We've had the vote. I'm disappointed, and maybe even angry.
You probably expect me to start ranting about the politicians. Geez, haven't we all done enough of that by now?
If I stopped you on the street, pulled a weapon, and said, "Give me all your money," you'd call me a criminal. But if I do it by majority vote, you call me Congressman.
People of avarice, often bearing sociopathic tendencies, are attracted to politics. And the rest, like Lord Acton warned us, are quickly and easily corrupted.
The constant quest for the virtuous politician to be our savior is a mission akin to finding the virgin at the brothel.
The people on that journey are running a fool's errand. Still, it seems like everyone who gets interested in politics insist on pursuing that mission.
At DownsizeDC.org we've been trying to light a better path.
So if I'm not angry at the politicians, then to whom is my anger directed?
The people! Bad politicians do what they want because the people let 'em -- even with our system as seriously RIGGED as it is now. If we made the price of voting wrong sufficiently high, the politicians wouldn't pay it. But...
You cannot and you should not expect a politician to rely on his virtue. The incumbent deserves the penalty of the doubt -- the assumption that he or she has no virtue. Let them surprise you when they do something right.
My disappointment is with many of the people who claim to agree with us. "Downsize DC?" they say to me with a curious smile, "Sure, we need to do a lot of that." I'll share some quotes from just these kinds of people in just a moment.
But EVERYONE who is NOT subscribed to the Downsizer-Dispatch, as well as those failing to send messages to Congress, are part of the problem. How can I say that?
The strategic plan we've offered is REMARKABLY simple:
1) An agenda that binds legislative power,
2) using some key strokes and mouse clicks, plus
3) a few cents per day, and
4) (soon) networks of local DC Downsizers confronting their representatives and their staffs.
PLEASE NOTE: I am extremely grateful for the people who do this simple work, and you are probably one of those people. I love YOU! But too few Americans do this light lifting. They'd rather do hard things -- or nothing.
But the problem doesn't stop there. Even subscribers to this list -- even past donors -- have left us in recent weeks, because they're gullible for statist media propaganda. If they heard it on TV, it must be accurate, right? Or maybe if their favorite politician is advocating a certain position, that's the new gospel?
Well, here are some of the comments we've recently received...
"You are traitors. To say that the debt ceiling should not be raised when Congress spent this money and has promised repayment is against our Constitution and the welfare of the United States. You obviously have no clue what you are talking about so I don't want to be associated with the uneducated!"
"I can't believe this orgranization is promoting not raising the debt limit. This will cause undo harm to most Americans. I am unsubscribing and would encourage anyone else who ever took your organization seriously to also forget about you."
"Failing to raise the debt ceiling would cause a new depression in the US. That point is not is not disputed by ANY economists or serious politicians."
Actually, NONE of those charges are true, and we've answered most of these arguments in past Dispatches.
As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." Again, most folks reading this message are NOT part of the problem. But we appear to be both surrounded, and even infiltrated by persons who...
* focus all their energy on electing their favorite white knight candidate
* only complain but never act
They deserve the government they're getting. They deserve it good and hard.
The problem is we're all getting it good and hard. But there are good people out there -- folks who are frustrated by the fool's errands (I used to run them too), ready to try something different, and open to new ways of thinking about sticky problems.
That's why I'm placing a bold challenge in front of you.
It has three parts. You may already be doing these things. If you are, once again, thank you. If not, please consider...
1) Send at least two messages to Congress EACH week. We've tried to make this as simple as possible. These are the keystrokes and mouse clicks -- as little as five minutes of your time.
2) Make a list of six people you will recruit to join you in using our Educate the Powerful System to send messages. Share your letters to Congress with them, as you feel it's appropriate. Ask them, AS A PERSONAL FAVOR, to join you in sending one themselves, and to let you know once they've done so. Our goal, because we're going to help you, is to get at least two of them to take action at some point in the coming weeks.
And six is going to be easy for you! I've made my list, and keep in mind that everyone I work with is already on our list. Many of my friends are as well.
3) Start a monthly pledge, or consider increasing your monthly pledge by at least $1. If we averaged a dollar per subscriber, each month, our annual income would increase by $100,000. If anything is needed for growth, it's finances.
Here's my thinking. An old friend of mine, working with me in an old cause, said one day, "You'll do just fine if you can get everyone who agrees with you, to work together with you." I know there are good folks looking for us, and you can help them find the Downsize DC Vision.
Speaking of the Downsize DC Vision, here's WHAT WE ARE GOING TO DO to promote this initiative to "Prove Pogo Wrong."
1) We already send most new, first time donors our 16 page report, "The Downsize DC Vision." It's our strategy document. One California supporter said, "That publication has the most readable explanation of Public Choice Theory that I have ever read." We'll mail a copy to everyone who signals their participation during the next 30 days. And how can you send that signal?
2) If you are committed to doing ALL THREE of the things above, start or increase your pledge, even by $1, using our secure online form, and include the word "Pogo" in the comments section of the form (or if by mail, your check). To recognize you, and even more importantly to inspire others to join with you, we'll publish your name in a future Downsizer-Dispatch, on our blog, and on our Facebook page.
3) I'm going to send virtually the same message again next week, and possibly one more time, with a different subject line. You'll recognize it because it'll have the word "Pogo" in it. Not everyone opens every Dispatch every day. We need to make sure as many DC Downsizers as possible read this message, and join you.
Pogo was wise, but we must prove him wrong in our case. We must build an army of people who not only agree with us, but who also share our zeal to learn from past failures.