By Steve Bhaerman
“We need a new precedent – government of, by, and for the people where the government does OUR bidding, not the bidding of the highest bidder.”
– Swami Beyondananda
As a lifelong dog-lover, I’ve become a big fan of Cesar Millan’s TV show, The Dog Whisperer. Millan, whose slogan is, “I rehabilitate dogs, I train people,” believes that in a healthy human / domesticated canine relationship, the human (i.e., the “master”) is the leader of the pack.
Customarily, Millan is called in when a dog owner is at wit’s end with a “problem dog.” Whether the dog is overly-aggressive or overly-timid, Millan’s approach is not just to work with the dog, but to turn the dog’s human into a “calm-assertive pack leader.”
There is something about simultaneously projecting peaceful calm and firm assertiveness that puts the dog in the proper frame of heart and mind to become a healthy, happy, loyal, and reliable helper and companion.
After watching Cesar Millan in action for a month or so, it hit me.
What America needs is a “government whisperer.”
As I look at our toxically dysfunctional system of governance, I see a wild, out-of-control, confused beast who acts as if IT is the master – contrary to the wishes of the Founders of the United States, who saw “we the people” as the master, and the government as servant.
We can look at our government with disgust and shout, “Bad dog!” all we like, but the truth is if “we” are the master, we must learn to be masterful. If our government is willful and disobedient, if it’s a watchdog that simply “watches” while the doggone commonwealth is stolen, if it bares its teeth when we get too close, maybe it’s time we calmly reasserted leadership of the pack.
And no, “putting the government to sleep” (or drowning it in a bathtub as Grover Norquist suggests) isn’t the answer. The Founders of the United States – including the most liberty-loving among them – offered a distinct purpose and function of government, as expressed in the Preamble to the Constitution: “ … to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity …”
That sounds like a worthy mission statement for a functional nation of people, and it requires that the government doggedly guard freedom and justice, protect the commonwealth (and not just the uncommonly wealthy), bark loudly when necessary, and bite the burglar and not the postman.
For this ideal to become the real deal, two things are required. First, we individually and collectively must take responsibility for having the exact government we “deserve,” based on our involvement or non-involvement. The hopium has worn off, folks. We are the leaders we’ve been waiting for. Time to wake up, wise up, grow up, and show up
Second, we must understand, appreciate, and cultivate the entity called “We, the People.”
Who Is “We the People?”
No, that’s not a grammatical error. What our Founders meant by “we the people” is singular, not plural. It relates to the United States’ official motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” out of many, one. The context “we, the people” is where every individual holds equal value, each a “sovereign soul-proprietor” and essential “cell” in the body politic. When this aggregate of individuals is able to resoundingly “speak as one,” then we the people will be able to reassert our mastery, and transform bad dog into good dog.
How does this happen? I’m glad I asked that question.
In Spontaneous Evolution, Bruce Lipton and I devote an entire chapter, “Healing the Body Politic,” to why and how groups of ordinary individuals are quite often wiser than any group of experts. We cite the work of Tom Atlee, the wisdom councils sparked by Jim Rough’s work, and Richard Flyer’s “epi-political” (far above and beyond partisan distinctions) activities through the Conscious Community Network and Connecting the Good in Reno, Nevada.
Thanks to technology, the internet, and tele-conferencing, we can bring together large groups of individuals to discuss not just policy, but the fundamental issue of governance: Who’s in charge of who’s in charge?
We have the wherewithal, and now what is required is the “aware-with-all.” If we want a loyal and trustworthy government, not merely one who will “fetch” for whoever holds the biggest stick, then we must “become” We, the People by calling forth the virtues and values that the 90% of us who are not sociopaths hold dear.
Instead of falling for the divide-and-conquer tactics that have conservative libertarians blaming government, and liberal progressives blaming corporations … it’s time to look at the entire “elephant and donkey” in the living room – the corporate state, embodied by two corporately-owned political parties. In combination, they are capable of far more damage than either could do on it’s own!
So, progressives and conservatives … here is an important point.
Government isn’t “bad.” Corporations aren’t “bad.” Like the dogs the Dog Whisperer is called upon to rehabilitate, these institutions must be “habilitated” (i.e., made fit) to suit a new standard. They must be trained, and there is no one to train them but “us” – we, the people.
The only way to establish – let alone enforce – this standard is for a critical mass of the heretofore-uncritical masses to gather outside the current political matrix beyond the left-right divide, and begin a conversation about what a loyal, obedient, and functional governance might look like. There will be much we don’t agree on. However, I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of Americans want a government that is honest, transparent, and just. They want the power of human persons to outweigh the power of corporate persons, and the power of money to be checked and balanced. They are tired of the toxic divisiveness, and are ready to be functional and work together.
So … how do we put the bell on the cat (or, to keep with the metaphor, the leash on the dog)?
My friend and colleague Joseph McCormick and I put together an e-book two years ago, called Reuniting America: A Toolkit For Changing the Political Game. In it, Joseph describes his unique and remarkable journey from partisan “divider” to transpartisan uniter, and offers up the “Transpartisan Toolkit” as a context for respectful and fruitful engagement across political divides.
Although Joseph is currently on hiatus from his political activities, he has generously offered the e-book as a free download at this time because he believes this toolkit is a helpful “training manual” for we the people to effective train our government to serve US – rather than serving us up to the highest bidder. You will appreciate Joseph’s personal story, and you will be inspired by the “What We All Agree On” statement issued by a politically-diverse transpartisan group that met for several months in Seattle. And if you are inspired to engage, the toolkit will give you the ways and means.
One final word.
Every day, I get messages from this cause or that cause – ‘cause there is injustice and imbalance. Every one of these issues – every one – boils down to one issue: Who’s in charge of who’s in charge? If the right wants justice and the left wants justice, we must identify the core of justice at the radical center, based on sacred values that transcend the mere power of money or muscle.
It’s up to us now, because the corporate state cannot reform itself.
Let’s get governance out of the doghouse, and calmly assert ourselves as leader of the pack – because the default system of “leadership of the PACs” is no longer workable.
Interested in the Reuniting America e-book? You can download it for free right here.
Want to find out more about Spontaneous Evolution? Please go here.
Steve Bhaerman is a writer and humorist based in Santa Rosa, California. For the past quarter century he has written and performed comedy as Swami Beyondananda. His blog, Notes From the Trail, appears regularly on the Huffington Post and numerous other online and print journals.