Our House of Representatives is supposed to be America’s governing body that most closely represents the interests of regional constituencies. Lobbyists, campaign contributions, and party politics often override constituent concerns. House elections are held every two years with mid-term elections historically having fewer voters showing less party loyalty. This next election cycle offers an opportunity for us to try something different. Concerned citizens could set up secure websites in each Congressional District where voters can discuss issues and hold votes. We could elect articulate apolitical public servants that agree to do what a 2/3 majority of suitable quorums decide. The supermajority requirement ensures thoughtful deliberation that empowers individuals. We should pick new public servants every election to limit the corrupting influence of power. Details could be worked out as enough people start thinking about the Public Servant Party concept that could also be applied in local elections. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to peacefully practice self-governance within Constitutional guidelines using modern technology. We the People can bring civility and common-sense back to American politics while setting an example for freedom-loving people across the globe.
We all have unique experiences that form our view of others. I was born in a segregated hospital. My earliest memory of colored people was as a scared fifth grader going to public school for the first time. Some colored kids were nice to me when nobody else was. A tragic experience several years later hardened my heart. Even then, I tried being polite to everyone regardless of race. Time healed that wound and softened my heart. I realized the wisdom in Dr. King’s words about seeing individuals rather than groups. I learned that ignorance breeds anger just as gentleness is born of wisdom.
It’s easy to lump groups of people together based on race, religion, or political affiliation. We all interact with people who are in a group we may not understand or even like. Individuals will almost always be respectful of each other without focusing on petty differences. A group mentality allows us to label other groups and justify treating them disrespectfully. Most conflict can be avoided by simply seeing others as individuals and treating them with the same respect we expect. Kindness and bitterness are equally infectious. Spreading kindness and showing respect are easy ways to be the change we want to see in our shared world.
The tree holding a tattered flag in this picture seems symbolic of the political divisions in America today. It started strong long ago as one solid base before splitting with the left and right sides growing further apart over time. This widening divide will eventually cause that tree to break apart and die prematurely. The tree could live a full life if there were something tying the two sides together. The more ties there were, the stronger the tree would be. Enough ties could even make the entire tree stronger than if the two sides had grown as one all along.
Middle America needs to find some ties that bind us together before the far left and right political extremist tear our Nation apart. A natural desire to be free is the universal tie that binds all of humanity. We need to have a serious discussion about what justifies imprisoning a person and taking their freedom. We need to find ways of securing economic freedom for everyone without infringing on the rights of anyone. We need to preserve and promote the individual liberties that collectively make us free people.
Focusing on freedom of the individual can create countless ties that bind us together. We can come through this time of turmoil stronger than ever if enough reasonable people are willing to think about what unites us more than what divides us. Waiting for politicians to solve our problems will only cause the left and right divide to grow wider. Now is the time for concerned citizens to put aside petty differences and work together toward a common goal of remaining free. Will you do your part to help bind us together so America’s symbolic freedom tree can continue to flourish and spread little liberty seeds across the globe?
This year has shown us that things can quickly change. It is important that we see these changes clearly and think about how to make the best of our new reality. The covid relief package politicians came up with to help us is a perfect example of why we should not trust them to think for us. The bill contains thousands of pages of pork that resulted in a measly $600 payment costing us around $30,000 per person. America is bankrupt with over $20,000,000,000,000 in debt. Our public resources are collateral for that debt to foreign nations. Now is the time to start thinking about how we can use our public resources to secure financial and political freedom for future generations.
The internet gives us an opportunity to make doing the People’s Business, the people’s business. We can elect true public servants that do what we say. We can think for ourselves and practice self-governance. Local control is key. Independent thinkers could easily elect our own public servants to represent us at local levels. Our public servants would do what a 2/3 majority of us agree on. Failure to reach supermajority agreement on an issue would result in no action being taken. Our local representatives could influence the way state and national politicians do things.
Think about the potential revenue we could create by managing public resources in ways that benefit everyone and the environment. We could earn a steady paycheck for paying attention to doing the people’s business. Look at our public roadways with the potential for collecting wind and solar energy from them. We could benefit from this new energy industry rather than subsidizing global corporations to do it for us. We could blend the best of free-market and common-good principals to promote freedom and prosperity for everyone.
Someday at Christmas
Listened to Christmas music on the radio while driving home after spending a wonderful Christmas Day with family. The last song before parking was Someday at Christmas by Stevie Wonder. Hearing his velvet voice deliver such an inspiring song was a perfect way to wrap up a perfect day full of love and laughter. There was one more Christmas gift waiting in the bushes. A beautiful catbird patiently waited for me to grab the camera and posed for some pictures.
With all the turmoil going on in the world today, it is important to focus on the positive while doing our part to make the world a better place. Take time to enjoy the little blessings life offers every day. Open your heart to freely give and receive love. Laugh and sing joyfully. Show unconditional kindness to everyone. If we all do our part, maybe someday at Christmas there will be no more fear or shed tear. Maybe someday at Christmas you and me will see that all men are free. Maybe there will be no more war someday when we learn what Christmas is for.
The 2020 Christmas season seems like a good time to write about how Jesus influences my freedom philosophy. Celebrating the birth of Jesus reminds us of the gifts He freely gave during His life on earth. His parables promoted individual liberty and personal responsibility. Jesus taught us to help others and show kindness of our own free will. He never said we should demand politicians force us to help the downtrodden. Jesus forgave a prostitute and stopped religious leaders when they wanted to stone her. He didn’t say they should ask Caesar to punish her for them. He simply explained how we all fall short and should not rush to condemn or punish others for their perceived shortcomings. The teachings of Jesus are summed up in His Golden Rule. We could have peace on earth if everyone treated everyone else the way we all want to be treated.
