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Experiencing the Thrill of Democracy


Experiencing the Thrill of Democracy

Frances Moore Lappé, Adam Eichen

Demanding that Congress remove big money’s stranglehold on our democracy and protect voting rights, we walked more than 100 miles from Philadelphia to Washington, DC this spring with Democracy Spring.

The experience changed us. Our energy has never been higher. So what do we do now?

Whatever the answer is, we are determined to build on our final minutes of the march. As the Capitol dome came into view, we found ourselves among hundreds, all chanting at full throat, “Whose democracy? Our democracy!” We felt a thrill of recognition:


What do we do now? Good question but I notice that there wasn't a concrete answer to it.

There is one thing missing and it is either addressed or even the most committed and inspiring groups will 'Walk' in isolation.

What is needed is a progressive social site. A site where progressive groups can interact and post announcements way in advance of protests so that people can plan their lives. I once took my one week's vacation to allow me to attend a protest march ...lol. People need to know about events and protests in advance. People also need a way to organize their events too and gather volunteers and ideas and so forth.

What we need is an online version of all those Peace Newsletters and a pamphlets put out by small local groups. Anybody else ( ancient enough) remember all those mini magazines of newsprint which contained a few articles reprinted from glossy magazines and the all important Peace Calendar and Bulletin board that listed protests happening around the country months in advance! We need the Smallville Peace Network Bulletins and the Gotham Liberation News again but we need them online!!!!!!!!!

We need one central site without an agenda or cause except to be a clearinghouse and meeting place ( hosting service for discussions and interviews) for all the groups out there. Sort of like a progressive Reddit page but a stand alone place that listed all the progressive website and groups so that people could learn about groups they like or are in their local area and contact numbers.

We need an online WIN magazine for those who remember. An online Pacific News Service. An online Underground News ( published above ground as all of them were back then...lol )

We remain united in spirit but not in real terms. We simply don't know about when things are happening. For example CD will report on protests after they have happened. They are getting better about that though but one can understand that they are a news service not a bulletin board.

We need an online social site for progressives and peace advocates. We need an online progressive Bulletin Board.


Rah Rah Feel good has its place.
I am sure there are some targets these folks hit in their efforts.
But this article itself establishes nothing.


Oh yes, it almost looked like we might be able to experience that Thrill of Democracy.
Millions of young and even first time voters were enthusiastic about a candidate who represented their values and did not represent the 1%.
The people rallied with a gusto never seen before in my lifetime.
Joining those were millions of older voters like me who finally saw a candidate who represented decency.
They sent in their $27 donations in record numbers.
The voters registered in mass so that their voices could be heard...

And then the misnamed Democratic Party made sure that their voices were silenced.
Through Dirty Tricks.
Purged voter lists.
Stacked Rules.
And a Press in their pocket.
The DNC and DLC did everything in their power to ensure that their anointed candidate won.
So much for Democracy.
So much for the Thrill.

The two major party candidates are the most hated in the history of our country.
And those two political parties, wholly owned by the corporate elite, will do everything is their power to ensure that any third party candidate gets no press coverage and, if possible, remains off of the ballot.

If you are not voting for the "Right" candidate (double meaning), then your vote will not be counted.
That will not stop me from refusing to vote for evil.
I will be voting for Jill Stein unless by some miracle of Democracy, Bernie Sander's name appears on the ballot.


"You know, this used to be a hell of a good country"
George Hanson

"They're scared of what you represent to them.
What you represent to them is Freedom.
That's what it's all about, all right!
But talkin' about it and bein' it are two different things.
I mean it's hard to be Free when you're bought and sold in the marketplace.
Of course, don't tell anybody they're Not Free or they're going to get real busy killin' and maimin'
to prove to you that they are."


Progressives' highest priority between now and the July conventions is to do what it takes to make sure that every ballot in every state and territory include the Green Party to assure that nobody is limited to voting for a corporate Democrat or corporate Republican.


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Alright, so it's easy to dismiss an article like this, but let me offer a defense to those who denigrate it.

First, political consciousness exists on a continuum. The thrust of this article seems to come from people who have developed an enthusiasm to make things better. That is a good thing, even if you don't think their consciousness is where it should be. One can argue the merit or lack of merit of the effectiveness of their action, but they did something and if it puts them into a mix with others so that consciousness can be raised to deeper levels, then it is a good thing. Activists arise out of ones initially being involved, so why act like the left does much too often and throw water on others rather then seeing the potential. It is easy to criticize and much more difficult to work to move something to the next level.

Second, I often wonder how many posters at these kind of sites are actually involved in progressive/radical politics other than typing on blogs. Those who wrote this article are people who organized something and did it, they got out from behind a computer and acted in a way that can be built upon. So calling them foolish is naively foolish in itself.

Third, these people are building solidarity among themselves, and what the whole movement for systemic change requires is broad solidarity. They are making connections, among people and about the system. True organizers would see people like these who took the time and effort to do something as potential allies, as those who can help in the struggle. They may not agree on many levels, but they would engage them with respect, something not often seen on anonymous blogging boards.

Last, it the article recognizes that one must take responsibility, one must act, one must do something, one must be an agent for change. That takes more than just owning a computer with internet. That responsibility takes time, money, effort, and is filled with frustration. In short, it takes commitment. If these people stay engaged, they will be forever changed, maybe even grow a deeper understanding (like I did many years ago) in terms of having a better politics.

Just saying. We need to self analyze and vet where we are coming from and what we want to accomplish and how to move our interactions to the next level.


"Don't Give Up; Show Up!"

That is what my wife, Dr. Lois Upham suggested to me as I lamented the disengagement of the U.S. voters and wondered what I should write to get the non-voter to understand his/her responsibility.

It turns out, that taking over the Democratic party at the local level is very simple. All that has to be done is to attend the local party meetings and bring others with you who are interested in making real, significant changes to the directions our society going.

The next step is for many of us to run for elected offices, using the examples and tools that the Sanders campaign has used.

Remember - You sell your loyalty to those who pay for your ability to run for office. The difficult decision that must be made is who are your owners - the many who have given small amounts or the few who have given large amounts of money/resources. Sen. Sanders has shown that it is possible to succeed and still be true to your ideals.


But getting back to reality... I think what most people would hope for is legitimately representative government. Today, Republicans represent the rich, Democrats represent the rich and middle class, and the poor have no representation whatsoever. The "thrill of democracy" is a middle class thing.