We The People Newsletter, May 1999
Dear Members and Interested Friends:
As Margaret Mead once so aptly stated: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world."
"CAMPAIGN FOR OUR COUNTRY" - We The People took our "Campaign for Our Country" on the road in the We The People RV/Bus from February 15 - April 15, 1999. The results: six articles published and lots of new supporters. From Maryland to Florida, we covered the southeastern United States and met with enthusiastic people ready to take back their country! We met with six Secretary of States' offices, and finished strong in Washington, DC where CBS radio broadcast a ten minute interview with WTP's Co-founders and broadcast it on over 100 stations nationwide the weekend of April 18-19, 1999.
On an exciting front - - WTP has completed the first step in its efforts on CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM and the "Our Country" Citizen's Action. We completed the on-site Citizen's Action April 7-14, 1999 in Washington, DC- during the Cherry Blossom Festival time. We personally leafleted all 435 Congressmen and Congresswomen, the 100 Senators, as well as the Supreme Court and the White House with the palm cards (copy attached- feel free to copy it and to pass it out). The Citizen's Action was very successful - especially due to the efforts of members: Helen Chase (of Shokan, NY), Ed Zellefrow (of both Erie, PA and Kingston,NY); Jody Gove (of Sedona,Arizona); Bob Mustard (of Duxbury and Chatham, Massachusetts); the Fleming Family (Laura, Chris, and Elizabeth of Ridgefield, Connecticut); and Jessica Long (13 year old from Glen Burnie, Maryland). Approximately 40 citizens attended the event including the Secretary of State of West Virginia, the President of United Democracies, and representatives from Common Cause, The League of Women voters, and The Public Interest Research Group. The event received media coverage from CBS radio, The AP Daybook, The Washington Times as well as an interview with The National Journal. THANK YOU EACH ONE OF YOU FOR YOUR COMMITTED AND HARD EFFORTS AT THIS INITIATIVE - YOU WERE MUCH APPRECIATED! We all practiced: Leadership by Example - Campaign Finance Reform & Change Start with action, Not Just Words!
Consider carefully the words of Sherret S. Chase (WTP member and Cici's father) who reminds us all: "We cannot afford private interests bribing our public servants anymore!"
Cici and Jeffrey want you all to consider and remember:
1) It's your country, it's our Country and We Want it Back!
2) The country belongs to all of us, the rich, the poor, the educated, the poorly educated.
3) The country belongs to all of us, not just the special interests, the moneyed interests, the political insiders. The ownership includes all of them, but it does not exclude all of us!
4) The country belongs to We The People - that means all the people!
The Platform is percolating from the people, from the bottom up, not dictated by one person or one group from the top down. To percolate means to be active, to be changing, to be fresh, and to be alive. To dictate is to be staid, inmobile, with ownership limited and restrictive. Which would you rather have? Percolating is a new approach - new ideas. Dictate is an old approach - old ideas. A fresh approach for a fresh century!
And, Jeffrey wants us to remember: paraphrasing Kevin Phillips author of Arrogant Capital: There are two kinds of arrogant capital: one in Washington and the other in Wall Street. "Greed has spread like measles in kindergarten." We need to remember that the previous 90's were times of action: "the 1790's, the 1890's, were also decades in which popular democracy rallied against special interests and changed history…In the matter of reversing America's slow decline, both parties have been so prominent a part of the problem that it is difficult to picture them as part of the solution."…"Technologically as well as psychologically, the decade looks ripe for direct democracy. Frustrated voters anxious to bypass corrupt officials and exhausted political parties now have the means. The Electronic Village is about to become the Wired Electorate…. Yet this same phenomenon also creates a unique opportunity to give back to American politics its genius of rule by the people." "…and, as Associate Editor Brian Beedham in The Economist says: "The old Progressive answer of extending direct authority and intervention to the citizens may be the only answer to present-day shortcomings in representative democracy." "…Representative government has become interest-group government…new electronic technology now gives governments an unprecedented wherewithal to empower the ordinary voter directly. We should use it….the United States should propose and ratify an amendment to the Constitution setting up a mechanism for holding nationwide referendums to permit the citizenry to supplant Congress and the president in making certain categories of national decisions….less sweeping than the Swiss system…this system is gaining acceptance globally, not least in the Anglo-Saxon countries …Theodore Roosevelt supported populist empowerment devices in his 1912 Progressive Party platform because 'it is often impossible to establish genuine popular rule and get rid of privilege without the use of new devices to meet new needs'…John Anderson, the 1980 independent presidential candidate…has suggested that he and other third-party contenders would have been helped by the use of the Australian -style alternative-preference system of popular voting (without the electoral college). In this system voters rank the top group of candidates by preference…"…" What form must any potentially successful neo-Jeffersonian revolution assume? Some part of its emphasis must be on a new political movement or party…a second emphasis of any bloodless political revolution must be on ways of displacing the outdated party system with the emerging technology of direct democracy." "…Massive infusions of direct democracy and blistering public discussion are the most plausible flame-throwers of change." WHEW!!!!!
