What we can do as a nation

By Carole Lutness, Commentary

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
- Frederick Douglass

Last time, I poised a series of questions about our future if those at the top continue to hold all the cards.

As grim as it looks, remember it has looked grim before.

We have been able to turn the ship of state around, as witnessed by Andrew Jackson's fight with the bankers, Theodore Roosevelt's fight with big corporations and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's fight with the bankers and corporate oligarchs who had caused the last Great Depression.

The struggle we are facing now may be the most dire we have ever faced because we are being assaulted on all sides - economically, environmentally and politically.

Our march toward "liberty and justice for all" will require us to unite against the power of greed, plunder, dishonesty and destruction to win.

Some of the potshots we take at each other are because we honestly see things differently and some are caused by sly manipulations of oligarchs who encourage division by inciting inflammatory issues.

As long as we fight each other, they are safe to continue to pillage the earth.

How do we restore the balance between corporate wants and the people's needs?

When clarifying the problem, define it in terms of needs. What are our needs as a people?

I envision an economy that works for all of us, not just the few; jobs for everyone who wants to work; good education for our children; a clean environment; sustainable use of our resources; a well-maintained infrastructure; care for the elderly, disabled and children; health care for all; a legal system that protects us from predators and rehabilitates those motivated to turn their lives around; respect and appreciation for diversity; public safety, etc.

We cannot reach these goals as long as Big Money controls our politics.

After graduate school, I participated in a two-year post-graduate program at the Family Therapy Practice Center in Washington, D.C.
We learned dysfunctional families were often structurally imbalanced.

For example, the "parentified child" had to assume the role of mother because mom had to work two jobs after dad deserted them.
This imbalance often led to abuse, neglect and acting out.

Issues of authority, discipline, organization and structure needed to be corrected in order for the family to function.

Helping the parent re-establish her role and calling on community resources to assist the family proved to be very effective.

When things are dysfunctional, look first to what is out of balance and make structural corrections.

Hopefully we can educate ourselves about how our economy collapsed so we can make the structural changes needed.

President Barack Obama is starting to do that by telling the banks they must submit to more regulation and oversight.

To gain a better understanding of our current economic crisis, the public is invited to a program by Mark Pash on "How to Survive the Economic Tsunami" on Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, located at 24901 Orchard Village Rd.

A noted author, economist and financial advisor, Pash, one of Money Magazine's top 14 planners in California, will discuss our economic problems and what our country can do to make the structural adjustments needed to stabilize the economy.

Another vitally important structural change that will help us rebalance our out-of-whack political system will be the institution of public campaign financing, formerly known as "clean money."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the California Fair Elections Act which will, if ratified by the proposition on the June 2010 ballot, create a pilot program to allow candidates for Secretary of State to use public money rather than rely on Big Money to get elected.

In this way, the office holder is beholden only to the voter and not special interest.

It is acknowledged by many Democrats and Republicans that our political system has been hijacked by large contributors, which has only polarized our political system to the point of stalemate in many cases and has led to an era of corruption not seen since that of the robber barons of the 19th century.

A free meeting about this proposition will be held Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.

I hope to see you at both meetings.

Carole Lutness is a Valencia resident, Democratic activist and chairwoman of Democratic Neighbors of the 38th Assembly District. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Democratic Voices" appears Tuesdays in The Signal and rotates among local Democratic writers.

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