User’s Guide: How to Unseat the Two Dominant Political Parties
A very wise man once said, “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” — Albert Einstein.
It doesn’t take a theoretical physicist to know that things are getting out of hand in our country. Let’s face it, we are becoming increasingly aware of the ongoing incompetence and corruption that weaves throughout our government. At every turn, both Democrats and Republicans do something new to further erode our confidence. And while they continue to disappoint us on a daily basis, they hold the door wide open for a third party to waltz into their seemingly comfortable and secure two-party system. There couldn’t be a better time for a nationwide political makeover. But to successfully seize this opportunity, we must re-invent what it means to be a “party for the people.” A party that is impervious to corruption in a sustainable manner must abandon what it knows about politics and reinvent itself. It must be a party that firmly stands on moral ground. And to do that, it must be built from the ground up. “You cannot break the laws, you can only break yourself against the laws.” This statement refers to the natural, universal laws of human behavior and their consequences that are as powerful and unbending as gravity itself. They describe the causal relationships of human experience that apply to every person on our planet, without exception, no matter the race, culture, or creed. As an example, the law of trust states: “If I tell you the truth, you will be influenced to trust me”. This causal relationship is universal and absolute; and the world reaps negative consequences when we attempt to thwart, circumvent, outwit or otherwise oppose it. The same holds true for the laws (or principles) of humility, mindfulness, respect, empathy, grace, forgiveness, and far too many others to enumerate here.
So how does this apply to politics?
Resisting temptation in the political arena isn’t easy. It requires an unyielding commitment to purpose and an understanding of who we serve. It requires steadfast adherence to a crystalline code of ethics based on natural, universal moral principles so intuitive that even a child can understand them. It requires a gut check, and retaining our knowledge of right and wrong, even when we’re under tremendous pressure to comply and we’ve been given a thousand justifications to ease our conscience and choose the option that serves our own best interests. And it’s our personal satisfaction, time and again, knowing we’ve done the right thing for the people we’ve been chosen to serve.
The Human Reform Party
Welcome to the Human Reform Party. The purpose of this document is to share the tone of our party, to describe where our party stands, and how we intend to proceed in the future.
Preamble. Our party is founded on natural, universal moral principles and secular ethics. These form the basis of our party's constitution, which serves as a framework that guides the decisions and behavior of our party's politicians, and is used to create the laws, policies, procedures and practices that they must abide by and work through. We hold ourselves strictly accountable for our service to the people who elect us to office. And should our party politicians deviate from the principles and guidelines in our constitution, they will no longer have opportunities to represent our party in upcoming elections, but will be replaced by morally responsible candidates.
A Nation Founded on Moral Law
Our Founding Fathers were flawed yet God-abiding men on a moral mission to gain freedom from their British oppressors. During this time of enlightenment, they all signed a document penned by Thomas Jefferson which serves as our Declaration of Independence. All our founders were in accord with the words that were written. And in this document, they made their beliefs very clear — that there are self-evident truths, decreed by our Creator, the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God, that give all men free and equal status, as well as the Rights to Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness.
The Declaration of IndependenceWhen in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
In the document’s first paragraph, Jefferson states there are times when countries and peoples must leave, or declare independence, from their mother country in order to gain the free and equal status they are entitled to by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Stated simply, he’s saying that “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” give men the Right to Freedom.
In the document’s second paragraph, Jefferson states there are truths so intuitive that no explanation is necessary, and these truths are: “that all men are created equal” and are given Rights by our Creator that cannot be taken away — to live, to live freely, and to pursue their own happiness. To summarize, he’s saying our Creator gives men the Right to Freedom.
Review the preceding paragraphs and analyze its logic: This says that “Creator”, the “Laws of Nature” and “Nature’s God” are interchangeable. They all refer to the same thing. This understanding is consistent with the notion that the Natural Laws discovered by science and God’s Laws as described by the Bible are the same. If the Creator (God) and the Laws of Nature (Natural Laws) are the same, then both God and Nature give us our freedom.
Experience tells us that humans give and take another human’s freedom, so it stands to reason that God and Nature refer to our own Human Nature and that Natural Laws govern human behavior. The subset of Natural Laws that govern human behavior are Moral Laws. So, by extension, Morals Laws are universal, govern all human behavior, and serve as the basis of our Founding Documents — the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
This revelation has profound implications. It means our Nation’s Founding Documents mandate the application of Moral Laws to promote the general welfare of its citizens. It means understanding that our actions are governed by cause-effect relationships that have consistent consequences when all factors are completely understood, and if we care enough to understand these causal relationships and their consequences, we will gain the wisdom to understand how to maximize our collective well-being and minimize suffering. And it tells us that our politicians, and members of society as a whole, must exercise these principles in their decision-making in efforts to promote the welfare of our nation and the world.
United States Constitution Preamble We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were authored in the same spirit. Read the first paragraph of our Constitution, focusing on “the Blessings of Liberty,” to understand this truth. Simply put, government exists to preserve our liberty. The “Blessings of Liberty” come from the Creator, the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God, as declared in our Declaration of Independence. And as we concluded, the Creator, the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God refer to natural, universal Moral Laws.
The Constitution tells us that government exists to maintain law and order, and the principles upon which the laws that “establish Justice” and “insure domestic Tranquility” are based come from the Creator, the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God, as declared in our Declaration of Independence. This tells us that the quality of the laws that promote our justice and tranquility are governed by Moral Laws.
The Constitution also tells us that government exists to provide for the needs of its people, and the guidelines to “promote the general Welfare” come from the Creator, the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God, as declared in our Declaration of Independence. Again, this says the quality of services that promote our welfare are governed by Moral Laws.
