To a packed room of 120 or more, at the Stillwater Library this evening Hedrick Smith, renowned journalist and Pulitzer-Prize Winning author reminded us not just what isn’t working in our democracy but that we, the people are the ones that must fix it. We must get the dark money out of politics. We must reform or eliminate the electoral college. We must stop gerrymandering. We must push for automatic voter registration. If we want to save our democracy and truly make it work for us, reform is the doorway we must pass through first.
But as overwhelming as all of these initiatives may seem for ordinary citizens to take on, grassroots efforts around the country are already happening. Smith showed a segment of his documentary, Winning Back Our Democracy, which can be found on his website Reclaim the American Dream. The examples are of places around the United States, like Washington State, and Connecticut where citizens made real change that benefits ordinary people over corporations.
The problem, claims Smith, is that grassroots efforts grow like grass and it doesn’t seem like much is happening when really it is. It is hard to notice when the media focuses on the drama in Washington and not on what is happening around the country. Meanwhile, several states have legislated to give all the electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote in Presidential elections. If a few more states do this, the electoral college will be obsolete. Five states have adopted gerrymandering reform. Smith cited several other examples, the point being that slowly the power of the people is growing, perhaps unnoticed but nevertheless pushing upward to reclaim our democracy.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the presentation was when Smith asked for questions and the engagement and seriousness of the audience proved his point that now is the time and we the people, all of us, need to energize and create a reformed democracy that works for every American. We, the people can do this!
Here is my plan going forward:
- Go to Smith’s Website to get info on various reform initiatives.
- Find out how I can engage in pushing for these initiatives such as joining American Promise (one of the sponsors of Hedrick Smith’s visit) group and spreading the word.
- Refrain from watching drama media and instead seek out what is happening with we the people.