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Can We Stand Together To Make Our Government Work for All of Us?

by Josiah James Ingalls 2023

Can We Stand Together To Make Our Government Work for All of Us? At some level, all political parties claim to be morally superior to the other political parties. However, political parties have few or no morals and don’t stand for very much of anything in the long-term. I’m equally certain that every party’s platform is for sale to the highest bidder. Because the political parties don’t actually stand for anything long-term and their platforms are for sale, their candidates don’t actually stand for very much of anything other than money and power. Because if money and power can literally change what a party’s platform is, then it’s no wonder that our elected officials will throw the general population under the bus and sell off our rights and freedoms to the highest bidder. So each one of the major parties claims to have the moral high ground and in doing so they push into our society us-against-them, divide-and-conquer strategies that are literally ripping our country apart.

So you’re probably wondering how I can be absolutely certain of a claim so outrageous, so “out there” that it must be false. It’s because I, unlike most of our society, have done my homework when it comes to political parties in America. Let’s go back to 2007, when I was first considering running for mayor of Austin. Prior to this point I had grown up in a very strong Republican family, but I knew as a child that there were things about the Republican Party’s platform that I did not agree with. So I decided I was going to read through the platforms of the two major parties, as well as the significant independent parties such as the Libertarians and Greens. I started by gathering a list of all the noteworthy political parties in America at that time. Equipped with my list, I planned to pull up the party platforms for all of these parties. At first I figured the task would be easy and I would just do an Internet search for each party’s platform, and it would pop up. Boy, was I wrong! I Instead I found that each party had a different platform for every election year, which made me think I had a search engine problem. So I downloaded the two most recent party platforms for the Republican Party – one from the previous election and one from the current cycle – and did likewise for the Democratic Party. My goal was to go over each pair of platforms to see if they were the same – which they were not. I researched the discrepancies between the versions, and discovered that a party platform changes substantially between elections. Further research revealed that the party platform morphed to reflect the views and needs of the candidates who had raised the most money and had won their races.

This realization not only shocked me, but also determined that I would never be a party loyalist unless the political parties could actually stand for enduring principles, rather than base their platforms on the preferences of those who brought in the most money. This was my first glimpse of what would become painfully obvious in my run for mayor: that the governmental and political systems we learned about in school are not reflected in the systems we actually have. Instead, those who can raise the most money and get elected to office decide what a party’s platform is going to be for the next election cycle.

Growing up, I was taught that money leads to absolute corruption. Suddenly it dawned on me that it was no wonder why our government is absolutely corrupt to its core, or why it no longer really represents the people. At that moment I realized that there was a reason why our government hadn’t really truly represented the people in my entire life, or the lives of my parents and grandparents. This was the moment I realized the only thing that mattered in government and politics was money. That was the moment when I truly became disgusted with government. It was also the moment that I had the most fundamental realization on what it would take to fix government, and that realization was if you love government enough to want to be a part of it, then you will never be a change agent, you will never be someone who brings fundamental change to our governmental and political systems. At that moment I had a choice to make since I had already set into motion that I was going to run for mayor of Austin. Up until then I had not told anyone (other than my closest friend who would later become my wife) that I was going to run for mayor. At that moment I could either walk away from government and just not care, or I could let the disgust and anger at how money corrupts our government to the point that our rights and freedoms depend on whatever the highest bidder in the political arena is willing to pay for, or willing to pay to get accomplished. So I decided that that I needed to commit, to get involved. From that day to this, I have wanted to be involved in government, because I hate how corrupt it has become. I hate that our laws are determined by what the highest bidder in the political arena is willing to pay for. My disgust toward corruption became the reason I not only ran for mayor of Austin, but also ran for several other positions over the years – and why today, I am running for the United States Senate. It is the reason why I continue to advocate for change in our system. You see, the political parties don’t want you to pay attention enough to realize that they don’t actually stand for anything long-term. They know that the vast majority of people are not going to do a side-by-side comparison of a party’s platform from one political cycle to the next. They know that most of you are too busy trying to survive or too busy being entertained to even care enough to do the research. So instead they yell from their perches and podiums that theirs is the morally superior party and that you should join in.

As someone who has been a candidate multiple times, who has seen politics from the spectator side and from behind the curtain, I challenge you to wake up from your political amnesia and pay attention a little more. Because politicians only get away with their dishonesty because they rely on their secret weapon, which is your willful ignorance. They count on you to not care enough.

However, I do not know if our society will wake up from its political amnesia enough to demand change. I would like to think that someday it could happen. I would like to think that someday enough people will see that the only way true change in our system is going to happen, is if people who hate government and the governmental system stand up by the thousands and run for elected positions across this country. Because those politicians, whom we all keep voting for over and over again, love politics, love government and love the way it is − which means none of those candidates or elected officials will ever really be change agents. They will never do what it takes to bring true change and real, fundamental fixes to our governmental system, because if they did, they would no longer have everything they love about the very structure that attracted them to politics in the first place. They will never get rid of the very thing they love.

Every time we as a nation have seen fundamental change, it was because enough people were so outraged and disgusted with the status quo that they were moved to change it. That is when fundamental change comes. So I challenge you: instead of running away from the thing that disgusts you and that you hate, run toward it. In the same way that Martin Luther King, Jr. and hundreds of thousands of people who followed his cause ran to the very thing they hated. Your greatest weapon is one you rarely use, but it is your greatest tool for bringing fundamental change to an entire system of government that suppresses and controls the general population to keep money and power flowing to the top. That weapon is your voice and your actions that say you will not tolerate the status quo anymore. The dirty secret of politics is that nearly all politicians are shallow and don’t really stand for anything but money and power for themselves and their buyers. But if enough of you demand that our politicians get up and fix our system of government, they will do so. They’ll do it because they want to get reelected and will not oppose the general population if it means losing their seats.

Together we can bring change to our government, but if we allow the party system to divide and conquer us then we give up our power. When society is crushing you and making you struggle to just pay the bills, you feel you don’t have the energy to stand against the might of power and greed. But you can choose not to be complacent, not give away your power, and make your stand instead. You can stand for the change we need to fix our system of government. Together we can stand against those politicians that stand for nothing. So let’s stand united in our cause!

Unfortunately, I have some doubts. I’m not sure you will take a stand to fix this system of government. I’m uncertain if you even care enough. I’m also afraid your complacency has grown too strong for you to shake it off. I would like to wake up in a world where the people have recovered from their political amnesia. I would like to think that you care enough to take a stand. But maybe this is my delusion, where I believe in you more than you believe in yourself, that together we have the power to stand and start working to fix our government and our society. If you believe you have the power to stand and fix it, you’re right. And if you believe you don’t have the power to change it, you’re also right. The choice is yours. If you choose to make a stand you will not stand alone, but know that everyone’s waiting for someone else to stand up first. So let’s quit waiting and stand together, feeling our united strength and moving forward to fix our broken government. © by Josiah James Ingalls 2023

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