Monday, November 1, 2010

A Path Toward Sanity

Last Saturday's Rally to Restore Sanity on the Washington Mall, was, of course, an excellent idea. Its need has become intuitively obvious even to the most casual observer. It also begs a rather obvious question, How did we come to lose our sanity in the first place? And now that we've identified this restorative need, what are the shockingly sane solutions that can lead us forward on a path toward sanity?

One thing about restoring sanity as a nation and a culture is that we can't just throw a band-aid or two on a symptom here and there--we must root out its underlying cause. The current cultural course of a better drug or more spectacular distraction isn't going to cut it any more.

From a systems, or an ecological, perspective there's a rather obvious root cause that most people just don't want to think about or would rather deny as being irrelevant. This is the fact that intentionally destroying one's life support system provides a pretty good definition of insanity. And the further fact that we're doing this for no other reason than to support selfish and narrow self-interest makes it even worse.

But, as Thomas Hardy said, "If a path to the better there be, it begins with a full look at the worst."

We could go 8,000 years back in human history, but starting with Enlightenment thinking provides a good enough starting point. The concepts made popular by Locke, Hobbes, and Descartes led directly to the enclosure of the commons and separation from nature and community, the requirement of Industrialism for government debt to fund empire, increasing private debt to fund the growth necessary to pay interest, exploitation of people and planet for private interests, and the clinical diagnosis of the corporate person as sociopathic.

Which brings us to the dire straits we find ourselves in today--catastrophic climate destabilization, peak oil and other depleting resources, biospheric toxicity and other environmental degradations, loss of biodiversity and tearing the food chain asunder, and the ever-widening wealth gap which all emerges from an educational paradigm that no longer teaches how to think but only how to memorize answers and not question authority so we can all become better producers and consumers. No longer denizens of a living sensuous earth, we have become customers at a theme park called America, Inc.

As good a starting point as any on the path back to sanity can begin by demonstrating the necessary leadership at the state level. The states are the main building blocks of the American political system. The national government is one of limited, delegated powers; all other powers are possessed by the states and their citizens. The states empower local governing bodies. This means the states and their legislators must not only be aware of what is happening nationally and globally, but how wider issues affect the legislation enacted at the state level.

The foundation for a shockingly sane solution would be to mature beyond the myth that growth is necessary for progress and prosperity. Humans are naturally inquisitive, innovative, and intelligent--profit is not necessary to be who we really are. We can use relocalization as a practical, affordable process to transition into a sustainable future. We can begin implementing steady-state economies that focus on becoming better instead of bigger. We can support local investment in creating local products, services, and developing local food and energy security. We can return critical thinking skills to our public school curriculum so our students can be prepared for a future that is not going to look like the past. We can protect and restore the ecosystems that are the foundation for our own health and for productive lifestyles, communities, and economies that meet the definition of sustainability.

If you've had enough of the broken promises of a broken status quo, then it's time to vote for a real change, not just hope for a change. Don't settle for more of the same that created today's myriad crises, or that merely curbing the worst of the excesses of whichever party is in power today is the best we're capable of, or that throwing half the deck chairs overboard while doing nothing to change the underlying assumptions of who is sovereign will be sufficient.

I know a systemic alternative to the broken status quo is possible. The only allegiance I owe is to a living planet that can support future generations. If you believe this as well, and find the courage to vote your conscience instead of your fear and elect me as the first independent Arizona state senator, this is the path to sanity I promise to follow.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Continued Insanity or a Shockingly Sane Solution?

As Arizona State politicians remain intent on providing fodder for late-night comedy shows, one candidate steps up to provide a rational alternative.

Oct. 25, 2010, Tucson, AZ – Facing a swiftly crashing global economy and collapsing environment, one US state provides an extreme example of the failure that results from ignoring the actual root causes of its challenges. Arizona's racist legislation, floundering budget, and deficient educational system epitomize a failed response. And the ruling elite there—-as elsewhere—-don't have a Plan B.

This Southwestern state, hitherto known best for the saguaro cactus, has become the laughingstock of the world by passing bill after bill of backward legislation. Even the desert geckos who haven’t yet lost their habitat to sprawl are blushing.

But Dave Ewoldt, an independent candidate for the AZ State Senate, has risen to the challenge by offering an alternative to the deteriorating status quo. This alternative is relocalization—a practical, affordable process to create a sustainable future. Ewoldt’s shockingly sane solution will not only get Arizona back on the path to credibility, but also holds the key to a rational response for people everywhere facing the worldwide crises of climate catastrophe, dwindling energy supplies, resource depletion, and the suffering inherent in a bankrupt economic growth paradigm.

