the Constitution. But unfortunately we Americans are far too fractured as at the national level for this to go anywhere. I am nonetheless certain that sooner or later, Americans will acknowledge that a true democracy requires the people to directly elect their president and then we will amend our Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College.

Aside from my comment on the Electoral College, I have some additional suggestions that further the action in the direction of a participatory democracy.

A 2nd American Revolution, our 21st-century Declaration of Independence

I’d like to propose a revolution of the mind that starts by seeing that political power as citizens and voters is ever so much more than replying to campaign contribution emails asking us to send money.

A Revolution of the Mind is a communal decision to promote an inclusive and participatory democracy that makes citizenship into an everyday active verb. We must let our minds revolve around until we can see ourselves and other citizens as the heart of the democratic process.

That Revolution of the Mind must decide to incorporate the new technological realities of the 21st century world of the Internet, social media, mobile apps, blockchain software programs that would allow us to verify the origin of vital information and news stories, just as we can trace a BitCoin back to it’s originating author and identify each person handled it or changed the content of the story or information.

We have to do more than simply ‘think outside the box’. We need to a second American Revolution — a revolution of the mind that gives rise to a 21st-century Declaration of Independence.

This peaceful process must work to end perpetual electioneering, with its focus on full-time fundraising, and instead work to embody our revolutionary idea that we, as the not rich-not famous citizens become active agents at the center of our democratic process.

What can we do and how?

Let me start with another gem from my World History professor. It was his observation that a significant number of adults don’t know how to reliably distinguish fact from other types of ‘information’ — personal opinion, gossip, superstition, mistakes, misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, and boldfaced attempts to manipulate our beliefs, make fools of us, or entice us to do things that are against our own best interest.

Public discourse is so important to our democratic process, and the potential for it to be misused, mangled and manipulated by mistakes, misinformation, purposeful disinformation, (i.e. propaganda), is such a danger that We the People must consider this to be a critical problem deserving our highest attention and most sustained effort.

“Strong Opinions, Lightly held”

The widespread inability to tell the difference between gossip, personal opinion, mistakes, misinformation, propaganda, etc, and the established fact is either an unresolvable dilemma OR it is an educational opportunity of mass proportions.

I am suggesting that we get smart about this issue and see it as a wonderful opportunity and one that allows us to use the same technological ‘tools’ that in many ways have created and promoted these problems as our tools for fixing them. We can use technological platforms such as social media, TED-ED talks and computer games to help the American population better understand the barrage of information being thrown at them 24-7 in cable news and different kinds of social media.

Knowing how to tell the difference between fact and propaganda is a life-saving skill, as valuable as “drop and roll” if our clothing catches fire and “Stop, look and listen” when crossing the street. In this case, it is giving people a new perspective, one in which information always begins as an unanswered question – is it true/accurate or factual? Only when we can be reasonably sure that the info or data point can be established as true and factual can we then use that information to make personal decisions or to pass on to others.

As mentioned in Part II, the coming second American Revolution (of the Mind) will introduce new ways to think about and deal with information by utilizing blockchain software to trace it back to its origin and ultimately verify the authenticity (or lack thereof!) of published information. This would enable news organizations and other groups to identify information that had been ‘spun’ — misrepresented or altered for political purposes.

Talking about Talking: Conversations for Agreement ~ the bedrock of civilization

A closely related topic is what I refer to as “talking about talking”. As members of the human species, the thing we do the very most each and every day is talking (and one hopes), also listening. The study of this science has 6 specific types of interaction, but I will only mention the three major categories.

