9.10. Government for the People

Our government can either be the champion of the people…or yet another oppressive institution.

The solution to our political problems is simple:

We need to make the government work for the people.

I’m talking about actual people.

Not these two political parties that like to claim they represent “the people.”

Not these corporations that inexplicably—and ridiculously—have the legal status of “persons.”

Not these special interest groups that seek to give one group of people an unfair advantage over other people.

I’m talking about real, flesh-and-blood people, like you and me.

And not just some of us.

All of us.

If you’re confused at all about this, here’s a handy rule of thumb:

If it’s an institution…it’s not a person!

Our political parties are institutions…not people.

They pit people against each other, for their own gain.

They divide us, making us feel like we and ours are superior to them and theirs, so that we the people are too busy fighting each other to hold institutions like them accountable.

Our corporations are institutions…not people.

They corrupt our political process, using their immense resources to drown out the voices of ordinary people, and make sure that they aren’t held accountable for exploiting their workers, cheating their consumers, and causing harm to our society.

In fact, almost all of our problems are traceable to one or more institutions screwing over one or more groups of people.

They excel at getting away with it, because they excel at getting us to blame other people for our societal problems.

They say our problems are the result of certain people being stupid, lazy, or immoral—instead of institutional dysfunction.

When institutions try to blame people for their own institutional failings, a good government doesn’t take the side of the institution.

A good government doesn’t worry about alienating voters or losing campaign funds.

A good government doesn’t blame or demonize the victims of institutional malfeasance.

A good government takes care of its people.

A good government holds institutions—including itself—accountable.

A good government is the institution that keeps other institutions in line.

Because ordinary people just don’t have the resources to fight back against wealthy, powerful institutions.

But the government does.

Our government can either be the champion of the people…or it can be yet another oppressive institution that takes advantage of its greater resources to impose unfair burdens and hardships on people.

People on both sides of the political system are fed up and frustrated.

Our politics have become a cesspool of dysfunction and antagonism.

But the problem isn’t with one-half of the American people.

The problem is with the institutions that have divided us against each other, strangled the political process, and focused first and foremost on their own narrow interests, instead of the greater good of society.

Be really careful, when you find yourself tempted to blame other people for our social problems.

Probably, there’s an institution that has planted that idea in your head, to get us fighting each other, instead of fighting institutional dysfunction.

Probably, there’s an institution that’s failed the people you’re trying to scapegoat.

Probably, it’s a distraction to keep us divided—so that our institutions can continue to make the government work for them, instead of the American people.

 

This is the 150th in a series of over 150 videos about how to create real, lasting social change. Click here for a list of all titles, videos, and transcripts.

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