Ewoldt is among a growing number of individuals and organizations starting to seriously examine harsh realities. For example, The International Energy Agency says we're "running out of time" and "forecast a depleted energy supply in the next decade." They then connect the most obvious dots in our economic system today. "Energy availability underpins economic growth, and without the opportunity for future repayment of debt the financial system as we know it could stop working."

Ewoldt has received support for his relocalization platform from nationally renowned authors and leaders in the rapidly growing sustainability movement. Endorsements have come from Winona LaDuke, Derrick Jensen, Jerry Mander, Guy McPherson, and James Howard Kunstler as well as from the National Nurses Organizing Committee. They all recognize what society can reasonably expect if we stay on the business-as-usual course, and they acknowledge relocalization as a viable alternative.

Ewoldt believes that the leadership necessary for rapidly changing times requires an alternative as meaningful as it is comprehensive. This is the primary distinction between Dave and his opponents in the state senate race, who merely offer either more of the same that created the current debacle, holding actions, or distractions.

Ewoldt says, “Arizona legislators have a responsibility to focus on solutions and ignore attention-grabbing distractions. My vision, backed by a realistic and viable implementation plan, can transform Arizona from laughingstock to global leader.”

Ewoldt is poised to make Arizona history by becoming the first independent elected to the state legislature. More information about the shockingly sane solutions being offered by Ewoldt as he connects the dots to create a sustainable future can be found at the campaign website.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Response on Endorsements

The 2010 Tucson Weekly Endorsements were printed in its Oct. 7, 2010 issue. In the LD 28 State Senate race, it went with the incumbent, and simplistically brushed aside the only rational solution being offered with, "Ewoldt's agenda is too neo-hippie for even us." So, I guess we've at least finally gotten an admission the Weekly is just a right-wing rag. Anyway, here's my response, a shortened version of which was sent to the Weekly as a letter to the editor.

My relocalization platform is neo-hippie? Democracy, conservation, putting Main Street before Wall Street, requiring corporations to assume their responsibility to help maintain the amenities they benefit from and clean up their messes, funding an educational system that prepares our youth for rapidly changing times, and a practical, scientifically based plan to make Arizona a global leader in sustainability and the new economy instead of fodder for late-night comedians is neo-hippie?

The International Energy Agency says we're "running out of time" and "forecast a depleted energy supply in the next decade." They then connect the most obvious of the dots: "Energy availability underpins economic growth, and without the opportunity for future repayment of debt the financial system as we know it could stop working."

The recent Bundeswehr report by German military analysts acknowledges Peak Oil and points to a likely reduction in standard of living that might render societies less stable and make them more attracted to extremist political positions. Investment will decline and debt service will be challenged, leading to a crash in financial markets, accompanied by a loss of trust in currencies and a break-up of value and supply chains--because trade is no longer possible. This will lead to the collapse of economies, mass unemployment, government defaults and infrastructure breakdowns, ultimately followed by famines and total system collapse.

The Pentagon's Hirsch Report concludes that it will require at least two decades to put an alternative energy infrastructure in place IF we start before peak occurs. It is now generally accepted that peak in conventional liquid fuels occurred between 2005 and 2008. Supply is now 5% below demand, and the Obama administration predicts this gap will increase to 10% by 2015.

The world's top climate scientists say we no longer have the luxury of merely discussing whether or not we should make changes, but must start lowering greenhouse gas emissions TODAY. We must start immediately heading down toward 350 ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide, not fervently pray that things will somehow be OK if we allow it to increase to 450 ppm, considering the calamities already occurring from allowing it to reach 390 ppm.

Does the Weekly consider all the above to be neo-hippie organizations and individuals? Are you aware of any other elected official or candidate that is offering ANY type of Plan B? The only "solutions" I've heard are minor attempts to mitigate the worst of the damage, doing even more of what created this mess, or pointless deck chair reshuffling.

It seems what you're really saying is that you know you can neither counter nor refute my arguments on issues or my pragmatic responses to them, so you're reduced to childish ad hominem attacks. What specific part of my platform do you consider to be unrealistic, other than the Powers That Be simply say, "We won't allow that"?

Oh, and it probably wouldn't be too wise to continue ignoring the increasing rate of biodiversity loss, increasing biospheric toxicity, our increasing body burden and disease rates, depletion of global fisheries, increasing desertification, dwindling fresh water supplies, topsoil loss, ocean acidification and growing dead zones, and the growing wealth gap as the middle class disappears.

