Up to now, I have been laying the groundwork from which to begin making our government more responsive to and more representative of the citizens of this country. This groundwork relies upon the concepts of Common Sense, personal involvement, and the demand for better leadership. I express a sense of urgency at times because I feel that things urgently need to change. I can envision a time when our government exists somewhere silently in the background, ensuring our freedoms and providing a level playing field in our search for happiness and prosperity. I can see the people of that government being actively involved with each other, their communities, and the world at large, living without want of food or water or safety, and working in harmony to ensure a better world is left for future generations.

As corny as that sounds, I believe it could happen. But in today’s social and political climate, it seems more and more that we are heading in the opposite direction, creating a world that increasingly concerns itself with instant results and gratification, a world that values personal wealth rather than common good, a world that exploits the natural wealth of the planet without regard for future generations needs. As I look around today, I see people becoming more isolated within themselves and losing touch with the things that bind societies together. We are losing the ability to gather around common principles and stand together for what is right.

The progression of government through history has moved from tribal elder rule to regional warlord domination to national monarchies. Each of these systems had their pros and cons, but the thing they all had in common was subversion of individual rights to benefit either the group or the king. After thousands of years of tyranny and monarchal rule, some groups of people found the will to oppose those types of government and were successful in establishing a new form of society, what we call democracy. Now it helped that they had a brand new (to them at least) chunk of land far away from everyone else. And they had but to look at history’s last great social experiments in Rome and Greece to find a blueprint for success. But it was really their sense of establishing individual rights that culminated in their success, a success that we still enjoy today. But even though the ancient systems allowed for little in the way of personal fulfillment, they contained elements of the concept of shared duty and stewardship between the common people. In the quest for their own individual fulfillment, the founders of our democracy seem to have undervalued the need for societal fulfillment as well, and in doing so, left open the way for destruction.

Democracy, in its infant form, fostered an assumption that liberty from government was equal to the notion of doing for oneself first and foremost and not worrying about what they other guy thought. Freedom, to our founders, lay not only in the choice of religion and speech, but also in the ability to be left alone. The Constitution that they had created relied not so much on the participation of all citizens as it did on the acceptance of all citizens. Once accepted, the rights conferred by it would apply to all regardless of their future participation in the shaping of their society. Therefore, one could pretty much do as he pleased with his life, provided he did not infringe upon the rights of others and he obeyed the law. This premise, that freedom was guaranteed whether you worked for it or not, is what has led us to the place we find ourselves today.

Now it took quite a while for this attitude to morph into its present form. For much of our history, citizens involved themselves in community events and needs and turned out for state and national elections (those who were eligible at any rate). But despite these minor attempts at collective action, most people were taught that being an American meant that you could be anything, do anything, and go anywhere you pleased. If someone didn’t like it, well too bad for them. This attitude has been passed down through the years, and with each succeeding generation the concept of common good has become less and less valuable. We now find ourselves in such a state that we have become so focused on our own individual happiness, our own instant successes, that we forget that our actions really do impact other things in the world. In our search for “personal growth” we surround ourselves with people who share our interests and who already agree with our opinions. In doing so, we lose sight of the fact that everyone else is also doing this, but their success and happiness may be in direct conflict with our own. Unfortunately, we don’t take the time to find common ground and move forward in ways that benefit us all. Instead, we end up segregating ourselves into small, like-minded groups and demonizing those who fall outside our own little cliques. Rather than working for some kind of common benefit, we seek only to destroy each other.

It is this kind of atmosphere that can allow tyranny to return to the realm of government. By marginalizing ourselves into competing factions, we unconsciously advocate the need for a uniting force, but it comes to us not in the guise of the Shining White Knight but instead in the costumes of little dictators. So-called leaders try to collect as many separate groups together, often by just professing to despise the same people. In this way, they gather these groups together and claim to stand for them all. Longing for some kind of leadership, we eagerly accept their claims, if only to drive our competitors down. Unfortunately, in many cases, these so-called leaders are not who they pretend to be. Many are beholden to the tyrants of today, the large corporate entities that have somehow become kings unto themselves. These “leaders” care little for commonality; their lust is power and control. They live and breathe the concept that freedom means telling people that they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, at no cost to them. They revel in their offices as they watch the self-segregated masses lap it up. They create confusing legislation to further muddle the concept of democracy, ensuring that more little groups will arise that they can make promises to and control.

So how does all of this fit in with the concept of Rapid Reform? In reality, many of the ideas that I will propose will take generations to accomplish. I understand that in order for all of our problems to get fixed, we must first start by fixing the concept of freedom and to do that, we have to change the way people engage with each other. This kind of change requires concentrated educational efforts that can only take root with time. But in the interim, it is essential that people acknowledge that our society is not headed in the right direction, not for those on the left or on the right. And especially not for those in the middle. It is essential to begin the processes that will allow for the kind of education that is needed to change the behaviors of humankind. And in order to change the processes, we need to change the people who are guiding those processes along. This is the Rapid Reform that I am talking about. Sweeping social changes usually happen in one of two ways: by natural design or by social calamity. We have recently seen the horror of natural design mandating social changes. The Asian tsunami has shown us how quickly our possessions and our lives could be taken away. And we have seen also the results of social change caused by social calamity, most recently in the nations of Afghanistan and Iraq. Neither of these is a first choice for change. But perhaps there is another way, a way that has been used successfully before by the founders of our democracy here in America. Much as they collectively joined hands and told their monarchal rulers where to go, so too can we the people do the same with our government today.

Therefore, if you believe that Common Sense has been abandoned by our leaders…if you believe that together we are stronger than when we are at each others throats…if you believe that the time has come to move democracy to the next level, a level where individual and societal needs are in balance, a level where public policy is created with the future in mind, a level where the people are served by the government rather than the reverse, then you are ready for Rapid Reform. We must start by replacing the existing government with one that is more responsive to the people and more representative of their goals, not the goals of their corporate sponsors or their varied special interest donors. Rapid Reform means taking a stand today to find candidates who are willing to do what is right and throwing out those who are too entrenched in the current morass to realize they are as obsolete as the warlords of yesterday. It is time for Democracy to grow up.