Today is Democracy Day, mandated by a people’s resolution to Toledo City Council, spearheaded by Toledo Move To Amend, declaring that corporations are not people and money is not free speech. Today’s forum in Toledo City Council chambers, albeit with only a small fraction of City Council members, gave voice to a sampling of Toledo’s own citizens. Here is the satirical testimony that I delivered for my five sacred minutes:
Five Minutes of Democracy
Greetings rulers and subjects, the subject today is democracy. My name is Dan Rutt. Though, I am considering selling my naming rights to either Jeep or ProMedica, because seriously, who is Dan Rutt?! And, unfortunately, a shadowy group of local lobbyists secured the rights to “Krogering.” So expect plenty more “Krogering”…but not from me.
Of course, plenty of naming rights are still in play. In deference to those from that progressive demographic who love hyphenated names I might prefer selling my naming rights to Davis-Besse. Plus, I could get a bonus for catering to the regional governance and nuclear family demographics. But alas, Davis-Besse may very well be decommissioned. Apparently, that whole “too cheap to meter” thing turned out to be a lie, after all these decades. And in this era of tight budgets, there is only enough political capital to afford one last billion dollar bailout to bury this mistake. But sleep tight fellow citizens and helpless ratepayers! Rest assured that there will be a special glow for you and a thousand generations from the heart of this beloved nuclear reactor…But I digress…keep your eye on…well…pretty much anything else.
Welcome to Democracy Day — presided over by the finest government money can buy. Of course, our fine government might be different than those “other” governments. Today, I am asking that we keep an open mind that our government might not actually be the best that money can buy.
So, what does democracy look like? I have a long view of democracy, that looks something like making decisions based on how it affects people seven generations from now, that noble concept brought to us by fine native peoples who we so conveniently committed genocide against to occupy this land. But I have been charged to ask “What does five minutes of democracy look like?” This brief view is something more of a commercial. So, if any of you need to go to the bathroom or need a snack, now would be a good time for that.
Besides dreaming of bigger cages and longer chains, I have three proposals:
Proposal 1: I am asking City Council to commission a study to determine how much money it would take to get money out of politics.
Might I suggest a consultant that is not too cheap, so as to appear unworthy of listening to, or a consultant that is too pricey, so as to appear extravagant.
What do we want? Another study. When do we want it? When we can afford it.
Frankly, I am much more interested in the stuff we can’t afford not to do.
My second proposal is to establish a democracy museum, to preserve whatever vestiges of democracy that remain. This could be a public-private partnership that would reflect the share of democracy that is controlled by the public and private sectors, say 10% public and 90% private. To honor the vital 10% of democracy that is publicly controlled, we could have that reflected in the naming rights, which, of course, are necessary to fund such ventures. For instance, we would not have the 5/3 Democracy Museum, but rather the 4.5/3 Democracy Museum to preserve that sacred public trust.
This democracy museum could offer many opportunities to safeguard our notion of democracy. For instance, we could preserve uncounted provisional ballots, for the posterity that they are worth. We could display the many rubber stamps used to approve the corporatist agenda.
Being the Glass City, I’d suggest another glass museum. But, while we may be able to afford to do the same thing over and over again, I suspect that “democracy” might not be able to afford the transparency of a glass museum. Either way, we should have lots of windows to accommodate all of those beloved window dressings of which our politicians are so fond.
Well, you get the picture…well, OK, in museums you can’t get the actual picture. But…I trust that there will be a reasonable facsimile available for sale in the gift shop. And remember, there are only 365 shopping days until next democracy day. But be patient, very patient in this sick political system.
Oh victims of oligarchy, be patient, I have come to save the day!
Oh victims of corporatocracy, be patient, I have come to save the day!
Oh victims of plutocracy, be patient, I have come to save the day!
Oh victims of kleptocracy, be patient I have come to save the day!
I have come to save the day, I have come to save the day!
Buy saving this day, democracy day, each year for 365 years, we will have saved up enough democracy for a democracy year. So, based on these patient patients of a sick political system, I offer my third proposal. I ask City Council, to declare the year 2382, 365 years from now, as democracy year. Surely, such completely incredible long-term vision will not go unrewarded!
But alas, if there are any spare seconds from my five minutes of democracy, I could ask for a moment of silence, remembering that we have the right to be silent. But, while we have the right to remain silent, I wouldn’t recommend it. So, in that mean time, while we wait for our rulers to rule well, let us never forget: We are what democracy looks like — an assembly of real people, not corporate “persons”. Power to the people. Power to real people. THANK YOU!