Since the majority of Americans agree we must start addressing these critical issues now, the Weekly clearly demonstrates it is so far out of touch with reality it's difficult to find the words to adequately describe it. It seems that not only has critical analysis become a lost art, but so has the ability for independent thought. This is a clear dereliction in the duties of the Fourth Estate.

Is it really the Weekly's opinion that Arizonans don't deserve better, or just that they aren't capable of better? I disagree on both counts.

Beyond that, I'm really not sure what else to say, or a different way to frame it, that might make my platform more understandable, and why it is so urgently necessary. The alternative I'm proposing, relocalization, which includes steady-state economics and moving toward sustainability by using the same natural systems principles healthy, vibrant and resilient ecosystems have been successfully using for billions of years, presents a practical, affordable and comprehensive plan that addresses the roots of our current crises. While it may not be possible to totally stave off the coming collapse brought on by our failing system--considering how far down that path we already are--relocalization provides the only realistic plan I'm aware of that can provide, at the very least, a foundation for a democratic, equitable and sustainable future where coming generations at least have some positive possibilities to begin rebuilding.

Provided, of course, that we don't continue to make things worse by continuing to support the status quo, or remain content to think that slapping a band-aid on a symptom here and there will be good enough. People across the political spectrum agree we must become sustainable, and even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in a speech on Oct. 4, 2010 to the Annual Meeting of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, said the current trajectory of government finances is unsustainable and that the U.S. is on the brink of a financial disaster.

And the best advice the Tucson Weekly can offer is to carry on with business as usual. Well, at least we have the New Southwest to fill the void for an alternative paper in this town.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Relocalization: Plan B for a Sustainable Future

How many of you think that we're headed in the right direction today; that we're on the proper course; that you're happy with how things are working out overall? Thinking about our current situation from a different perspective, how many of you think that doing even more of what's brought us to this point--and doing it even faster--is a good idea, or has a chance of succeeding when it hasn't worked previously? Do you realize this is the only response being offered by mainstream politicians and economists?

Let's think a bit about where the overall direction Business As Usual is actually headed. Industrial growth means more production, consumption and pollution. This has lead to eco-catastrophe, militarism, inequity, growing poverty and famine. It seems to me it's time to admit that what we're doing isn't working; that the costs of infinite economic growth outweigh the benefits.

We can't ignore global crises as if they have no affect on policy and regulation in Arizona or that these crises are irrelevant to the decisions made by the Arizona legislature. We must also admit that when the crisis is systemic, so must be the response. But when the crisis is systemic, a very valid question is, Where do we start with the response?

Well, we start everywhere. Pick a point, and start doing what's necessary. But in order to ensure success, the response must be based on a systemic framework--a new paradigm if you will--to build upon to ensure the pieces fit together and support each other. The willy-nilly manner in which we attempt reform today often acts at cross-purposes and we must guard against that. Plus, reform really only serves to keep the underlying broken system in place.

The systemic alternative is known as relocalization. The overall project of relocalization--to becoming truly sustainable--can be seen as a shift to an Ecological Democracy. Some of the major concepts underlying this were detailed by Roy Morrison in his book of the same name almost two decades ago. It is conservative from the perspective of requiring a revitalization of democratic fundamentals and a return to fiscal responsibility. It is radical from the perspective that it seeks to transform the industrial imperatives of production and consumption, profit and power.

An Ecological Democracy challenges economic determinism. It shifts the focus to community and democracy, and away from the power of markets and centralized government plans. An Ecological Democracy helps us realize that we are no longer denizens of a sensuous living world, but have been turned into customers at a theme park called America, Incorporated.

The negative consequences of industrialism have been rationalized as "externalities" as if the poisoner didn't intend the death of its victims. An ecological society is free, but in the context of responsibility and self-management. We must also understand that we can't build eco-islands surrounded by the toxins of industrialism. We must not only think globally and act locally, but we must sometimes act globally as well.

A political democracy can not exist without economic democracy. The human needs of the majority cannot be subservient, they cannot play second fiddle, to the narrow and selfish economic desires of the minority. Community values and the manner in which we protect and equitably share the benefits of the commons in a sustainable manner are central aspects of an Ecological Democracy.

Another important aspect of an Ecological Democracy is that it encourages personal and community property rights, not the concentration of private or corporate ownership in the hands of the rich or public ownership in the hands of a centralized state.

We must also be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water as we build a replacement for the Industrial Growth Society and its dependence on economic cannibalism. There are positive aspects that tend to be associated with capitalism, such as the entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, even its somewhat limited ability to spread the wealth around. These aspects must continue to be nurtured, but in balance with the healthy environment our personal, community and economic health depend on.