Our conclusion is simple: Government must abide by Moral Laws to successfully establish and maintain the general welfare of society, where p0liticians honor the Laws of Mindfulness, Temperance, Humility, Frugality, Honesty, Compassion, Grace and Forgiveness among other virtues, all working in concert to achieve the Greater Good. And it doesn’t matter whether we believe these laws are provided to us by nature or are handed down by God. The only thing that matters is that we hold steadfast to our principles by honoring these laws, and that our politicians model the behavior we wish to emulate as a nation, while still maintaining separation of church and state.
The First Moral Principle
We are all the same. We are all born of a woman. We all have the same physiological and emotional needs. We all have the same development pattern from infancy to adulthood. We all see the world from an egocentric point of view. We are all shaped by our experiences. We all learn what to think and how to behave though significant others in our lives. We are all bound by our societies and cultures. We all have interests, purposes and passions. We all reflect on our own mortality. Depending on our experiences and circumstances, we all have the same propensity for good and evil. Of the 7+ billion people living on this planet, there are others with dispositions and attitudes surprisingly like our own; and if we took the time and effort to overcome language and cultural barriers, we would discover a great deal in common. Therefore, it stands to reason, to know ourselves is to generally know all humanity.
If we were born and raised in a different culture, we would think and act as members of that culture. And if they were born and raised in our culture, they would think and act as we do.
“To know ourselves is to generally know all humanity.”
On Moral Ground
Like all Natural Laws, there are universal Moral Laws (or principles) that govern the cause-effect relationships of human behavior and interactions. Our concept of morality is based on these natural, universal moral principles. They are permanent, unchanging, and proven over trillions upon trillions of observations throughout history. They are the central tenets common to all major religions, they are described throughout secular literature, and they lay the foundations of social laws across all civilizations. The problem arises when we interpret these principles to serve our own selfish desires. That’s why nations and religions have different codes of ethics. If everyone obeyed our natural, universal moral principles, we would all be guided by the same core value system, we would all strive to achieve the greater good, and we would all understand and agree what “good” means.
Every human act includes an actor, an action, and that which is acted upon. It assumes every action has consequences, no matter how great or small, known or unknown to their originators, somewhere in the world. Our intentions are based on our self-concept and worldview, which is formed over a lifetime of experience, thoughts, feelings, and habits. Good and bad intentions can achieve any combination of good and/or bad results. Understanding the full consequences of one’s actions is called wisdom. Moral wisdom accesses how our actions influence others, our alternative courses of action and their consequences, and chooses the option that achieves the greatest good.
Though it may be possible to act in a manner that outwardly appears to be compassionate, any deliberate intent to act compassionately requires empathy. Empathy says, “Because I recognize people exist who are suffering, and because I know what it means to suffer, I understand their pain and am motivated to alleviate their suffering”. Therefore, without empathy, there is no compassionate act. This is true for everyone who has ever lived, and the universality of the evidence clearly supports the hypothesis. Of course, this is one of numerous hypotheses that, together, confirm the existence and universality of moral principles.
We often forget that our actions not only affect the world around us, but also reinforce our habits and further substantiate our self-image and worldview. Much of our understanding about ourselves and our circumstances lies within our subconscious minds. And it is necessary to turn inward with mindful attention to fully understand our true intentions. Our intentions can be good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, productive or unproductive, because every human intention produces a result that lies on a continuum between the two extremes of human well-being and suffering. And whether we realize it or not, this natural, universal dynamic is governed by the laws of nature. We are all bound by the causal relationships. We are all agents of them, and we are always influenced by them.
Our personal character is the net sum of all the choices we made throughout our lives that led to our present state of being. And if we don’t like who we’ve become, changing ourselves requires a conscious effort to recognize our character flaws, reinvent our self-image, and break our bad habits. What we find at the end of the day is this: Our feelings, thoughts, attitudes, worldview, behaviors, intentions, and actions cause suffering or well-being, either to ourselves or to others. So, as it turns out, the seat of morality is within us. It’s the very essence of who we are as we interact with the universe, causing it to either suffer or flourish. And from our narrow, egocentric perspectives, we are often unaware of how even our most mundane actions ripple out into the world and change the course of history forever.
Any moral act is a factor of our intentions, moral wisdom and time. The more time we have to make decisions, the more we can anticipate how our actions will impact others. The less time we have, the more we must rely solely on our intentions. Nevertheless, if our decisions must be made instantaneously, they will still be morally sound if our character is founded on feelings, thoughts, self-concept and worldview that abide by moral principles of mindfulness, humility, temperance, frugality, trust, respect, compassion, and grace. When our character aligns with moral principles, we can be confident that our intentions are pure and that our actions will be intended to serve the welfare of others.
Those who serve at the highest ranks of government should model the behavior we wish to encourage in our citizens. They should represent what is best in our human character. And they should inspire our society to value the compassionate application of moral will and wisdom in pursuit of our most noble causes.Moral will answers these questions: “Are our intentions pure? Are they selfish or with concern for how our actions influence others?”
Moral wisdom answers the questions, “Do we care enough to do the right thing. Have we assessed all alternative courses of action, their consequences, and chosen the option that achieves the greatest good for all concerned?”And the pursuit of our most noble cause answers this final question: “Do I care enough to benefit the welfare of others, especially those I don’t know, not because I may have something to gain by it, but simply because it’s the right thing to do?”
Only then will our social norms be aligned with moral principles, only then will we act honorably, and only then will we hold our government accountable for their morally insensitive and negligent actions.
The Greater Good
We are what we value. Our value system is the lens through which we see and act upon our world. It defines us. It’s who we are.
