Know Anything About Mike Gravel?

Thanks to Curtis for inspiring me to find out a bit more about Gravel. He's got some interesting ideas.

THIS is his basic proposal. The National Initiative, in which power to make laws is vested in citizens, in addition to Congress, is the big idea.

I've been listening all night to his INTERVIEW series with Mike Malloy. It is VERY interesting. In segment 6 he makes some really great, strong statements about gay civil rights. And i love the way Malloy doesn't let him get away with anything, and calls bullshit on his condescension.

This is way better than TV.

P.S. Now that i've listened to the 80-some-minute interview (and aftermath) with Mike Malloy, a few comments.

I think Gravel has his heart in the right place (how many right-wingers still say that about Bush?? I know it's bogus). What i mean is, the concept of citizens writing laws and bringing them up for national referendum sounds great. Here's why: it would empower Americans to become Civic-Minded again. Well, in theory anyway.

An aside: I recently read a piece about the Rebuilding Czar in NOLA who has been in place for about 3 months now and has until the end of the year to get his job done. He describes himself as a coach, refusing to just be a politician and ram things through and ram things down New Orleanians throats. He keeps telling the people--in interviews, on the radio, in public meetings, in committees, before the legislature, etc--that THEY are the ones who have to make New Orleans come back to life. Only if the people there become civic-minded again, will any substantial, real, and permanent rebuilding happen. Only then will so many of the displaced be able to come back. He has a design/city planning background, so this kind of lingo is not suprizing in that context. But he knows that what he is encouraging is EXACTLY what the rich fat cats, contractors, no-bid "outsourcers" DO NOT WANT. They want the people to be silent, uninformed, weak, and unempowered. Sad.

I like this Civic-Mindedness-Revival-Renewal part of the Nation Initiative for Democracy, because I think that is exactly what has gone wrong here: noone (nearly) is civic-minded anymore. We are 140something out of 160something countries in voter turnout. We are terribly uninformed--not only about the world and other people and cultures, but about own system and history and the realities of what goes on now. Our denial runs deep, culturally. So many people just refuse to believe our President can be behaving criminally, repeatedly. And none of us has the energy to do what civic-minded people do. Bad shit happens here, and noone feels empowered to stop it. We all expect our elected representatives--after all, they are the experts--to do it. And that is wrong. Leaders only lead when the people show them how. And the people don't know how anymore.

It is simply one person saying "we are not going to have this" and then making it happen. Like a mother putting her foot down and effectively ending some bad behavior and resteering her child's entire life, in one dramatic moment of clarity.

We have to steer this thing, and none of the people have done this in years. The corporations have been buying the politicians so they can steer, and everything is so out of control i have to wonder why we even think there is anyway to steer the behemoth.

On the other hand, Malloy is right: the National Initiative would be mob rule. Crazy bullshit referendums would make it through the mill, and crazy, uninformed people in denial about this or that would make them happen. I think Malloy was a little hard on Gravel, saying basically he is totally full of it and calling him a complete nutcase. They both did, increasingly as the interview wore on, seem like an angry old curmudgeons, having their Showcase Showdown of Shouts.

The bottom line is I most appreciate Gravel's sweeping vision: he realizes we need BIG change, we need it now, and we need it to be creative. Check.

I'd love to know what any of you who might listen to these interview segments thinks. Malloy is a bit insane himself.. the whole thing was like the smackdown of the two angry old lunatic white men.

Sheesh. It was way better than TV. I'm serious Napolean.

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