We must shift our focus toward becoming better, and away from blindly becoming bigger. We must realize that we don't need the carrot and stick of material accumulation for fulfillment within a dog eat dog competition that takes place in a cruel and heartless world where the elite look out for our best interests--because we're not capable of doing so ourselves. The unwavering quest for profit and growth is not required to encourage and support innovation, it is only required in a debt based economy that expands infinitely in defiance of the laws of physics for no other purpose than making interest payments.

In the current economy, Americans have lost about a third of the value of their homes and their retirement plans. Personal income peaked in 1973, fell by about $2000 dollars between then and 2000, and then fell another $2000 between 2000-2008 under BushCheney. Of course, the economic growth that did occur during this time frame allowed the top 1% to double their already obscene wealth. And it is obscene, as well as immoral, because they have stolen this wealth from us, our planet and our children's future. It was not been "earned," even under the loosest possible interpretation of that word. It was originally appropriated by the state and given to private interests for private benefit with a very minimal percentage of the profit returned to the state. And even this was further undermined by tax breaks, exemptions, and taxpayer subsidies.

The role of a state legislator is more than just raising revenues and earmarking disbursements. This is an extremely limited outlook that shirks their basic responsibility to protect the commons that our communities and local economies depend on for their health, vitality and resiliency. It woefully underdetermines what is necessary for improving quality of life. While the state legislature can't "solve" the crises of catastrophic climate destabilization, dwindling and more expensive energy supplies, and the takeover of our democracy by elite special interests on their own, at the very least they could quit making them all worse.

We don't currently have a realistic or evidence based Plan B. We're just assuming that we can continue on our current path, and don't want to admit that it's leading to the edge of a very high cliff. Cheap energy supplies are running out, our infrastructure is crumbling, and our education system isn't preparing us for a future where the only certainty is that it will not look like the past. Focusing our educational system on creating better test takers is not going to help. As Paul Krugman recently pointed out, as cities turn off their lights and grind their roads into gravel, we now find ourselves stumbling along an unlit, unpaved road to nowhere.

We can define a goal--a sustainable future--as our Plan B. We can adopt a process to head us there--relocalization. But if we don't know where we're going, we will end up somewhere else. And just about every qualified analyst who takes an honest, objective look at our rapidly converging crises says our future is not going to be pretty if we don't change direction. Mad Max could become an optimistic scenario.

We may not be able to engineer a completely soft landing, but the possibility still exists that we could at least keep ourselves from a hard bounce off the bottom as we start helping our environment heal, recharge, and replenish. And this can only occur through relocalized steady-state economies that become resilient by increasing diversity and decreasing the waste of a throw-away society that is efficient in little more than transferring wealth from the many to the few.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ewoldt Qualifies for Clean Election Funding



Dave Croteau, Campaign Chair, (520) 909-5622,
Dave Ewoldt, Candidate, (520) 861-2876,

Dave Ewoldt qualifies for Clean Election Funding

Dave Ewoldt, Independent candidate for Arizona State Senate in LD28, has qualified for Clean Elections financing. This will allow him to campaign effectively against the three other candidates in what was an uncontested LD28 race in the last election.

The political make-up of the district is heavily Democratic (45%), with “Other” (Independents and minor parties—29%) outnumbering Republicans (27%.)

Ewoldt feels that the diversity of candidates in this race will actually work to his advantage: Independents outnumber Republicans, and there is a good chance the Democratic vote will be split.

Ewoldt says, “The current Arizona State Legislature has an abysmal job approval rating, and registered voters are abandoning the major parties in droves—because people at both ends of the political spectrum are sick and tired of party politics that do not support the people of Arizona. Even those who remain faithful to their party are expressing dismay at the lack of substance in party positions and candidate platforms.

“I can win this race. Not only am I as qualified as any of the other candidates, I am the only one who has a vision for our future based on a systemic, practical process that can get us out of our current crises and on a path to the future we want.

“This year’s Arizona primary election demonstrated once again that the dominant parties are advocating more of the same that got us into this mess, or whimpering there's nothing they can do about it, or shifting the blame. This doesn’t inspire voter confidence in their ability to craft the change we so desperately need.

“If the voters are ready for a true positive alternative, I will provide it.”

Dave For Arizona
2602 E Grant Rd
Tucson, AZ 85716

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Distractions from Democracy

It's not big government that is the problem, but bad government. We all have a right to be pissed at what's going on in so many different areas. But let's focus our ire--our righteous indignation--and focus our work for change on the root source of the problem.

