The Next Chapter — Power to the People
I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for your support of my recent presidential candidacy and for your support for my public efforts in the past.
My electoral career spanned more than 50 years and 18 campaigns as a candidate. Some of you will remember that, when I lost my Senate re-election in 1980, I was disillusioned with representative government. But I continued my interest in and study of public policy and of the problems of human governance, eventually finding others who shared my goal of improving our broken representative democracy.
For all the talk of change in this – and every – election, there are really only two venues for fundamental change: the people and the government. We all know that our government has, by and large, been corrupted by money from lobbyists for various corporate interests. As a result, it’s the special interests that are primarily served by our government – not the public interest.
Government gridlock has occurred because of the way the structures of government have evolved. But the Congress, and state and local governments, have little interest in enacting legislation to empower the people because doing so would dilute their own power. The same is true for the media, which covets its current role as a filter of information between the government and the people.
I believe that no matter who becomes our next president, true change in government will only occur if American citizens – We, The People – are empowered to vote on the important issues that affect our lives. Think of an engaged citizenry as the fourth branch of government, or as has been suggested, as adding a fourth leg to a wobbly chair that will otherwise fall over.
Lawmaking is the central power of government. I believe that empowering voters to share this power, in partnership with their elected representatives, is the solution to the gridlock our nation faces. This addition of Direct Democracy is outlined in a legislative proposal called the National Initiative for Democracy.
We saw that electing more Democrats to Congress did not end the war in Iraq. If the People could have voted, I believe our troops would be home already. If the People could vote, I believe we would re-direct our national priorities away from the bloated military-industrial complex; away from the "war" on drugs, which has resulted in more Americans in prison for non-violent behavior than any other country in the world; and away from government invasion of our personal privacy.
If the People could vote, I believe we would establish different priorities to ensure the civil liberties of all citizens; to repair our national infrastructure; to encourage solutions to our energy policies that respect the environment and don’t create food shortages; to ensure access to health care; and to develop educational opportunities that will lead to a vibrant economy and a better future for our children and grandchildren.
Promoting the National Initiative was the reason I entered the presidential campaign – first as a Democrat and subsequently as a Libertarian after I realized that, contrary to myth, both major parties are controlled by the influences of Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. Our economy is in deep fiscal trouble, with a society that spends more than it earns, and with a nation purposely kept on a permanent war footing. I am convinced, sad to say, regardless of who wins in November, not a great deal will change.
Ending my electoral career, however, is not the close of my career of political activism. I will return to my work with the Democracy Foundation to educate Americans about the National Initiative and encourage Americans to vote in sufficient numbers to enact it into law. I hope Americans will come to realize that it is their right to vote directly on the issues that affect their lives. I will spend the rest of my life working to realize that goal.
In an effort to earn a living while pursuing the causes we hold dear, I will be signing on with a speakers bureau. This will dovetail nicely with the book tours I will be making to promote Citizen Power, self-published at Author House, which can be purchased online at citizen-power.us. Chapter 2 and 12 argue the case for the National Initiative in detail. The appendix also has the text of the proposed legislation.
I will also be promoting two other books which I co-authored, available at your local bookstore: A Political Odyssey: THE RISE OF AMERICAN MILITARISM AND ONE MAN’S FIGHT TO STOP IT, published by Seven Story Press, with Joe Lauria; and The KINGMAKERS: How the Media Threatens Our Security and Our Democracy, published by Phoenix Books, with Dr. David Eisenbach. Another book, Voice of a Maverick: The Speeches and Writings of Senator Mike Gravel, has been published by Brandywine House Books & Media and documents my key speeches while campaigning.
I hope you will join me in this effort with both personal and financial support.
If you wish to donate to help continue my fight for our country, please do so today. As we change the campaign Web site over to a public policy effort, I will continue to accept donations to advance the cause of peace, justice and the empowerment of the American people.
Since the Democracy Foundation is a 501(c)3, donations for the educational effort of the National Initiative are tax deductible and can be made at http://ni4d.us.
Again, let me heartily thank you for your support. May our paths cross again in the near future as we work to improve our nation and the world we share.