Our guardians, religion, and society all help to shape our value system; but it’s our society that has the greatest influence on us, largely because it provides for our basic needs of survival. We have two options: We can either adopt and abide by our society’s value system in order to make a living, or we can be cast out onto the street. For this reason, most of us not only support our social values, we’ve become exemplary role models of these values. And unless we are living off the grid or homeless, though we may think we’re not conforming to our society’s values, we really are.
We all know there are people in our world who are suffering; yet many of us turn a blind eye to them. We choose not to see them. We’re too busy with our own lives to care about anyone else but ourselves and those in our circles — immediate families, relatives and friends. Our society’s value system, the values we’ve been conditioned to uphold and perpetuate, tells us this is normal behavior. Nearly all of us have developed the habit of discounting the welfare of people we don’t know, mostly because this worldview, attitude and resulting behavior has been ingrained in us by society.
Look at the major problems we face in our country today — inadequate/unaffordable healthcare, the high cost of secondary education, income inequality, political corruption, our ongoing military exploitation, the injustice in our judicial systems, our degrading environmental protection, everything leading to climate change, our consumption-driven pursuit of happiness, and many more. All of them can be traced back to a single root cause. That’s right. We could eliminate all our problems by making one successful change:
To revise our society’s value system in a manner that causes us to care about the welfare of others. To care about people we don’t know, simply because it’s the right thing to do, for humanity’s greater good.
“For Humanity’s Greater Good”
This should be our mantra, our slogan, and our anthem. It should be the banner raised on every street corner of our nation. It should be so ingrained in our social consciousness that to think or behave otherwise would be considered counterproductive, harmful, and clinically abnormal.
We have a legitimate obligation and responsibility to support one another on this tiny planet of ours. According to the US Constitution, it is our duty to promote the General Welfare of the citizens of our nation. “General Welfare” means everyone; not just a specific segment of the population. And in our increasingly interconnected world, our concern and reach must also extend well beyond our borders.
When we, as a society, value the welfare of others, when our concern for the safety, health, and education of those we don’t know becomes more important to us than our desire for excessive comfort, convenience and leisure, and when we gain greater satisfaction by serving others than by pampering and overindulging ourselves, only then can we lift our heads high with collective dignity and self-esteem. Only then can we say with confidence that our country is truly great.
The most noble of social values is the one that encourages us to promote our most worthy cause. Our country’s greatness is not achieved by serving ourselves. It comes from serving one another — to achieve humanity’s greater good.
The Transcendent State
Transcendent State: a nation or territory under one government which revises its social values to align with moral principles; a social paradigm shift that raises its collective empathy and compassion; to change society from general selfishness to one that cares to make a difference in the lives of others; and to foster worldwide peace and prosperity.
The United States has an opportunity to become the first transcendent state to emerge on the world stage — the first country on our planet to deliberately revise its core value system to align with natural, universal moral principles that foster human and planetary welfare. And if we choose to reimagine ourselves and what we can become as a nation, to revise our social values, and to infuse our country with principles of moral goodness, we can lead our world into an era of compassion, peace, and prosperity.
“Every human act ripples throughout our world and its imprint has a lasting affect for all eternity.”
Politicians should model the attitudes and behaviors that represent the best of us, not the worst of us. Politicians should lift us up, not drag us down. Politicians should be our heroes, not our scapegoats. For this reason, politics should be a spiritual pursuit that adopts the best practices of religion, where religion is defined as a community of people seeking to better themselves who have a shared system of values. Only with a system of well-defined shared values can our public servants hold one another accountable for achieving society’s common good. For example, examine the list of behaviors corresponding to the Buddhist notion of the Noble Eightfold Path in the meme below and imagine a world where all members of Congress understand and hold one another accountable for abiding by these principles and guidelines. How would politics in our nation be different?
Political religiosity doesn’t mean the adoption of religious dogma in politics. It refers to the spiritual reverence for the sanctity of our conscious lives, the genuine honor to be placed in a position of responsibility that greatly influences humanity’s well-being, and the ritualistic practice of proper behavior that raises our collective moral integrity. We don’t practice a particular religion in our politics. Rather, we apply what we’ve learned about the principles common to all religions and secular ethics to elevate politics.
Money has all but snuffed out our sense of spirituality, honor and right behavior in the political domain, and we need to get money and all forms of perks out of politics to create a political system from the ground up that shapes the character of our political leaders in a manner that will elevate our nation.
Accountability in Politics
Morality: “Relating to the practice, manners or conduct of men as social beings in relation to each other, and with reference to right and wrong. The word moral is applicable to actions that are good or evil, virtuous or vicious, and has reference to the law of God as the standard by which their character is to be determined. The word however may be applied to actions which affect only, or primarily and principally, a person's own happiness." --1828 Noah Webster
As Noah Webster points out, our concept of morality has two distinct meanings that can guide us in entirely different directions. It can refer to a set of universal moral principles that apply to everyone (moral universality), or it can refer to personal definitions of right and wrong that uniquely apply to individual well-being (moral relativism). Our concept of morality has shifted over the years from universality to relativism. And because humans are opportunistic by nature, this shift has compromised the general welfare of common people to meet the needs of those who can best manipulate our political system and government bureaucracy. All moral principles work together with one purpose — to promote human flourishing and minimize suffering. When the proper application of moral will and wisdom are applied to create policies, procedures, guidelines, rules, regulations and laws, they will always be aligned with moral principles, and they will always achieve humanity’s greater good. In a perfect world, civic laws find their roots in moral principles. When our civic laws align with these principles, human welfare becomes self-evident and justice is always served without equivocation. And since we all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, anything that infringes upon these rights should be punishable by civic laws in accordance with the natural, universal moral principles that bind them.
For example, we may have the right to free speech, but this does not take precedence over the general welfare of others. We do not have the right to slander and cause harm to other people. We do not have the right to speak in a manner that incites hatred toward others, and we do not have the right to be deceitful when our deceptions may cause harm to others. No matter who we are, whenever our negligent actions are in opposition to moral principles, we forfeit our rights and are subject to equitable retribution for our actions.