Let's connect some dots, and put issues in their larger context. We must stop granting distractions offered by proponents of the status quo the power to guide our actions.

Did an immigrant move your factory or call center overseas? Did an immigrant steal your pension? Did an immigrant cut your health care? Did an immigrant destroy American workers' right to organize? Did an immigrant crash the financial system? Was it immigrant workers who wrote the trade laws that have led to wage depression on both sides of the border while bonuses to banksters and corporate CEOs have grown to even more obscene levels?

The simplistic mantra of "What part of illegal don't you understand" must be turned back on those who utter it. Under American immigration law, being in the United States without legal status is a civil violation, not a crime. If we're merely a society of laws that must be upheld regardless of context, why don't these same people call for the immediate arrest of BushCheney for starting two illegal wars and eviscerating the American Constitution?

The American dream is not one in which only a few of us get insanely rich at the expense of the rest of us. The American dream is one where we all have a fair portion of the good things in life. Quality time with our family and friends. Opportunities to pursue our interests. Time to enjoy a natural world that is healthy and vibrant. The ability to further our education. Where our laws protect us, not oppress us. Where we have quality leisure time instead of spending one billion working hours per year in order to buy leisure wear. We must quit confusing standard of living with quality of life.

We cannot achieve economic prosperity by lowering wages and increasing consumption. The only way this can possibly come about is by increasing debt, which devalues our economy. Our future is now in the hands of foreign banks. Increasing poverty and debt levels, both personal and government, are contributing factors to America now qualifying as a third-world nation. America has become a debtor nation that cannot meet the needs of its own people without imports that exploit the people in developing nations and degrade and deplete our finite global store of natural resources.

This has all come about because we have allowed the fiction of a corporate person to overrule democracy. We have handed our sovereignty to a legal fiction. Corporations, which are supposed to be a tool of society, not the ruler of society, have bought our government, control our regulatory agencies--and now to add insult to injury--an activist Supreme Court has ruled corporations can buy our elections with impunity with the further fiction that money is speech.

It's long past time for we the people to reclaim our democracy and assert our sovereignty. We can and must do so. Relocalization--a rational, practical, affordable process to develop a sustainable future--provides a framework to support the opportunities to do so.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dave Ewoldt's Opening Speech for AZ Senate Campaign

After securing and prepping a building for campaign headquarters, Dave Ewoldt gives a speech before opening ceremony.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Is the border Arizona's primary problem?

Is the border "problem" really the most pressing issue we have to deal with today?

Well, let's see. The planet is heating up, we've run out of the cheap, polluting energy necessary to continue economic growth, our elders are overdosing on prescription drugs at a rate three times higher than all illegal drugs combined, biodiversity is disappearing at a rate high enough to be called the Sixth Great Extinction, our local economies are being sucked dry by the corporate and financial elite who have stolen our democracy, and the activist Supreme Court has made it easier for them to continue doing so--as well as greasing the skids to ensure all these other problems continue unabated.

For the past 100 years we've depended on Mexicans to pick our food, make our beds, build our homes, and now we want to build an apartheid wall and militarize the border in order for us to continue denying our responsibility to fix the mess we've created by scapegoating the oppressed.

Can someone please explain to me the thinking, and I use that term very loosely, behind all this?

The "we" I'm referring to is the Western industrial civilization on steroids that is known as the American way of life. We feel so entitled to this way of life that our political leaders insist that it is "non-negotiable" when trying to formulate even weak and vapid responses to the environmental and social collapse rapidly heading our way due to ecocide, injustice, and inequity.

There is indeed a whole lot of room for improvement. Which is what makes it all so frustrating for me. There is a readily available alternative in relocalization--a rational, practical, affordable process to develop a sustainable future--that could actually serve to improve quality of life for all life. But here in Arizona people have allowed themselves to be distracted over the border issue as if it's the only thing that matters.

I mean, we can't blame the Mexicans for the Colorado River going dry, as it doesn't even make it to Mexico any longer.

The idea that as rational creatures we could use our highly vaunted intelligence to reverse direction as we discover we're going the wrong way is a concept I've been using in my research, writing and community work challenging the growth lobby for about a decade now. I've also found myself recently paraphrasing, on a rather regular basis, a line from Swami Beyondananda (Steve Bhaerman): Maybe it's past time for nature's children to start acting like nature's adults.

Hmm, do ya think?