Just as the ability to distinguish fact from opinion is very helpful, so too is learning about the 3 major and 3 minor categories of “talking” that people do. Those most important to a politically-educated electorate are:

  • Communicative — informal conversations between ‘equals’ who taking turns talking and listening to their personal thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, fears and their plans, either immediate or distant future
  • Conversations for agreement – whether personal or public, this type of conversation is also based on equality in this type of, (even if talking to the President, Pope or a brain surgeon) and their participation is also mutually voluntary. They begin with each talker being in an ‘agreeable’ mood, and the first ‘agreement is the topic of the discussion, which must be mutually agreed upon, and even if unspoken, both parties know they can end the conversation at any time, or negotiate to continue it at another time.
  • Strategic conversations – impersonal public one-way communications btw ourselves and someone with legal or social authority to command our full attention. These are ‘they talk, we listen’ situations, such as being stopped by a police officer, airport security offices, etc.
  • The last three categories are more minor aspects of verbal communication that includes (a) education or instruction (student-teacher relationship), (b) debates, and (c) arguments.

Understanding these distinction allows us to see and share our insight with others, not only about specific topics or issues but also by ‘talking about talking’ in ways that can address and potentially resolve many of our communication problems. These simple ideas help us to be more effective and less provocative when talking to others, and they promote many more “conversations for agreement”, which is the historic bedrock of the process and the product we know as ‘civilization’

Civilization is a dynamic process that began many thousands of years ago when our homo sapiens ancestors choose to live together in large numbers in relatively close quarters within a walled city to protect themselves from roving bands of criminals and invasions by hostile powers. The word ‘city’ is the linguistic heart of the idea of ‘civilization’, and origin of words like civic, civilian, citizen and citizenship. This also gave rise to ideas associated with “civilized” behavior, such as being polite to one another when meeting on the street, and not throwing the contents of one’s chamber pot out a second story window on the heads of those passing by on the sidewalk.

In addition to protection and increasingly civilized behavior, cities made the development of markets, bazaars and regional fairs possible, by providing a safe place for its citizens to buy and sell goods and services, and trade novel and creative ideas. Over time, such stability created a more interesting social circumstance that resulted in schools, colleges and other types of educational institutions, theaters for the performing arts, as well as providing a seat for the region’s government.

In such social circumstances, the human propensity for unresolved disagreements, trivial arguments, opinionated debates and useless disputes that resulted in fighting or homicide was replaced by ‘conversations for agreement’, which naturally happened many thousands of times each day between each person who lived within the city walls. Without thousands of successful conversations for agreement every day, civilization as we know it would have been impossible, and the commerce and industry of the modern world would have never happened.

What made the human species so uniquely successful was our ability to adapt, by overcoming seemingly impossible circumstances and to invent new ways and new things that expanded our reach in space and time. Cities were the crucible in that made this happen on an industrial scale.

‘Hijacking our Amygdale’: Using scientific technologies to identify & help us defend against disruptive assaults on our emotional wellbeing

For the health and longevity of our democracy, We The People need to take into account new sources of information made possible by our increasingly sophisticated and powerful brain-imaging technology, especially in conjunction with A.I. systems like IBM’s Watson Cloud service. With our increasing ability to ‘intelligently’ crunch the data, this new technology has dramatically advanced our understanding how the human brain works, especially when receiving and processing information.

A valuable example of society-changing brain research are studies that identify both our brains and our bones are not becoming fully mature (by standard adult faculties as defined by biology and our laws), until we Homo Sapiens are at least 25 years old. This means society now needs to reevaluate our legal ideas of criminally prosecuting children as adults based on the repugnance of the crime, rather than the ability of the child to fulfill adult responsibilities (does their age legally prevent them from quitting school, driving, drinking, ‘consenting’ to have sex, sign a binding contract or vote?)

We also need to revisit the idea of being fully adult from the standpoint of our legal system; we now know that the human species, in brain and body, does not become fully functional until we are have lived at least 25 years (youngest age to qualify for federally-elected office if 25). Our legal system should reflect the best information available, both scientifically and ethically.

Equally central to our success as a human species are scientific studies on the brain that has identified the vital roll of our emotions when we are processing (or ignoring) information. We like to think of ourselves as purely rational beings, but that is only part of the story.