No individual or institution should be exempt from abiding by moral laws and honoring fundamental human rights. Neither governments nor corporations should be exempt. A corporate lobbyist does not have the right to solicit political favor when it’s outcome opposes the greater good. Any form of corporate/political collusion that would harm others should be considered a crime punishable by the court of law. Problems arise when we lack accountability, when our failure to honor human rights remains unchecked, and when civic laws do not abide by natural, universal moral principles. Unfortunately, politicians are opportunistic like everyone else, so it isn’t going to help to point accusing fingers at them. Rather, the only way to fix the problem is to implement new and innovative processes that hold our public servants strictly accountable for their actions, where punishments exceed the risk of their anticipated rewards. Over time, politicians will not only know what’s expected of them, they will begin holding themselves accountable for questionable actions and behavior within their ranks.
The metaphors we choose are the worldviews we live by. Likewise, the social constructs we believe and perpetuate are the realities we create for ourselves. And since metaphors and constructs shape our social realities, we can change our metaphors and rewrite our scripts in a manner that redefine who we are as individuals, as a society, and as a race of beings. We don’t have to conform to the predetermined social constructs, standards and values we were born into and told to model. We don’t have to be a society defined by its past. Rather, as a free and independent social democracy, we can collectively choose a different path. We can transcend our base natures to become whatever we want our society to be.
As members of the Human Reform Party, we choose a society that values community over individualism, caring over ambivalence, and charity over self-indulgence. We choose a society that holds itself accountable for promoting our general well-being while diminishing suffering. We choose a society that abides by universal moral truths such as mindfulness, temperance, humility, frugality, respect, compassion, grace and forgiveness. We choose love over fear, inclusion over divisiveness, and the sanctity of sentient life and the sustainability of our planet’s ecosystem over corporate profit. And finally, we choose a society that consistently achieves humanity’s most noble cause — to benefit others we don’t know, not because we may have something to gain by it, but simply because it’s the right thing to do.
Clarify our role. Internally, within the party, we refer to ourselves as public servants and servant leaders, not politicians. Outsiders may call us politicians, but we prefer our roles to be labeled in alignment with our true purpose; and our purpose is to serve people.
Value character over qualification. Although it is impossible to ignore experience and qualifications altogether, the measure of a person’s character is far more important to us. We ensure our candidates seek neither money, power, nor fame. What is important to us are the legacies we leave behind — the positive differences we make in the lives of others.
Practice principle-centered leadership. We are committed to our lives of servitude, and we are guided by the natural, universal moral principles of mindfulness, temperance, frugality, humility, benevolence, trust, respect, compassion, grace and forgiveness.
Maintain a strong moral compass. Our candidates are vetted to ensure they have a strong moral compass which always points toward the universal good — that precise place where intelligence, conscience, compassion for others and common sense reside.
Examine moral will. We look inward to assess the purity of our intentions, ensuring decisions are made for the benefit of others and not ourselves.
Exercise moral wisdom. We exercise moral wisdom in all our decision-making. We do this by understanding how our decisions influence others, and by assessing all our alternative courses of action, their consequences, and choosing the option that achieves the greatest good.
Stay the course. When the pressures of the moment cause allegiances to become blurred, we never forget the people who place their trust in us and elect us to office. Every thought, action, and decision is made with the welfare of our constituents in mind. And when there is conflict of interests, our ultimate goal is to render a result that achieves the greatest good for common people, simply because it’s the right thing to do.
“Moral Courage: The resolve to act rightly in the face of conventional wisdom, brutal opposition, shame, scandal, discouragement, and/or personal loss.”
Place people over profit. Our job is to serve the people who place us in office. We do not cater to the will of institutions, corporations, or elite in order to remain in their good graces. Although ours is a capitalist society, we will not place profit over people. Our primary purpose is to provide services that improve the quality of life in our country — to replace self-serving laws/policies/practices/procedures with those that benefit the people we serve.
Manage balance. We face new challenges as our world becomes smaller, more connected, and as countries achieve economic parity and compete with one another for goods and services. Working to achieve the best interests of the people we serve sometimes requires compromise when dealing with corporations that wish to remain competitive in a global market. Where compromise is required, we are completely transparent about it. We provide forums, face-to-face and online, so they can help us drive toward more agreeable, mutually-supportive solutions.
Have faith in humanity. We place our faith in the spirit of human goodness knowing that, without it, there is no hope to achieve the positive outcomes we seek. As we have seen throughout history, negativity is always met with negativity, distrust with distrust, and aggression with more aggression. We assume, no matter how reprehensible the situation, that people can elevate their current thinking in order to promote the greater good, even when it may not benefit themselves. When we place trust in people, we become trustworthy.
Constantly engage. We regularly interact with the people who place us in office. We learn what is most important to them, and we apply this knowledge to our public service activities and decision-making. We conduct face-to-face meetings and town halls in every office and at every level in our political hierarchy. When people talk, we listen; and we take their input seriously.
Encourage self-governance. People should have a say in how they are governed. We encourage the exchange of ideas through ongoing dialogue, open and candid discussion, with meaningful input and feedback.
Maintain accountability. Most of the problems we see in government are caused by lack of accountability. When government officials break moral codes, both obvious and obscure, they are not made to suffer the consequences. We institute laws, policies, procedures and practices that hold ourselves personally responsible and accountable. No role or position in our political hierarchy is exempt from accountability. We hold ourselves strictly accountable for our actions, and we remain transparent to maintain accountability by the people we serve.