We (Americans in the generic sense) aren't doing enough to turn the ship of state around--squiggly lightbulbs and hybrid cars not withstanding. The American way of consumer life is still being sold to the developing world as the highest good they could possibly aspire to. This is done for no other good reason but to support and continue economic growth that actually only benefits a very small sector of the global population--to the ultimate detriment of the majority as well as to the planet that supports our lives and economies.

What I'm discovering in my campaign for political office is that quite a few people don't want to think about the actual issues and what could be done about them. They just want to slap a band-aid on a few symptoms (what I call the wounds of empire) and get on with their life. They want things to return to normal and don't want to think about the fact that normal is what got us to this point.

For instance, the current status quo fantasy is that we're not really running out of water in the Southwest desert. It is taken as a given that some technology will come along to allow us to "invent" new water supplies (this used to be referred to as alchemy). The only thing we need to do is secure the border and everything will be just fine. Then we can go back to paving over the desert so the tourists who come to enjoy the desert will be able to quickly and more easily get from one place where the desert used to be to another place where the desert used to be.

The tourists just better hope their cars don't overheat. And that enough Americans--75% of whom, according to the Pentagon, are too overweight and/or out of shape to qualify for military service--will be available and willing to do all that paving for a minimum wage with no benefits for an out-of-state contractor enticed here with tax exemptions and waivers of development impact fees.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

To Vote or Not to Vote: Strategies for Change

There is a significant percentage of people today who tend to equate voting (although often stated in more subtle ways) with an act of violence, and who counsel against participation in voting. The rationalization used for this is a form of the too-common mistake of confusing symptoms with root causes. The assertion is that politicians are engaged in murder, theft, and counterfeiting, and thus voting is an act of complicity. The next steps in this line of "reasoning" are often that 1) anti-social acts are the true and only goal of government, and 2) this evil government requires your vote to maintain its legitimacy, be ensured of success, and maintain the illusion of freedom of choice. Unfortunately, there is a particle of truth to all of these, especially the latter.

I don't agree with this line of reasoning. I'll start my thoughts on this subject by first saying that there's a difference between a politician, who is mainly interested in the next election, and a statesman, who is mainly interested in future generations. I also believe that the only true mandate of a democratic government is to protect the commons, which includes the physical and the social. Now, admittedly we're currently a long way from that. We neither nurture statesmen nor protect the commons. Quite the opposite, in fact.

So, let's look a bit below the surface to see why we're in our current sorry state. Let's connect some dots and see where we're headed and why we're in this handbasket.

The majority of politicians on the national level, regardless of party, are little more than tools of the status quo--which can be best summarized as the Industrial Growth Society and its practice of economic cannibalism. While local politicians are generally better at retaining some of their core humanity, they still believe in the inherent correctness of the status quo and seek to either protect it at any cost (the Right), or they believe there's nothing to be done about it other than maybe trying to minimize the damage, at least here and there, once in a while (the Left).

We the People unquestioningly accept this mythology and tend to buy into one end of the ideology or the other. We continue to proudly elect maniacs belonging to the monopoly of the duopoly (the two wings of the Corporate War Party) who promise either to control whichever minority group is being used today for scapegoating on every problem imaginable (the Right), or to throw slightly larger scraps over the wall to the peasants (the Left). As long as they can keep us fighting each other, their power remains assured. And, as long as we continue asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about their answers.

A growing segment of the population has shaken off this aspect of the consensus trance, but still allow themselves to be controlled by thinking that government built on dominator hierarchies that rule through force and fear is inherent to the very concept of government. (Cultural anthropology, for one, provides evidence to the contrary.) There is also widespread acceptance of the belief that anyone putting forth an alternative vision (or even a major reform of the status quo) is unelectable. (I mean, Fox News and CNN both say so, which must mean its true.)

But, because non-mainstream voices (those not vetted by the status quo) are allowed to be heard during the primaries, with the more radical voices safely relegated to third(non-serious)-parties, we are assured that democracy is being served, and we can safely go back to our Cheetos and "reality" TV and just forget about the oil running out and the planet warming up and our parents overdosing on prescription drugs. Oh yeah, and that damn border.

So, we withdraw from the democratic process itself. We don't vote because we're told if voting could change anything they'd make it illegal. (Jim Hightower, I think, or Emma Goldman, G.B. Shaw, Eugene Debs... ) We join the 50% of the eligible electorate who don't vote by believing the only ethical choice left is to withdraw our complicity from the electoral aspect of the culture of death--as long as it isn't killing us, anyway. Or at least only indirectly through processed food substitutes and contaminated water, polluted air and toxic soil. We believe that if we don't vote, we're somehow not responsible--and besides, it won't make any difference anyway. We don't want to believe what has been said since the days of Plato--that silence is complicity--so we just don't think about it.

