The One Thing

“Okay, I am motivated,” says one. “I’m ready to take charge of my own power. What do I do next?”

The first thing to realize is this. There are many positive changes that need to be made, but we cannot do them all at once. The big mistake many dreamers make is they bite off more than they can chew. You can easily snap one thread in two, but if you try to do the same with a hundred of them at once, you are attempting the impossible and will only wind up frustrated.

Even so, if we make a long list of needed changes expecting immediate results and work at selling them to the public, Congress and the media, nothing will happen. Instead, we need to present the big picture as done in the 95 Theses, but hone in our attention to a small area of needed change at a time and move forward. Then, after that is accomplished, we can tackle another.

An example of someone correctly doing this was Proposition 13 promoted by two individuals from California named Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann. I’m sure they were disgruntled with many things that were wrong with the system, but, instead of complaining about everything, they tackled one thing and called the public’s attention toward it.

And what was that?

It was the outrageously high property taxes. They struck the right chord, for they soon found out the majority of people thought the same way they did.

In 1978, these two sponsored the famous Proposition 13 that lowered California property taxes an average of 57% down to 1% of its value.

These two were not distracted from their goal as they followed Curly’s (Jack Palance) philosophy from the movie City Slickers. To refresh your memory, here was the dialog:

Curly: You know what the secret of life is?

Mitch (Played by Billy Crystal): No, what?

Curly: This (he raises one finger)

Mitch: Your finger?

Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean #$%@&*

Mitch: That’s great, but what’s the one thing?

Curly: That’s what you’ve got to figure out.

For these two citizens, not elected to any office, at this point in time the one thing was Proposition 13. Their only mistake was they did not follow it up with a second “one thing,” such as a reduction in spending.

They properly focused their attention on the one thing, and, instead of writing a 1000-page piece of legislation, the essence of the proposition was reduced to one paragraph, which read:

“(a) The maximum amount of any ad valorem tax on real property shall not exceed one percent (1%) of the full cash value of such property. The one percent (1%) tax is to be collected by the counties and apportioned according to law to the districts within the counties.”3

Jarvis and Gann not only focused on the “one thing,” but made it easy for the common people to also focus by distilling the whole concept to one paragraph.

In recent times, the approval rating of Congress has been dismally low. A Reuters/Zogby poll released on October 17, 2007 had them at 11%; the Gallup poll in July, 2008 had them at 14%; and October, 2009 saw them at 21%.4 They make George Bush at his worst look like Mr. Popularity.

Congress has not been representing us, and people are frustrated with the legislation they pass, for they scatter their energies and rush through bills reaching over a thousand pages that no one reads or understands.

Because two citizens did it right, their Proposition 13 passed with a strong majority of 65%.

They set the example of what can be done if “We, the People” take back the power given to us under our Constitution.

What lies before us now is the choosing of that “one thing” upon which we can focus and bring to fruition. Once that is accomplished, then we can pick another one thing and then another. Like climbing a ladder, we must take one step at a time until we reach the final goal.

So what is that all-important first step we, the people, need to take?

I would say it is this:

The Congress, the President and the judiciary are in place for one purpose and it is to represent and carry out the will of the people. We are called a representative republic, but we are not represented. Instead, our elected and appointed officials follow their own little wills, often ignoring what the majority thinks. They think they know what is good for us, better than we do. This thinking infuriates many in all political parties, causing a point of tension in the public consciousness. Many sense that something has to change, and it must start with a powerful reminder to our government that they work for us.

A long-term solution to gaining true representation is presented in my treatise covering Molecular Politics. Creating this is a desirable goal, but it will take considerable time and effort to materialize. In the meantime, we need to pick something easy to understand and attainable. After decades of the people suffering setbacks in being represented, even one positive step forward would be considered a big win and reinforce people’s confidence in their own power.

According to a Pew Research survey in April 2010 an unbelievable 77% of the people are either angry or frustrated with government 25% have a favorable view of Congress. Then another survey in March revealed that only 22% of the people trust the government most of the time.

The main reason for this is that government has been increasingly governing contrary to the will of the people.  A prime example of this was the 2700 page boondoggle of a Health Care bill that passed in March 2010 with no bipartisan support.

While it is true that the majority do want health care reform polling shows that they did not want such a monstrosity as this that few have had time to read and no one claims to understand. A CBS poll released April 2, 2010 revealed that a paltry 32% supported the bill that was shoved through Congress.

This was the biggest thorn in the side of the public but there have been quite a few other actions in recent times that that have gone against the will of the people such as:

• Cap and trade legislation. A Rasmussen poll revealed in May of 2009 that only 24% of the population even knew what this was.

Zogby, who seemed to be aware of this ignorance explained it to them in his poll in April 2009 which read:

“President Obama wants to impose cap-and-trade laws that would limit the total carbon dioxide emissions allowed to be released into the environment. These laws would turn carbon dioxide into a commodity allowing those that pollute less to sell credits to those that pollute more. These credits would be traded on commodities markets. According to congressional testimony given by the Director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, ‘decreasing emissions would also impose costs on the economy – much of those costs will be passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices for energy and energy intensive goods.’ Some have estimated these costs to be $800 to $1300 more per household by 2015. Knowing this, do you support or oppose cap-and-trade laws?

The answer:
Support 30%

Oppose 57%

Not sure 13%

Obviously, this bill doesn’t have either majority support or understanding.

• Funneling money to senators so they would vote for the health care bill.

• Bailouts to big business and the banks.

• Spending almost a trillion dollars on a stimulus to create jobs when much of it went to political favors and little of it to create jobs. Some estimate that each job created cost $1.5 million.

• Cancelling the return to the moon.

• Cancelling many other aspects of the space program to the point that even the very reserved Neil Armstrong spoke out.

• Scaling down the crucial missile defense system just as the technology is becoming available to make it feasible.

Let me point out that governing contrary to the will of the people did not begin with the Obama Administration but has been a problem in both conservative and liberal administrations from the beginning of the union. The main difference now is a point of tension has been reached that has been generations in the making.

We have finally arrived at a time in our history where the people are motivated enough to demand a true representative government.

The one main thing that the people need to demand is this:

The actions and voting of the President and our representatives in government must represent the will of the majority, or at the very least come close to the 50% mark.  The 32% approval a in the case of the health care bill is just too distant from majority will. If any action or vote is a distance from the majority will then “We the People” will do the following:

(1) Do everything in our power to cause the defeat of those who vote contrary to majority will.

(2) Do everything we can to legally replace, overturn or frustrate bad legislation.

We admonish all citizens to obey the law, even bad ones, but to use all means at our disposal to change them if they are not represented.

At the time of this writing there is a movement afoot to repeal the health care bill ad to replace it with something supported by majority will.  We the people need t support the repeal of this and any other bill that does not have majority support.

Our representatives need to learn as lesson which is this:

You do not represent your own will, the will of large corporations, the will of lobbyists, or the support of party leaders. No!!! You are supposed to represent the will of the people, the ones who voted you in power.  This is a lesson you must learn.

Next: The Back Burner