~a column by Colleen O’Brien

Calling themselves “angelic troublemakers,” the not-for-profit group Indivisible works to teach voters how decision are made in our government, the government that ignores our views in favor of donors. They believe that the government needs fixing, as do the politicians, and that we, the people, can do it.

In their published information, the Indivisibles write, “We are committed to creating a more just society, building local power and addressing systemic injustice and racism.” Indivisible writes that its members believe in tolerance and fairness from all elected officials in all the various governments and from us back to those people we elect.

This sounded realistic, calm and worthwhile to me, so I attended a meeting of about 40 Indivisibles who this particular week wanted to talk about The American Anti-Corruption Act.

The AACA was written in 2011 to get rid of the gray and dark money in elections, its author the former Federal Election Commission chairman Trevor Potter. In writing the act, Potter asked for help from political strategists, democracy reform leaders and constitutional attorneys from the Right and the Left.

The AACA is designed to limit or outlaw practices known to be major contributors to political corruption. The act was written to fix our wealth-powered political system by introducing new rules to the electoral process and restoring us – we, the people – as the most important part of our political system and therefore of our government.

Its three main goals are to stop bribery in campaigns and within all government from township to Congress so special interests can’t use job offers and donations to influence politicians; end secret money, period; and give every voter a voice by creating citizen-funded elections.

The authors of this act state that its goals are based on existing laws that have withstood court challenges, and are therefore constitutional.

As well as helping people work up a grassroots referendum to get the American Anti-Corruption Act going in their state, the Indivisibles organize marches for and against issues and politicians, and teach voters how to make phone calls to elected officials to tell them they know what’s up for vote this week and encourage them to vote for the good of the people.

This is their antidote to well-paid lobbyists doing the same for the good of a corporation or a sector of capitalism like the oil industry in general, rather than in the interests of the population as a whole. The Indivisibles also hold educational meetings to keep people informed.

They are good at demystifying the ways of Congress, both within and outside of legality, their main precept being that the people of our nation must unite (thus the name, Indivisible) in order to address our common challenges and become a better, more just and prosperous country.

They want folks from both red and blue states to think about and work on common goals because they believe in democratic government and want us to imagine and then work for a government that works for all. They want to inspire people to push for innovation, prosperity, health and community wellbeing. They believe in government research and aid that sparks innovations that support the development of successful business ventures, which in turn create jobs.

They are concerned about authoritarianism and intolerance. They work on human rights, voting equality and the security and reputation of the country.

The Indivisibles want to see representatives responding to their constituents instead of pandering to party politics. They want us to encourage these reps to make decisions based on what is right and true, instead of allowing authoritarian and dangerous falsities to dominate the message of what America stands for. Indivisibles want politicians to stop using talking points and start talking to the American people, and the world, with respect.

They believe that our government IS us – not something being done TO us.

I like that.

It might be true except in South Dakota.

The Indivisibles helped to get the American Anti-Corruption Act passed in South Dakota via a grassroots voter referendum last year. The voters worked a long time to get the signatures for the historic initiative to be placed on the ballot; they had to do this because they couldn’t get their legislature to pass bills that worked for the people rather than the lobbyists.

Three months later the South Dakota legislature repealed the bill passed by their voters. The outraged voters crowded the Senate room in the Statehouse in Pierre and flocked to townhall meetings around the state, where in one instance, a representative told a constituent to go live in Hawaii if he didn’t like the laws in North Dakota. The state motto of North Dakota is “Under God, the People Rule.”

So much for the people ruling anything in South Dakota. Their lawmakers were gutsy to repeal this act, not to mention stupid. It will come back to bite them. The people were stirred up before they were outright defied. Look forward to the hornet’s nest in the state that ranks 47th in integrity.

And if you’re questioning or interested in Indivisible, ask Ms Google; she knows all about it —

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