Paul Ray, co-author of "Cultural Creatives," re-analyzed the thirteen years worth of data the book was based on from a political perspective and came to the conclusion that out of that potential 50% voter segment, only about 10% can actually be classified as alienated, ignorant, and/or apathetic. This 10% is actually the mushy middle the Clinton "strategists" went after, and were all excited when they got 1% of them to the polls. This means the other 40% are the largest potential voting bloc in the country, because the other half--the current bloc of active voters--are pretty evenly split (12-15% each) among Democrats, Republicans, and Big Business conservatives who have either liberal or conservative social values (and this is actually a false dichotomy, but that's another discussion).

So, the point I want to make is the importance of your vote, especially considering the rather small percentages of voters who provide the "mandate" for policies--about 20% in any given election--and much of that is not a vote for, but rather a vote against the other side. But let me add a caveat: For your vote to be meaningful we must work together to encourage and support candidates who are worth voting for; who are not only willing but determined to take on the status quo, and even more importantly, who will present pragmatic alternatives that work for people and planet instead of only for the profits of narrow special interests.

We can turn the sorry state of electoral politics on its head by becoming active in the democratic process--because democracy is not a spectator sport. Instead of remaining complicit with our silence, we can become actively engaged in helping remove the legitimacy of the status quo. We can encourage and support statesmen who will actively work towards real change instead of minor reforms. We can become advocates for electoral changes that can better reflect peoples values instead of their fears. We can champion Instant Runoff Voting, make elections day a national holiday, abolish the electoral college, require paper ballots or a paper trail on election machines that use non-proprietary verifiable software, and perform random ballot audits large enough to be meaningful.

As long as we remain satisfied that voting for the lessor of two weevils is the best we can hope for--or even more cynical, that this is the best that an inherently flawed humanity is capable of--we will remain complicit with a system that is about to push life over the edge of a cliff. Incremental changes in this system will not work; you cannot cross a 20 foot chasm with two ten foot leaps.

The way we practice politics and government today is nothing but a story. This means, as inquisitive, innovative and intelligent creatures, we can consciously choose to script a new story. But that's not going to happen if we withdraw from the system; if we shirk our responsibility and our innate ability to create a system that works for us and the planet we depend upon.

It is possible to vote and not simply have the government get re-elected. The more people who find the courage to do this, the sooner we'll start the transition into a sustainable--that is, life supportive--future. I, and many others, believe a political platform built on a foundation of relocalization--a practical, affordable process to build a sustainable future--where production of food, energy and appropriate technologies occurs much closer to the point of consumption is a rational first step. By weaving in a steady-state local living economy, and getting back within ecological and economic carrying capacity limits we can set off on a different path from the broken status quo that is destroying the biosphere and fueling the 6th Great Extinction.

Something I think the "potential 40%" of additional voters have in common is that they can see through the veil and they're tired of being lied to with false promises and crass fear manipulation. They're being joined by growing numbers of traditionally partisan voters fleeing the major parties and registering independent--the people I refer to in my campaign for AZ State Senate as those who are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

What all these voters need is someone to vote for who will do things differently--someone not beholden to--or enchanted by--the status quo and who's presenting a platform that both resonates with shared values and provides a systemic alternative that doesn't require empire and its exploitive accoutrements in order to improve quality of life. A relocalization platform provides this without requiring the destruction of our one and only life support system. We can't continue ignoring the inconvenient truth that there will be no justice, equity or an economy (free-market or otherwise) on a dead planet. And this is exactly what the status quo of Industrialism is delivering for no other reason than to increase profit and consolidate power in the hands of a self-proclaimed elite.

If you'd like more details of how these concepts fit into the political arena, and how they can be applied to grave issues of concern to a majority of people, please browse through my campaign website, especially the issues pages as well as for an expanded definition of relocalization. This platform is freely available to anyone else who is willing to embrace it. Consider it "open source." We have the opportunity to get this ball rolling; to provide leadership with a positive example the rest of the world is hungering for and can begin implementing themselves.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Campaign Kickoff and Headquarters Grand Opening

Here's the transcript of my press conference speech at the grand opening of our campaign headquarters July 16, 2010.

Good evening. I'd like to thank you all for joining us for our campaign kick-off and headquarters grand opening.

My name's Dave Ewoldt, and I plan on being LD28's next State Senator as an Independent.