Unfortunately, human beings frequent experience situations in which other people, by accident or on purpose, directly upset us so deeply that, biologically speaking, the seat of our emotions — our amygdala – has been “hijacked”; we have temporarily become unthinking ‘reactors’, instead of thoughtful ‘responders’ to the situation. What the term ‘hijacking our amygdala’ {Aa-meg-do-la) describes is a profound emotional reaction over which we have no control; we experience a sudden, penetrating and irrational anger, fear or aversion to someone or something, in which we can’t make contact with our ‘ordinary’ thinking brain and instead defend ourselves by lashing out against the other person with emotion attacks (name-calling, character assignation, insults, threats, etc).

This is always a losing proposition. It’s also is potentially deadly, as every police shooting of an unarmed person (often black, brown or female) happened because that officer’s amygdala got hijacked by fear!

Dictators, despots, kings and political operatives long ago discovered how to reliably manipulate the population by creating fear-based mass hysteria – i.e. simultaneously hijacking the amygdala of a large portion of the population. When you combine this reprehensible tactic with other politically influential strategies made possible by our 24-hour news cycle and the distributive effects of social media, it’s possible for political candidates to win elections simply being the side that is the most amoral and who can, with great glee, poison the waters of rational thought. This is the polar opposite of winning elections based on substance in the country’s interest — candidate’s proven track record and superior solutions and personal character that demonstrates a working moral compass.

Used as Stand-alone essay Jan 19th, 2018 (changed, some text below not used)

 Emigration Declaration Project ~ personally tracing our roots back 10 generations 

Another suggestion is what I call the Emigration Declaration Project that begins with acknowledging that ALL American citizens are either immigrants or the direct descendants of immigrants. The only theoretical exception would be American Indians; however, they are descendants of those who crossed the Bearing Straights making is a melting pot of many streams from both East and West. This would be an opportunity to publicly tell the personal story of how, and why we are now Americans.

When time frame of 10 generations is used (Sir Walter Raleigh ~1606), we can see why close relatives or distant ancestors left the land where they were born, everything and everyone they knew, often had to leave everything they owned, to come to America – based on the dream and promise of living in a better world, one with Constitutionally guaranteed right of religious freedom and “life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I’m now working on the story my 17th-century Swiss ancestors who emigrated from Bern, Switzerland to the Netherlands in 1725. Referred to as ‘co-religionists’, two dozen of my ancestors choose to give up their property and possession, and everything and everyone they knew, to live under the only monarch in the Western world to extended freedom of religion to his countrymen — the King of Orange.

Before religious freedom became an option, we humans living under various monarchial régimes simply ‘were’ a willing or unwilling member of the Roman Catholic Church. If one kept silent; the only OTHER choice was: (A) pretend to believe OR (B) eventually face imprisonment or execution. After enjoying the religious freedom of Amsterdam for 12 years, a dozen of my Mennonite family set-sail for Colonial America on a ship called the Townshead. They landed in Philadelphia in the summer of 1737 and settled in Buck County to live among the other co-religionists — Mennonites, Amish and Quakers — who settled the southeast corner of Pennsylvania.

To be an American is to be an émigré

Every American born here is historically an émigré; we all have relatives or distant ancestors who specifically immigrated to this country to make a better life for themselves and their children and distant relatives. It’s natural to be interested in how and why our families came to be Americans. Were each American to make to take the time and effort to discover (and share) the story his or her own rich heritage, it would dramatically reduce the controversy and animosity over immigration and greatly improve the possibility of Congress passing new legislation to eliminate many of the irrational aspect of our profoundly dysfunctional immigration policies and laws and replace them with rational and humane laws that are better for everyone.  

The Final Frontier ~

Conclusion ~ We The People get the government they are willing to put up with”.

In the famous words penned by Thomas Jefferson in the first line of the Declaration, we must return political power to We The People.

I believe that our future as a democratic nation includes the frequent use of blockchain software, so critical information can be authenticated with a high level of certainty. We must do what can be done to ensure a public discourse that knows what is meant by hijacking the amygdala of its citizens, and understands why “amygdala hijacking’ tactics as a political strategy shouldn’t used. Last but not least, we need a federal government system that is not constantly fund-raising and electioneering and has instead put ordinary Americans back at the center of the democratic process by providing a validated and effective means of providing timely feedback.


Land of the Free, Home of the Brave – lets make it real!