Party members are held strictly accountable for abiding by party principles. Those who fail to uphold our principles will not have opportunities to represent the party in upcoming elections and will be replaced by morally-responsible candidates.
"The most important principle for designing an ethical society is to make sure that everyone's reputation is on the line all the time, so bad behavior always bring bad consequences" --Jonathan Haidt
Model virtue. To overcome the fear, hatred, selfishness and aggression in our world, we take pages out of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King’s strategy books: Become servant leaders by setting clear and distinguishable examples of what it means to be a virtuous human being. We remain steadfast on the moral high ground, always choosing to exercise moral will and wisdom. Our unwavering respect and kindness speak for themselves. We never stoop to the same unhealthy and damaging behavior of those who oppose us, because such actions create in us the same bad habits we wish to help others unlearn, and they affirm the attitudes and justify the intentions that embolden and encourage continued negativity.
Be honest. In a world where political honesty is lacking, our honesty is gladly welcomed by a receptive audience. We do not make promises we can’t keep. We do not set unreasonable expectations. Honesty is a differentiating factor that favors us when people go to the polls to vote.
Be respectful. In the inflammatory world of politics, we maintain a kind and gentle nature. When our opponents puff their chests and say disparaging things about us, our disposition does not change. We politely smile and discuss the issues that matter. Our attitude is always positive as we strive to solve our profound human issues, and we do this together in a spirit of mutual respect, shared responsibility, cooperation, and goodwill.
Earn trust. We are not figures of authority to be automatically respected simply because our society expects it. The trust and respect we receive from the people we serve are not derived by title or position. We earn trust by paying attention to the needs of our constituents and making honest efforts to address them. At the end of the day, any trust we receive will be based on answering these questions: “Did we fully understand the needs of the people we serve?” “Did we do whatever it takes to meet those needs?” And, “Were we successful?”
Maintain integrity. We genuinely address the needs of the people we serve. We are not driven by self-interests. Nothing causes us to deviate from our mission, vision and goals — all focused on serving the people who elected us to office. There is nothing underhanded in the way we conduct our day-to-day activities. We spend the necessary time learning what matters most to the people we serve, we explain our intentions, and we do what we say we are going to do.
Be transparent. We own our mistakes. We don’t sweep them under the carpet. No business is conducted behind closed doors. We maintain web services that bring transparency and report the day-to-day activities, both good and bad, at all levels of our political hierarchy. In this way, we hold ourselves accountable. The good is labeled, “What we’ve done right,” while the bad is labeled, “What we can learn”.
“Two human qualities will save us — unrelenting compassion for others and uncompromising intellectual honesty.”
Be forgiving. The practice of grace and forgiveness is based on empathy. It assumes that if I am a generally good person, it stands to reason that you are too. It places faith in our ability to change for the better — to redefine ourselves and rise above our current conditions. Those who are sincerely forgiven and touched by empathy often feel the human connection and respond favorably to it. Grace and forgiveness opens the door to trust and is one of the best ways, if not truly the only way, to resolve conflict.
Resist temptation. Perhaps this, above all else, is the most difficult personal challenge a public servant faces when first entering the political arena. Because once good people get involved in politics, they become immersed in a culture of entitlement that expects their full and unquestioning participation. The pressure to conform is great, and anyone who doesn’t cooperate is considered a threat and an outcast. Those who enter politics with honorable intentions are conditioned over time to accept privileges that weaken their resolve until they are finally snared by the gratuitous perks and lavish lifestyles. It takes tremendous focus and self-discipline to resist the temptations of political life. Nevertheless, we know who we serve and will not be led down that dark path to deviate from our known purpose. We will not accept bribes, perks, gifts — no money, no material items, no future employment, nothing. When offers like this are made known to us, we will kindly decline and explain our position in a manner that discourages the behavior and lessens the chance we’ll be asked again.
Imagine a political party that is founded on universal moral principles — principles such as mindfulness, temperance, humility, frugality, honesty, compassion, grace and forgiveness among others, all applied in concert to achieve humanity’s greatest common good. Imagine a party that believes these principles are the fundamental building blocks of their platforms, and that platforms should always be aligned with these principles.
Imagine a political party that spends comparatively little funds on campaign finances because winning elections isn’t its primary goal. In this party, resources are devoted to attracting and vetting selfless people that will become public servants, to developing personal character that promotes a shared vision of compassionate action, to creating a collaborative political bureaucracy that drives efficiency and effectiveness, and to maintaining a powerful ethics committee that holds its members strictly accountable for abiding by party principles and guidelines.
Image a political party where public servants must abide by party principles or suffer consequences. Where members who deviate from party principles will no longer have opportunities to represent the party, but will be replaced by morally responsible candidates.
Imagine a political party voters can trust to do the right thing, time and again, without compromise, because party members are motivated by leaving their positive marks upon the world rather than money, power or fame.
Imagine a party where members collaborate to best serve constituents at every level of the political hierarchy. When voters go to the polls to vote, they will come to understand they are not merely electing an individual candidate, but an entire collection of like-minded people committed to promoting and implementing a shared vision of human and planetary welfare. They will be voting for the party as much as the person. And it will be a party they can trust, no matter who happens to be running for that particular office.
Now imagine how the future of politics would change if we cared enough to create such a party.
Create a new political party. The reasons for a new independent political party include:
- A new political party has no history of losses, unlike current parties. People generally lack confidence in political parties with losing histories and won’t join their causes.
- A new political party can write its own narratives and create its own identity without baggage. There are no preconceived notions about a new political party, good or bad, unlike current parties.
- A new political party can be built from the ground up, unlike current parties that must revise their established identities and bureaucratic processes, making it much more difficult to change direction in meaningful ways.
- A new political party can change the rules and revise the political game in novel ways. For example, a new party can hold its politicians accountable for abiding by its party principles, thereby making it a more desirable option to voters.