The first question I often get asked is why a one-time Republican and long-time Green is running as an Independent. There are two reasons for this decision.

The first is that party politics is a distraction from the issues we must start dealing with. The energy supplies necessary to power global economic growth are running out, getting more expensive, and contributing to another impending crisis, global warming. Infinite economic growth simply isn't possible on a finite planet. We've handed our democracy over to elite special interests who put profit above people and planet. Here in Arizona, we also don't have the water supplies to continue rubber-stamping growth. But the response from both major political parties is to give us more of what's causing all these problems.

The second reason I'm running as an Independent is because there are more Independents in LD28 than Republicans, and between the two of them, they outnumber the Democrats, who are also becoming disillusioned with empty promises of hope, and becoming tired of being told there's nothing we can do about it.

The forlorn cry of supporters of the status quo, from both ends of the political spectrum, is for a return to normal, and they simply don't want to think about the simple fact that normal is what got us into this mess. However, since it's becoming impossible to continue denying that what we're doing isn't working, it's time to start doing things differently without falling back on the cop-out that change is not politically feasible. You know, when you find yourself at the bottom of a hole, the first rule is to stop digging.

The alternative I advocate may sound radical, but it's not as radical as killing our life support system, wasting our resources, turning our air, water, soil, and bodies toxic, and destroying the middle class to bail out the banksters. Some people insist that saying this means I'm calling for class warfare. Folks, class warfare is what we have now, and we're losing. Badly.

Doing things differently doesn't mean we have to give up our values, beliefs, and practices. Previous decisions we've all made can't be considered a mistake, we can't beat ourselves up that we were wrong, when those decisions were based on the best information we had at the time we made them.

So, the main thrust of my campaign is that the first thing we must become aware of is that there is an alternative to how we go about doing things; there is a rational response to these rapidly converging crises.

What we must do is become serious about becoming sustainable. My campaign platform is built on a foundation called relocalization. This is a practical, affordable process to develop a sustainable future--where production of food, energy and appropriate technologies occurs much closer to where they're used and consumed. It focuses on supporting and strengthening local businesses that contribute to our community.

The four top issues I'm applying this to in my campaign for Arizona State Senate are water, jobs, education, and the border. Relocalization provides a framework for addressing all of them. I'll take them one at a time and tell you what I'm going to do when I get up to Phoenix.

1) water (we're running out and "inventing" more to support a doubling of the population is a pipe dream), intelligent responses include conservation, charging for how much you use and the cost to deliver it, supporting water harvesting, shifting agriculture to drought tolerant crops that support local industries, and recognizing the connection between water and energy

2) jobs and the economy (infinite growth is uneconomic, and low-wage no-benefit service sector jobs make for a bleak future that increases the social costs we all end up paying), intelligent responses include supporting local investment in local businesses (main street not Wall Street), no tax breaks, exemptions or subsidies to businesses that export their profits out of the state, full cost recovery development impact fees (those who benefit from the amenities of AZ have a responsibility to help maintain them), rebuilding our infrastructure to be energy efficient and people friendly instead of car friendly, reclaiming the state's sovereign right to revoke corporate charters whose harms outweigh their benefits

3) education (Arizona is ranked worst in the nation and we're not preparing students with the necessary skills, starting with critical thinking, for a future that will not look like the past), intelligent responses include increasing funding for education and shifting educational priorities toward nurturing children's love for learning instead of simply being better test takers, supporting research in clean, zero-waste manufacturing, renewable energy, bio-tech, and becoming experts in sustainability so we can provide functional examples and provide the leadership the rest of the world is hungering for

4) the border (what we're doing is trying to slap band-aids on symptoms, and higher walls only lead to taller ladders) intelligent responses include dealing with the root causes, to stop the wage depression that results from NAFTA, stop off-shoring jobs in the attempt to win the race to the bottom, tie foreign aid to strengthening local economies, and accept our responsibility to care for those our previous decisions have harmed while we work on making things right.

For all of these issues, we must quit believing that slapping band-aids on symptoms will solve anything. Instead of being satisfied with the compromise of clipping branches, we must dig up the diseased root and replace it with a systemic alternative that works with and supports life.

As a people and as a state we are capable of doing so much better than what we're seeing coming out of Phoenix today. When it comes to speaking truths, we must remember that we the people are more powerful than we dare to believe. And we must begin exercising this power while we still have a bit of time and a few resources left to do so. When I make it up to Phoenix, my first order of business will be building bridges based on common values so we can work together to begin the transition to a sustainable future. With your support, we can make this happen.