I spent a lot of time talking with a friend of mine who lives in Athens and who was very involved with the political and socio-economical issues that were happening there. Over the several days we were together, he opened my eyes to what had been going on in Greece and how the continued influence of corporations over government allowed higher levels of austerity to be imposed on the people there. He explained how this had driven his entire country, many of his friends and family, into the very depths of poverty that Americans snub their noses at.
He showed me how major news media continued to paint Greece as greedy and not willing to pay their share when all the banks wanted to call their debt at one time and the Greek government, ripe with dirty politicians took it out on the people who were trying to organize a new political party.
How can something like this happen in the very birth place of Democracy itself? Quite simply, the people fell asleep. They didn't go to meetings, or run for political office or felt the need to exercise their democracy. This allowed politicians to slowly change their laws to allow certain actions and debts to be accumulated. Slowly, but surely, the people's democratic power was being stripped and they didn't even know about it.
If the people have no power, how can they hope to ever get out from under the thumb of all that debt?
The day after I flew home, the Athens government threw tear gas into crowds of people who had gathered in civil disobedience and solidarity for their cause. Old people, people with small children in their strollers, it didn't matter to the Athens police.
The only answer seems to be that they will have to break the political and economic system completely, break away from the Euro and result to bartering with each other to survive. They are very nearly to that stage now.
Even Bernie Sanders had something to say about this because he sees that America could very easily become like this- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWmg3lNOyqM
And yet, many people who are so poor now in Greece would still open their homes and hearts to help the refugees from Syria. This shows us that they are good people on the wrong side of policy.
That was just 5 years ago and to me, seemed so improbable for the United States to ever have to go through what Greece is still trying to get through.
Of course, I know that what happens to one country can certainly have affects on another country, but never in my life had I imagined that our democracy would be in jeopardy.
I have always thought to myself that our democracy really is what makes us "America" so how could it ever get as bad as it has for Greece?
Yet, as I watch in absolute amazement, I can see democracy in America unraveling before my very eyes. I'm referring, of course, to the Nevada State Democratic Convention and also the complete disregard for equal representation at the Democratic National Convention with regards to rules and committees appointments.
|READ: Salon- Sanders campaign blasts DNC Chair|
Let's start with the Nevada State Democratic Convention where rules and procedures were just thrown out the window and the Committee Chair Woman literally ran away for her life. Does Bernie Sanders really scare her more than Donald Trump? I've never seen so much fear in my life and I can't understand why she didn't just step aside and let someone else run that convention?
Why doesn't the other Nevada State Delegates have the power to hold her accountable for ending the convention without following through with a proper vote? Who makes the rules for how that convention is ran and what happens there? Who holds the news media accountable for spreading false news about Bernie supporters using violence when they didn't?
It sounds so overwhelming to an every day citizen, but it's in these tiny rules and bylaws that we'll find the beginnings of the end for democracy as we know it.
With many more conventions held between now and July when the National Convention will be, all of these little convention issues add up to be one big problem and that is the people's vote and party platform choices are not being represented proportionately. The minority vote is taking control no matter what and this, ladies and gentlemen, is the beginning of the end for democracy if we let this happen in every state.
As a Missouri State Delegate heading into the Missouri State Convention next month, I can tell you that all of the Bernie delegates are now scrambling to make sure we have supplies to stay the course in case we have to do a sit-in. We are studying Roberts Rules and Democratic Party By-Laws and we're getting informed on how the meeting can and will be ran.
Something has to be done and I think it needs to start with the Media and a massive educational campaign that reaches out to every voter because if we don't do something now, our votes really won't mean anything anymore.
But Angie, this sounds so drastic, how can you think that America could become like Greece?
Obviously, you don't get what's happening or you haven't read what happened in Nevada. I beg you, please read about it here- https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/05/15/heres-what-happened-at-saturdays-dramatic-nevada-democratic-convention/
Let's also look at what Debbie Wasserman Schultz is doing to the Democratic National Convention.
The convention lasts for several days and is organized into different committees. These committees meet to discuss the RULES for the convention (HOW WE GET TO VOTE) and the party's platform positions (which is what the party stands for and what they are willing to fight for).
I've served on committees and even chaired a few and I know that the REAL decisions are made there and then those decisions are presented and voted on by the rest of the party.
Bernie Sanders has won a certain percentage of the national popular vote (my vote included) and therefor should have some say in who gets selected to serve on the committees and as chairs of those committees.
He gave 45 names to Debbie Wasserman Schultz who, as the DNC Chair, is the person who has the final say on who gets to be on these committees. She put only 3 of them on the committees and has also gone out of her way to put people on those committees that have been outspoken against him and his policy ideas.
This means (for the rest of us Americans) that our vote literally meant absolutely nothing to the woman who oversees the entire direction that the party will go in the coming years. One person, essentially controlling the entire party. Sound familiar?
As a Delegate, here are some ideas for what to do about this at the Convention:
1. Make sure that you are officially registered as a Democrat before heading to the National Convention. Your credentials will be challenged and you will be turned away if you switch your party before then. It is imperative that you remain a Democrat through this entire process if we want to give Bernie his best chance.
2. When you go to your State Convention, be sure to have as many Bernie supporters voted into committees as possible to help give him a voice when deciding the State Party's platform for heading into the National Convention.
3. Stay in touch with your committee representative and/or the people that voted for you to go and be aware of what is happening in the meetings. Be sure to post about this on all the social networks you use. Real-time pressure can be applied to anyone serving on committees that are also political leaders (voted in by the public).
4. Be prepared to stay awhile. At the Nevada convention, Bernie supporters refused to leave until they had the re-count they asked for and deserved. The hotel where the convention was being held ended up blocking the bathrooms, turning off the lights and called in the sheriff's deputies to have them removed. Bernie needs us to stay as long as we aren't going to get physically hurt.
But Angie, I'm not going to the conventions, what can I do?
Find out who your State's Delegates are and let them know you want to stay informed on what's happening inside the convention and make sure you pay attention to which political leaders are involved from your district.
Holding your state's leaders accountable for their actions will make the difference between Greece and America. We have one shot at this. Even if we can't get Bernie into office this year, we can still work to dismantle the policies that got us here in the first place so that when we try this again, the deck won't be stacked against us.
It's essential that you stay involved with the movement and DO NOT RELY ON MEDIA to educate you to what is happening.
I will be live-streaming video from the Missouri State Convention and as much as possible from the National State Convention depending on whether I get elected to go as a Delegate or not... so be sure to follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AngieLileDelegate/
Or follow me on Twitter- https://twitter.com/AngieLile