- A new political party can package itself using a ideology and language that clearly differentiates itself from the others. A political party with a constitution founded on principles of mindfulness, temperance, frugality, trust, respect, compassion, grace and forgiveness clearly sets itself apart from other parties.
Choose a meaningful and desirable party name. A name like “The Green Party” has an eco-friendly connotation that implies a narrow scope. People intuitively think the party doesn’t address all their needs, and many won’t give the party a chance simply because of its name. Instead, the party’s name should clearly state our devotion to solving the entire range of human-derived issues. Names like the “Progressive Party” or “Human Reform Party” are much better. And frankly, I would rather be known as a “Humanist,” “Reformist” or “Human Reformist” than a Democrat or Republican.
Define the party’s constitution. As stated in the preamble, the party constitution contains principles and guidelines that direct all activities of public service. These principles and guidelines are based on core values derived from natural moral laws of human behavior. Our party constitution is an ongoing work in progress that changes as we learn more about ourselves and our role in society.
“Our politicians’ personal constitutions matter as much as our nation’s Constitution.”
Maintain a website. Create a compelling website — one that showcases our party’s values, our constitution, our roadmap, our platform, provides a forum to exchange ideas, promotes our digital democracy, registers memberships, and recruits volunteers. It will take a great deal money to realize the breakthroughs we’re striving to achieve, so we need to stage a presentation so persuasive and inspiring that it will draw compassionate capitalists to help fund our cause.
Create a differentiating brand. We live in an era where substance has become a marketing tactic. Though momentarily inspiring, we have become desensitized by its lack of authenticity. Nevertheless, to win votes, our message must be compelling. And though we will hire the best advertising firm and team of speech-writers we can afford, we differentiate ourselves by living up to our word.
Keep our message simple. Our message doesn’t have to be complicated. The value we bring is presented in clear, concise language that makes sense. And we painstakingly craft our mission and,our platform to make them as simple and as easily understood as possible. We will not be misinterpreted.
Stage a candidate who inspires. This is the centerpiece of any sustained movement. Every major shift in public thinking has been led by a dynamic spokesperson who clearly and passionately articulated a compelling vision. In each case, it took a principled leader fighting for a moral cause. We saw it in John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and most recently in Bernie Sanders. They had the intelligence, charisma and message that inspired us to redefine ourselves and what we could become as a nation.
Appeal to a known audience. Know what your constituency cares about. Understand their problems and speak to them in clear and simple terms. Beat the drum. Make it memorable. And over time our cause will become their cause. It will become the tape running through their heads. It will be their slogan, their mantra. Remember Ross Perot and United We Stand America? His party won nearly 19 percent of the popular vote in 1992. Compare that with roughly 5 percent for the Libertarian Party and 1 percent for the Green Party in the most recent 2016 Presidential General Election. Mr. Perot kept harping on our federal budget… over and over again.. until it finally stuck. Many of us can still remember Ross standing in front of his quaint little whiteboard with his charming yet oddly impish grin on his face, drawing charts while describing how he was going to fix our national debt. The image is etched into our brains. And the party would have done better in the polls had his eccentricities and personal issues not sabotaged the campaign. Nevertheless, there is something to be learned from UWSA’s approach and Ross Perot’s presentation that will help us win our elections.
Spread the power of unity. If we learned anything from Bernie Sanders, it’s how to inspire the masses. As individuals, we feel powerless to make significant change on a grand scale. But when people are reminded of their collective strength, we suddenly feel powerful and are motivated to act. Bernie Sanders took full advantage of this human dynamic during his bid for the 2016 Democratic Presidential Nomination. The phrase, “When we all stand together,” became his rallying cry. It raised the confidence of those who listened and motivated them to turn out to vote in large numbers. Bernie’s campaign exceeded everyone’s expectations as he nearly upset Hillary Clinton’s foothold on the Democratic Party during the 2016 Primary Election by accruing 43 percent of the popular vote and winning 23 states in the process.
“The true hero in any society is one who inspires us and teaches us how to rise above ourselves.”
Leverage hope. Bernie Sanders gave millions of people hope during the 2016 Democratic Primary Election. As a result, he was able to raise $165 million dollars through ActBlue’s website alone. I am confident that, with all the pieces described above in place, we could launch a compelling campaign that would capture the imagination of a nation once again. We would raise enough money to fund our ongoing effort and ultimately win our elections.
Obtain high-profile endorsements. Once our party becomes widely known and our message gains traction, we will seek endorsements from people who align with our humanitarian principles and platform. Our party would benefit a great deal by gaining endorsements from world renown politicians, economists, scientists, theologians and others who share a place in their hearts for humanity. For example, it would be helpful to have the Dalai Lama speak on our behalf.
Attract the best people. We are the party of choice for persons who wish to place their positive imprints on our world and leave lasting legacies. To us, compassion is a necessary component of human capital. By managing our party as a competitive not-for-profit business, we attract the most compassionate and resourceful candidates our society has to offer in order to remain competitive in the political marketplace.
Replicate the process. Repeat the process at the local, state and federal levels. Now that our process is firmly established — we have a solid platform that is clearly differentiated from the other parties, we have caring public servants devoted to our cause, we are funded, and we have an inspirational spokesperson driving our message, we will use our resources to gain seats at every level of government throughout our country. People will know who we are and the value we provide to them. They will understand our platform. And they will choose us over other parties because they know we truly have their best interests in mind, that we can be trusted to act on our core principles, and that we will hold ourselves accountable in the process.
Fund our cause. A cause of this magnitude deserves a fighting chance, and the only way we can sustain a movement that will unseat the two dominant parties is through funding from people with money — and lots of it. These will be people who want to genuinely make a positive difference in our world and will share our vision on how to make that happen.
