September 1, 2019: The Right to Vote Will Not Alone Fix Democracy
America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand. Harry S Truman
Resources tend to follow the money and voting is a resource. Hoo-nōs
If the currency of our lives is to avoid fear, we pay dearly. But it is a bit simplistic to simply tell folks to get over their fear—not all fear is just in one’s mind, some is very realistic.
John F. Kennedy’s call to go to the moon within a decade, which we did, was not based on fear, but on courage and cooperation and intelligent problem solving. It was an amazing feat. And as I understand it, the tech boom that followed has both shackled us and freed us was pervasive—getting into our everyday lives.
If we vote our pocketbook and someone else owns the resources we need, our vote is not about what’s best for all of us, it’s about making sure we get ours. That’s a bit divisive and a bit hard to overcome.
I wonder if it’s time for another tech boom—one that addresses resources. We need to do this not because it’s easy, but because it’s necessary (a slight twist on JFK’s speech about going to the moon). Such a boom would not likely face the fight we had by spending resources to go to the moon at a time when so much was amiss in our everyday lives.
What if each of us—each of us—has a private energy source? Solar panels so adept and so small, that it is easy to get off the grid and away from resource hogs. What if each of us—each of us—can extract enough water from the air to have a sufficient source of water? Both of those items are getting dialed in, though now the cost is prohibitive. If we eliminate those two concerns alone, voting patterns will change because the pattern of fear will change: The resource distributors will no longer have clout that clout.
We’d still have to figure out how to leverage the seed hoarders so that food source is not nested in the hands of a few. Local sourced foods are happening, but we can’t have those folks shackled by costly seed purchases. Housing can certainly become more affordable if we learn how to build better shelters for less money. Some of that is also afoot—and beautiful environs with both walkability, exercise friendly, privacy, and social connections. E-bikes will help with transportation in such cities. How about electric transportation for bigger vehicles—with their own solar panels? How about distributing health care in the spirit of the Hippocratic oath—to help and to do no harm? And so on.
What if we built such individual and social infrastructures by developing new technologies without patents so the ideas/products cannot be stolen? That would require a method whereby anyone dissecting the product will destroy that product. Try to hack in, you get hacked out. Actually, we need that for our computer infrastructure as well—no hacking will help our lives.
I’m not against capitalism, but I’m against resource hoarders—those who leverage what they have so that others are enslaved. Obviously, some regulation is necessary, not because it treads on us, but because it keeps others from treading on us.
None of this is easy, but it is necessary. Democracy works best when it’s courage rather than fear that is the drive engine. Technology will not make us inherently smarter, but it just might help to alleviate the fear of being usurped. When we are not slaves to the resources that others hold over us, then democracy is not so aberrant that we resort to demagogues who promise us they have what we need. They don’t—we have what they need and we’ve had it along, but the fear of not having resources is a viable concern. Get that problem fixed—with the help of technology and innovation and a will to do so—and suddenly democracy takes a different turn. Here’s to us—all of us! The resource grabbers will have what they need, except they won’t have us over a barrel. They’ll just have to get over the last part.