Watch for a Direct Democracy Initiative sponsored by former Senator Mike Gravel and Philadelphia II in our next newsletter!
Patent/Service Mark Registration: Cici and Jeffrey continued to research this for WTP with the help of some lawyers, who feel the Service Mark is the way to go for us. While in Washington in April, we went to the Patent & Trademark Offices (PTO).
National Write-In Campaign: We spoke to each of the Secretary of States in the States we traveled through from NH to Florida on this topic, plus Campaign Reform/ Election Reforms in general and what each state is doing in this area.
Jeffrey continues to research this as a possible way to go for the elections in the year 2000. There would be no need to gather the millions of signatures to get on the ballot nor form a formal national third party, though we are registered now in all 50 states as either a political party, a Pac, or a not-for-profit corporation, whatever format was legal, reserved our name, and did not require undue amounts of money or signatures.
Web Page: We still need someone to handle/manage the "hits" to the site and the data base and the responses to inquiries/requests for information.
HELP Needed: Computer Help/Data Management: We are amassing lots of names, interested people, and are receiving lots of calls and requests for information - it is encouraging, exciting and overwhelming! Especially after our August/September trip and now the February/April trip we have lots of interested people who want to be kept in touch. Currently we are using ACT Database Management Software - Cici needs help -any volunteers?
We also have had use of a Digital Camera! Lew Trusheim of Ridgefield, CT let us borrow his digital camera when he heard we had a web so we could link photos of our trips to the web site. We still have to work out some glitches on getting the journal and photos onto the site - but we now have part of the process - and, it takes fabulous shots! Now that we know it is of so much use, we need someone to donate or give a digital camera or combination digital camera/ camcorder to the WTP project!
Donated Patriotic Music Cassette: And, while we are recognizing donations and help freely offered and given to We The People - Yamira Santielli (Puerto Rican singer) and Otto Miller (radio station owner, and Yamira's husband) were the original creators of the WTP Sound Track Cassettes with patriotic music - new and old, from John Philip Sousa to Michael Jackson - the tape is awesome and we are eternally grateful - it is very useful with the professional sound system Cici gave Jeffrey for Christmas, which we can set up anywhere and reach a crowd inside or out!
Call 1- 877-We The People: WTP now has a toll free 800 number (calls are free to the caller, with all incoming toll free calls paid for by WTP). We were lucky enough to be able to get the number: 1-877-We The People!! The RV/WTP Bus now has the number and the website address on the outside on 3 sides - pass it on to friends, family, co-workers, anyone who might be interested! Get members to sign up on-line!
PR and Media Attention: we are finally beginning to get national attention! CBS radio interviewed WTP April 17th and aired the program on over 100 CBS stations nationwide on Saturday the 18th. And, the National Journal interviewed us. We have definitely proven that third person introductions are the best way to go. It is like doing business in Mexico, if a third person known to both the parties meeting for the first time makes the introduction there is more of a likelihood the meeting will be productive and lead to something - in the case of WTP and the press - it will have a higher likelihood of getting coverage for WTP! So, do you know anyone in the media/the press (TV, Radio, print)? If so, we could use your help and your introduction! Please call us ASAP!
The WTP Story: We have kept journal diaries of all the WTP RV trips - with notes on who was spoken to, where we went, reactions, humorous happenings, and important events --who knows this could be the beginning of a book called "What The People Want." See Web-site for Journal pages and digital photos from trips (soon to be on-line).
WTP Advertising/Handouts/Pencils/Pins: Along with the printed information that WTP hands out, we will be ordering some pen and pins for WTP supporters to use for their WRITE-IN VOTE- it is a catchy idea used previously in a Florida Senate Race. Member, Frances Powers of Arizona and Cold Spring Harbor, LI, NY has indicated an interest in helping with this. Are there any other donors for this project?
Membership and Funding: The membership drive is getting under way - those of you who have not yet joined - NOW IS THE TIME! We need funding, which is a huge project and Jeffrey is working full time on it - the RV will help, usually after the first gift rolls in others follow! Jeffrey continues to have meetings with potential financial supporters- any leads or personal introductions you might have will be most welcome. We are all in this together!
Here is a partial funding/wish list in menu format:
1. Legal Help (pro bono)- Service Mark ; State Organizations; National
2. Database/Website Coordination/Management
3. Media Advisor
5. Membership Director
6. Organization of
Massive Write-in Campaign for President in 2000
7. Local Coordinators
8. Specific PR items (ie. pins/pens/bumper stickers
9. Equipment: Camcorder and Digital Camera or combination of both
It's: Members/ Money/Press/ Involvement and a desire to see positive change - that's what it takes - its pretty simple!