We build our platform by reaching out and identifying the best practices our world has to offer. At a high level, here are a few issues we address in our party platform. This is not an exhaustive list.
- Elections will be held on two national holidays so that all voters can participate.
- Voter registration will be automatic on the eighteenth birthday for all citizens.
- We will establish a voting system using the latest secure technologies to make voting accessible and easy for anyone who has US Citizenship. All ballots will be capable of a full audit and recounting.
- It will be be a felony offense to tamper with the voter registration, and any infringement will be strictly enforced.
- Elections will be publicly funded by people, not corporations. We will eliminate Citizen’s United to protect the electoral will of people over corporations.
- All election rules will be standardized across all states for all levels of government.
- All primary elections will be open primaries. The rules for primary elections will be standardized across all states for all levels of government.
- We will eliminate the electoral college, superdelegates and caucuses.
- Legislative districts will be reviewed by the courts and an independent committee to insure that gerrymandering is eliminated.
- Legislative seats will be awarded on a proportional basis, directly related to the percentage of popular vote.
- News networks will cover all official candidates in a fair and equal manner during elections. No favoritism toward particular candidates will be tolerated. Public debates to be aired will be opened to all candidates entered in the electoral campaigns.
- Newspapers and news magazines will donate a portion of their print space for information related to candidates and pending legislative bills. They will be held accountable for their unbiased presentation of these details. Negligent reporting of facts will to be tolerated.
- The government will be responsible for posting detailed, unbiased information about candidates, office holders and legislative activities on their web sites.
- Where there are lawsuits regarding elections, courts will be required to publish summary information about the outcomes of their court cases on their websites.
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, POLITICIANS, MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
- Compensation and benefits of all public employees, including members of congress, must be tied directly to the cost of living and the benefits and wages of citizens.
- All laws passed by congress will be applied to them in the same manner as citizens. There will be no special allowances and/or perks awarded to members of congress.
- All public employees must resign from any and all corporate decision making roles prior to beginning public service.
- All public employees are forbidden to take private sector jobs in areas that they had regulatory influence.
- All public employees must have stocks and bonds held in blind trusts.
- It will be illegal to purchase or sell stocks, bonds or commodities while in a government position that has influence over the related industries.
- Government employees are forbidden from taking any money, gifts or services from anyone that may present a conflict of interest.
- It is illegal for government employees, including members of congress, to accept private donations, gifts, loans, services or items that have a value of more than $100.00 per year from any particular individual or corporation. All such donations are reported in income tax statements.
- It is illegal to accept foreign political donations.
- Corporate personhood underlies a great many of our problems. Corporations are NOT people and should not have more rights than natural human beings. We will remove corporations of their Constitutional rights as “persons,” and there will be no basis for Citizens United, and no more buying elections and politicians, no more using and abusing the takings clause of the 5th Amendment to override local governments trying to protect their environment and community members.
- Corporations and other institutions will be held to the same moral and ethical standards as individuals. Where injustices are confirmed, those in leadership roles will be held personally accountable for their institution’s actions and made to suffer consequences handed down the by court of law.
- We will get money out of politics. Where politicians interact with institutional representatives, any exchange that personally benefits either party before, during, or after their terms in office is a felony, punishable by law, with punishments exceeding the perceived or actual benefits for all individuals involved in these exchanges.
- It is illegal to offer private donations, gifts, loans, services or items that have a value of more than $100.00 to politicians, including members of congress.
- All lobbyist organizations and activities are banned.
- We will impose a stiff carbon tax on the fossil fuel industries.
- We will provide incentives to drive clean energy alternatives.
- We will have a graduated tax system based on income.
- We will raise the income tax rates on our wealthiest citizens.
- We will eliminate tax deductions and loopholes.
- Money hidden in foreign tax shelters will be considered tax fraud and companies will be fined accordingly.
- Companies that have become profitable in the USA and choose to relocate their headquarters on foreign soil will be obligated to pay U.S. taxes.
- Our military will not be used to boost our economy, but will only serve for our national defense. We will dismantle our military bases overseas and cut our military spending by 75 percent.
- We will become a country that resolves conflict by peaceful means and resorts to war as the very last option.
CHURCH & STATE
- We will ensure there is clear separation between church and state.
- We will cultivate a social value system that honors personal integrity and moral responsibility.
- In the short term, we will make education in colleges, universities and trade schools more affordable for all citizens.
- Our long-term solution will provide everyone access to free education, including four years of college, with paid post-secondary options also available.
We will provide a universal single-payer healthcare system with paid options also available for those who are willing to pay more and can afford it.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." ― Albert Einstein
We will open the global market of pharmaceuticals to the United States in order to take advantage of worldwide innovations and lower costs.
We will increase minimum wages to meet current cost of living requirements adjusted for the economic variances of each state and region.
JUDICIAL SYSTEM & LAW ENFORCEMENT
- We will decriminalize activities that do not pose extreme dangers to our citizens.
- We will decriminalize drug use and treat addictions as medical problems.
- We will adopt community-based law enforcement standard practices that reduce the incidence of police abuse.
- We will eliminate our for-profit prisons.
- We protect the right of workers to be represented by Unions.
- Companies that do business in the USA are required to support the social and labor structure of this country.
Undocumented persons with no criminal histories who have lived in the U.S. for ten years or have children born in the U.S. will be given a clear path to citizenship at reasonable cost.
“Moral responsibility requires caring how our actions influence others. At the moment we lose sight of ‘the other,’ we run the risk of making morally irresponsible decisions.”
We are of the opinion that everyone on our tiny planet is on a unique journey, and it is unreasonable for us to expect others to fully understand our journey or walk the path we’re on. Some guidelines we observe as we walk our own paths are:
- Respect one another’s journeys.
