Episode 14

Rebecca Leaps onto the National Stage

 Rebecca is ready. She’s got Mosaic running her website. She’s got pledges of support from key celebrities. She’s got her platform or manifesto ready to publish in book form. Best of all, she has the ARP and all of Anytown excitedly behind her. The town is still grieving her loss, but they know that her graduation to the national stage will be good for the world and for them as well. A few, of course, will be glad to see her go, but they still have to keep their heads down. No city has ever had such a beloved mayor. 

   Rebecca decides to announce on Democracy Now! She could have picked Oprah. She could have picked 60 Minutes. She could have picked any program on any station. She is already one of the best known political figures in the US. In fact, she could have announced on the Anytown website and reached a larger audience than Democracy Now! But Democracy Now! has long been promoting the kind of peace culture Rebecca intends to cultivate. They criticize the corporate war culture, but without being too inflammatory. They have a decidedly progressive bias, but frequently feature genuine debates. The debates sometimes descend into mutual interrupting, and Amy Goodman usually manages to give her favorite the last word, but nevertheless, announcing on the alternative “war and peace report” just feels right. Besides, Democracy Now! has often interviewed and consistently supported her as mayor of Anytown. They appreciate her new style of government, and her campaign will go nowhere without the continued support of Amy and her followers. 

   The Democratic and Republican establishments have heard the rumors and are going crazy. Several Mafia figures have been offered enormous sums to take Rebecca out of the race, permanently, but Michael Mancuso is a gangster with honor. The message from the Mafia to all legit politicians is, “You want someone gone? Do it yourself, and don’t let anything unfortunate happen to Mayor Whyte. As you know, in our pursuit of justice, we have no need to prove anything in a court of law.”

   

Democracy Now!

“And those are some of the headlines. Juan?”

   “Today we have with us once again the amazing Mayor Rebecca Whyte of Anytown, USA. I’m sure you’ve all heard about her and the new politics she’s brought to her city. You can go to Democracynow.org to see our previous interviews with her, but today, in a Democracy Now! exclusive, she will be making a special announcement.” 

   Amy takes over. “Rebecca, its great to have you back. Now let’s get right to your announcement.”

   “Thank you, Amy. After talking to my friends and supporters in Anytown, and after consulting with people I respect around the country, including you, Amy, in the interest of full disclosure, I have decided to run for president of the United States of America in the election of 2024.”

   “Yes, I was honored to be among those you consulted, but I have to ask. It’s only 2016. We’re just getting excited about Clinton and Trump. Why are you announcing already for an election eight years away?”

   “Well, as you know, I’m not a billionaire. Nor do I have any billionaires offering to make me president. In fact, from what I’ve heard, I have quite a few billionaires working overtime to keep me from being president. This puts me at a serious disadvantage. 

   More importantly, I won’t be running as either a Democrat or a Republican. I’m going to build a new party, and that’ll take time. If we’re extremely lucky, I might be able to run in 2020, but I’d rather take my time, build a strong foundation, and make sure that, when I do get elected, I have the social infrastructure to actually make a difference.”

  “What do you mean by social infrastructure? What do you hope to have in place by 2024?”

   “If I’m elected president but have to work with a Congress full of Democrats and Republicans, I won’t be able to make any significant change. When I’m president, I’ll need my party to control both houses of Congress. If we can do that, we can actually transform politics in this country. So that’s the goal.”

   “But what’s this transformation you’re talking about? How would politics be different if your party were in control?” 

   “For a complete answer to this question, I hope everyone will go to Anytown.city.gov. There, you can read our philosophy, and you can also see us in action. But the short answer is: strict separation of money and state, and government as process. I bet you want me to say more about this, right?”

   “Please.”

    “OK, so first, I and all elected officials from my party take a vow of poverty and transparency. This means that we open our tax records and even our bankbooks to the public. We want everyone to see that we’re taking nothing more than our salary. We don’t accept speaker’s fees. We don’t accept donations or gifts. In fact, you can see everything we get and even what we do with our money. We do this in order to convince the public that we’re not benefitting from any decision or anything the government does. 

   This openness is crucial because of the second and most important characteristic of our approach to politics. We believe that elected government officials should have no opinions and no policies of their own. As politicians, our job is not to make decisions. Our job is to create the forums and the processes through which the stakeholders get together and make the decisions themselves. Then, once the decisions are made by the people, we execute or administer those decisions.

   So these are the two main differences – we take money out of politics, and we institute government as process, not policy.”

   “It’s hard to argue with the success you’ve had in Anytown. You’ve eliminated homelessness, severe poverty, and violent crime. You have an approval rating of over 90%. You even increased city revenue in every one of your six years as mayor. However, your critics say that success in a homogeneous, rural population of 30,000 is no guarantee of success at the state or national level. Even some of your supporters in Anytown fear that your style of government can’t work at higher levels where so much more wealth and power are at stake. What do you say to these people?”

   “My critics in Anytown made very similar arguments before I became mayor there, but most of them find Anytown a safer, happier, more comfortable, secure, and prosperous city than it was before. That’s because we spend less time competing and more time collaborating. For the most part, the residents of Anytown are now working together to make our town a better place for all of us, and by truly working together, we succeed. 

   The supporters who worry about rising to the national level are quite right to worry. Our party and our form of government will be resisted fiercely by the billionaires, the military, much of the media, and others who wield power today. The system we live under now gives them far too much power, and they don’t want to lose that advantage. They’ve already tried to kill me twice. They might try again. They might succeed, but government as process and separation of money and state are ideas whose time has come. No one can stop this. If they take me out, others will step in to take my place. The principles that made us successful in Anytown will eventually make us successful at the state, national and even international levels. In fact, the reasons I’m moving so quickly up to the national level are global warming, militarism and nuclear weapons. We have no time to waste. As a species, we’re gradually coming to understand that unless the human family stops fighting and starts cooperating, we’ll destroy our ecosystem’s ability to support human life. We actually do need to stop treating each other like enemies and start working together to clean up our planet.”

   “Well…you’ve said you’re creating a new party. What’s the name of the party and how do people find out more about you?”

   “In Anytown, we established the Anytown Resolutionary Party. So now, we’re going national as the American Resolutionary Party. Of course, that means we’re still ARP. That’s arp, as in ‘arp, arp.’ Some seem to think arp is a bit goofy, but in Anytown, we think it’s fun. And we think politics should be fun as well as helpful.”

   “So what’s going to happen to Anytown? Will they keep having fun without you?”

  “The Anytown Resolutionary Party will initially form the core of the American Resolutionary Party. We’ll be running Sally Galtung to take my place, and I’m confident she’ll be the next mayor of Anytown. Anytown will do fine. The question is, do Americans want to keep fighting among themselves or do they want to start solving the truly serious, urgent problems we all face?”

   “Mayor Rebecca Whyte, thank you very much for making this remarkable announcement on Democracy Now! I assure you that we’ll be following your campaign closely. 

   After the break, we’ll be back with more on the battle between Puerto Rico and the vulture funds. Stay with us.”

 

This interview on Democracy Now! is posted on the Anytown website, then goes totally viral. The ARP office in Anytown is overwhelmed by new members and donations. In fact, the first donations go to hiring the staff needed to reply, update the database and upgrade the website. Suddenly, every Bernie Sanders supporter knows exactly what to do now that Hillary has won the nomination. The American Resolutionary Party is instantly a thing.

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