MEMBERSHIP VOTE NEEDED: several members have suggested that WTP should consider a position on the following issues:
1. Catastrophic Health Insurance: the need for catastrophic health insurance for all so that no one will be forced into bankruptcy or poverty, due to unexpected and expensive illness(es).
2. Education Reform: the need for minimum standards (all across the US) which are high enough to put students at an advantage in life versus a disadvantage. (Note: We need to rethink the definition of what a good education is and what form it takes; we need to rethink the industrial revolution "time clock" model.) These reforms might include smaller class sizes (ie. 15:1 versus 30 or 40:1); year around classes (so the student's family has the choice of which quarter, if any, to take off for personal fulfillment, travel or alternative study); vouchers so all students have equal opportunity (not a guarantee of equal outcome); requirement of teachers to take on-going training and classes; set-up of privatized educational system as an alternative to public education and the governmental bureaucracy that it creates.
3. Environmental Choice: Every environmental policy has human as well as financial costs and benefits, and We The People need full information to make informed choices. "Clean water, Clean air, Clean land" are not too much to expect in our country, in fact in our world! "He who pollutes pays" - the polluter should pay the price of full clean-up. A robust economy and a clean, biologically productive environment are not in conflict. On the contrary, they need each other over the long term if they are to continue to survive and prosper. a) anti-pollution standards should be drawn to protect EVERYONE in society as much as possible rather than be based on a safe threshold for healthy young adults. Inclusive instead of exclusive, so to speak. b) The costs of regulation and the risks of the health threats that government is seeking to curb are important tools in setting environmental standards, but they are only tools, not ends in themselves. Many other factors are taken into consideration in reaching a final decision, not the last nor least of which is ethics. c) We The People endorses the application of the "precautionary principle". Hence, when there is enough evidence to warrant concern that serious and/or irreversible environmental harm might occur, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as justification for blocking measures that are beneficial in their own right and would diminish the potential for experiencing such harm. d) Consideration should be given to gradually replacing, or at least offsetting, the federal income tax with a tax on consumption. e) Consumers might actively help curtail pollution by understanding and adopting active support and participation in the ZEV Program (Zero Emission Vehicles) which needs to stay on the books. The manufacturers are starting to withdraw the vehicles from the U.S. market (ie. Honda's electric car) due to slow sales. This is a question of education and information to the consumers and a national policy for the U.S. Federal government to purchase zero emission vehicles (eg. electric) for its huge fleet, thus creating a market and reducing the market cost by higher volume production. The environment can not make up for our lack of responsibility - if we adopt the "he who pollutes pays" policy, perhaps owners of traditional combustion engine vehicles will pay more instead of the owners of electric (or other environmentally sound) vehicles! We need to protect what we have or we will lose it!
4. The Defense Budget, the Military and Reality- contrary to what our elected officials and the military are telling us, we hear from enlisted and recently retired officers that - its all about "pork", procurement, standards (standards which are across the board and not different for each service branch), and watching that defense contractors actually do what they are contacted to do, what they say they will do, actively monitoring their performance. Honesty, creative solutions to problems (ie. when equipment and parts are not easily available, being able to fix something without going through the procurement bureaucracy; or recognizing when a part can be purchased or repaired less expensively than by going through the often inflated pricing systems of the procurement offices), and personal responsibility are key to excellence - excellence in attitude, excellence in personal relations, and excellence in process, the flow of work and in the results achieved. Personal integrity and responsibility have slipped, and the military service is back in the attitude of the 1970's after Vietnam with cutbacks, layoffs, and reduction of services. There needs to be more standardization across the board - a return to a standard of excellence. This does not necessarily mean a higher budget, or even one at the level we have today. What is suggested is a return to responsibility, to remove "pork" at all levels, and a return to the highest standards of which we are capable.
Send reactions, responses, ideas; re-write the proposals; let us hear from you and then we will vote.
That's all for now - please send your membership form in, new ideas, offers of help, donations, media/press contacts to follow-up with, names of people interested in receiving WTP information, questions and clippings to us - stay in touch!
In closing, we feel it is a good time to remind each one of us of what we are trying to do! "The next time you see geese heading north for the summer, flying along in "V" formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in "V" formation the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone - and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front. If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are headed the same way we are."
People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily, because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
Happy Spring - remember to sign-up for membership!
Cici and Jeffrey Peters
We The People
c/o The Peters
Tin Mine Rd. (3rd drive on left)
Jackson, NH 03846
If you have any questions or comments - please send them to us in an - we will respond as best we can! *Your contribution is optional and not required for Membership, however, contrary to Mr. Perot and the Reform Party, We The People depends on financial contributions from our Membership. So please give if you can. Contributions are not tax-deductible.
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