- What is good for you may be bad for someone else, and conversely.
- When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
- Every person we meet along the path on our journey is a teacher and presents a learning opportunity.
- To know one’s self is to know all humanity, and to trust one’s self is to trust all humanity.
- Natural, universal Moral Principles exist that are as permanent and unbending as gravity itself.
- Any attempt to thwart, circumvent, trick or otherwise oppose Moral Principles always leads to negative consequences, great or small, known or unknown to their originators, somewhere in the world.
- Exercise Moral Will to determine the purity of our intentions.
- Exercise Moral Wisdom to weigh alternative courses of action and their consequences and choose the option that achieves the greatest good.
- The most noble of all human endeavors is to improve the welfare of persons we don’t know, not because we may have something to gain by it, but simply because it’s the right thing to do.
“Elevate morality and virtue to the forefront of our social consciousness. Only then will we produce the sustainable positive changes we seek.”
It’s a Mad World
Have you ever had the feeling that something isn’t quite right? That the corruption you see in our world doesn’t quite fit your sense of reality? Well, you may be comforted to know that you’re not alone.
As devoted citizens of our great country — a nation that spends more on its military than the next eight nations combined, we have allowed a few power-hungry oligarchs to define our reality for us. And if you look beyond the reaches of your immediate lives and neighborhoods, you will find much of our world is under the tremendous strain of oppression, largely at the hands of the ruling elite who profit by it. The same ruling class who owns our military also owns our network news, and we have been duped into believing what they want us to think about their intentions for going to war. It’s an elaborate deception that, thanks to the internet, people are just now beginning to realize.
Take a look at your world’s news. Any normal person with an iota of objectivity would conclude that the world has gone absolutely insane. Unfortunately, much of this insanity has been caused by our ruling elite’s desire to keep our military-industrial-complex relevant, operational, active and profitable. Why else does our government always respond with knee-jerk aggression without first attempting to resolve our international conflicts peacefully? How often do politicians tell us about their efforts to reach peaceful solutions? Why is aggression always our government’s first choice to resolve conflict? And think about it. It’s not what you would expect in a world managed by rational adults. In fact, it’s really quite the opposite. The behavior is irrational, aggressive, and harmful to others. People who exhibit these behaviors are typically placed in straight jackets and directed to padded cells. It’s madness.
Institutions like corporations and our government are not held to the same standards of accountability as individuals. As a result, we give them license to lie, steal and kill with impunity. They get away with murder…literally. The fact that we condone these behaviors is… well… madness.
We live in a world where the threat of thermonuclear war and human extinction is a real possibility. This is madness. Where the unprincipled pursuit of money is glorified even though it has proven to degrade human relations and our quality of life. This is madness. Where our President seeks counsel from military and corporate advisors while dismissing the humanitarian and scientific communities. This is madness. Where we exert our will on lesser nations for our own prosperity while telling the world we are doing it for humanitarian reasons. This is madness. Where our government spends bucket loads of money on our military but next to nothing on peaceful alternatives to global conflict. This is madness.
And we live in a world where our ongoing war in the Middle East has cost trillions of dollars and, after thirty long years, we still have no exit plan. This is madness. Where our scientific community’s warnings about climate change are completely ignored despite its catastrophic implications. This is madness. Where elected politicians show more concern about corporate profits than the health of the people they are supposed to serve. This is madness. Where our role models are selfish and superficial rather than generous and engaging. This is madness.
These are just a few examples that quickly come to mind. What other forms of madness do you see in our world that would go away overnight if members of our government were compassionate and not self-serving? Clearly, we live in a mad world. And I don’t know about you, but we think it’s time to hold our government accountable and end this madness!
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ― R.Buckminster Fuller
Humanity’s Transformation and Transcendence
All humans are opportunistic by nature. As society raises its moral consciousness and awareness, it creates for itself policies, procedures, practices, guidelines, regulations, rules and laws to control opportunistic behavior and keep people honest. When we elevate morality in our social consciousness, we raise our collective social expectations and hold one another to a greater degree of accountability. Politicians will be challenged to abide by our heightened expectations, and they will create laws that are more clearly and thoroughly aligned with moral principles. Over time, our politicians will begin acting with moral will and wisdom to fulfill their moral obligations to humanity. It will no longer be necessary to hold them accountable for their actions because they will hold themselves accountable. Deliberately improving society’s moral fabric through education, media and politics is our most efficient, effective and comprehensive solution to resolve most of the world’s problems. And creating a morally responsible political party that will honor this vision is the first step toward actualizing this ideal reality.
With public confidence at an all-time low, the political climate is ripe for a humanitarian party to roll in. And as people are turning to the internet for news, corporate media will be more motivated than ever to offer equal time to third party candidates during elections. The time to act is now. Together we can unseat our nation’s two dominant parties and create better lives, and a better world, for all of us.
Nevertheless, changing the collective mindset of an entire race of beings is no small task. And when we examine the steep slope that leads to the peak of that mountain, we imagine a journey that seems impossible to achieve. Nevertheless, it’s a journey we must begin to save us from ourselves.
So how do we change the paradigm of an entire society? And if we found a way to do this, what changes would we make? Our quest at “Human Reform Politics” is to find answers to these questions. We invite all who care to join our cause. Together, we can apply our imaginations and discover best practices to create compelling narratives and solutions that can potentially save us from ourselves. If you wish to participate in our cause, either message me or join us at Human Reform Politics group on Facebook and let us know how you would like to help.
“The most elevated human endeavor is also its most selfless act — to benefit those we don’t know, for humanity’s greater good.”
“It starts with an idea that becomes a vision.”
“And it will happen if we honor the vision.”