President Obama’s job approval rating is under 40%. Congress has a job approval rating of 13%. Our economy is circling the drain and all we have is a plan to make a plan – one that we know in advance will either be ridiculous or, if sensible, rejected by Congress.
Our dynamic political system offers alternatives when we get in this sort of a fix. At the moment, the two most credible challengers to replace President Obama believe that if we pray hard enough we can fix things with magic.
I’ve predicted for some time that the citizens of the U.S. will stage a bloodless coup, in effect, as soon as we realize that our broken government isn’t going to fix itself. The Internet gives us the option of forming a meta-government that simply tells the government-in-name what to do. We would still need politicians to press the buttons, but someone needs to tell them which buttons to press. And it looks as if that’s about to happen.
The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, just went public asking other CEOs to stop donating to political parties until the government comes up with a reasonable budget. That’s a step short of telling the government which specific button to push. But the idea that citizens can organize outside of traditional political parties and effectively steer the government is radical, and likely to evolve. We’ve always had activism on particular issues, but this feels different. Issue activism is like a teenager begging his parents to stay up late. Schultz’ idea to stop contributing to politicians is more like a parent telling a toddler to go stand in the corner. It’s the difference between asking and telling.
As for Schultz’ idea to not donate to politicians, count me in. And someday, if a credible economist comes up with a sensible budget plan that most other economists like, I’ll join my fellow citizens in jamming that budget down the throats of our useless government. The days of waiting for the government to fix itself are behind us.
I would go so far as to say that donating to a politician or political party in this environment is as close as an ordinary citizen can come to treason. Political contributions broke the government, and a government that stays broken will doom the country. Political donations made perfect sense when the system was working. That time has passed. It’s time to try something different. We can start with Howard Schultz idea to stop donating to politicians.