A freedom philosophy inspired by Jesus suggest we don’t punish people for moral mistakes or coerce kindness. Criminal laws should boil down to doing no physical or financial harm to others. Violent offenders should be isolated from civilized society rather than being punished by a corporate prison system that profits off their misery. Financial freedom for everyone should come through wise use of our public resources. Using government powers to take and give away money breeds contempt and corruption.
This time of uncertainty across the globe should be used to think about how we want to move forward. Will we firmly embrace critical thinking, self-governance, and individual liberty or passively accept political dictates, global governance, and collective servitude? Let’s choose the path that peacefully secures freedom and prosperity for all of humanity throughout the ages.
Middle America Majority
The previous post about independent voters could be interpreted more broadly than intended. There are many registered republicans and democrats who vote for their party candidates while wishing there were another choice. It seems like there is about 20% of Americans on the left and right who wholeheartedly support their party platform. That 10% of each side usually produces those who pursue political ambitions. We are stuck voting for the side we think will do the least harm to freedoms we cherish.
Middle America needs to start getting involved before politicians take us too far left or right. It is important to understand reality while working toward something better. The reality is that covid and other forces are going to change America’s economic and social situations. Now is the time for reasonable people to think about how changes can be done in ways that benefit everyone without limiting liberty. Politicians will listen IF enough of us stand united in support of something positive.
Public resources are key to promoting prosperity for everyone by blending the best of free-market and common-good concepts. The path politicians on both sides are pushing toward leads to corporate control of our public resources. Think of the potential wealth our public resources can produce. Think about how new uses of our public resources could create revenue for everyone or a few corporate investors. Do you trust corporations and politicians to use our public resources responsibly or share the exploited wealth we once owned?
An Independent Voter’s Voice
The far left and right seem to dominate politics while most Americans are somewhere in the middle. That middle ground is where logic, reason, and common-sense flourish as fear, loathing, and blind allegiance consume the fringes. Most independent voters understand both extremes threaten our freedom and way of life.
It is time that independent thinkers and voters realize we are the majority and start working together. We can stop the political pendulum from swinging wider with each election. We can offer solutions that benefit everyone. We can find common ground on environmental and social issues that most reasonable people will support. We can promote economic policies that embrace the best of free-market and common-good ideals. We can pass on the blessings of freedom to future generations IF enough of us are willing to get involved before it is too late.
Independent voters often stay out of political discussions because it has become such a toxic subject. Those of us in the middle need to start communicating and coordinating before our Country is torn apart, leaving us without freedom or security. Our voice of reason is key to preserving peace and prosperity. Now is the time to decide if you would rather be ruled by political extremists and their corporate cohorts or think for yourself and promote self-governance. Is your individual liberty and our collective freedom worth keeping? Do you see them slipping away? Are you willing to help peacefully defend them by working together with other independent thinkers and voters?
Self-governance with official oversight is one of the things I have advocated for in fishery management. Fishermen have representatives on fishery management panels that are currently appointed by politicians. Licensed fishermen should have the right to vote for who represents us. Our representatives should be mouth pieces that do what we want them to. The internet allows us to communicate and coordinate in ways that were not possible until recently. We could review proposed actions online and vote on the positions our public servants will take in meetings. Our votes should be binding when a 2/3 majority of a suitable quorum of license holders agree on something. Failure to achieve a quorum or supermajority support should trigger a default neutral position.
This public servant concept could be applied in state and local governments. We could pick an articulate, apolitical person to speak on behalf of citizen legislators. We could empower people to govern ourselves rather than relying on politicians to rule us. We could set an example for self-governance that shows others across the globe how they can have more control over their own lives and destiny. Freedom requires more personal responsibility than political servitude. Citizen legislators would have a personal interest in preserving the individual liberties that collectively make us free people.
Politics has become so toxic that it is tearing families and our nation apart. It is time we started thinking about ways to move beyond the two party system that often leaves us with only the most extreme voices "representing" us. Our voice can be heard IF enough of us are willing to coordinate our efforts. We can be the voice of reason that is missing in politics today. Would you rather have more control of your life or trust politicians to take care of you?
Recent events have made me think it is time to start writing about my philosophy on freedom before it is too late. I was planning to write a book later in life about how experiences as a fisherman and fisheries advocate shaped my freedom philosophy. This blog will be the first step in writing that book.
I am incredibly blessed to be an independent commercial fisherman. This career offers freedom like few others can. There are trips I never see another boat in a vast ocean of solitude. We rely on our knowledge and hard work to earn a paycheck harvesting nature's bounty. There is no guarantee we will be successful or even return home. The loss of a fellow fisherman due to mismanagement of our snapper/grouper fishery caused me to get involved as a fisheries advocate. He fell off a boat in rough seas during a dangerous derby fishery and was never seen again. We had been fishing within a few miles of him before heading home.
Dealing with politicians while advocating for responsible fishery management was an eye-opener. I quickly learned that money influenced politicians far more than previously thought. On the other hand, I also learned the ONLY thing that trumps money in politics is enough people peacefully supporting or opposing an issue. The bigger the issue, the more people it takes. Getting fishermen to stand together on an issue is usually like herding cats. We won the battles when most of us did stand united. Recreational and commercial fishermen worked together to stop an attempt at unnecessarily closing large portions of America's southeast seafloor. We stopped the Unconstitutional push to make us install Orwellian Vessel Monitoring Systems on our private property. We stopped a Catch Share scheme that would have privatized more of America's public resources and let global corporations own them.
We are blessed with freedom few have ever known throughout human history. We have the power and responsibility to preserve our individual liberties that collectively make us free people. All we have to do is think and stand united on key issues.