June 27, 2005
It sounds ugly. It only has a name and a founder. One could say that it is "without form and void."
This primordial, aggressive squatter has just taken over the site of the rather benign Chattanooga-Hamilton Civic Forum. It wasn't pretty: the Forum just sat there and got pushed over (but, mark my word, it will come clawing back).
What is it?
It's the United Front Against Corruption. It is an epic[?] attempt to bring together Tennessee's citizens in a -- well, basically, a popular uprising, wherein we demand that our state government becomes opened, cleaned, and proactively communicative to us, its enablers.
This UFAC is a new name and has a relative newcomer at its origin, but there have been plenty of others calling for reform, and for years. I am in no way trying to upend their efforts. In fact, I want to connect all the various activists, and add a lot more, so that we create a concerted, unstoppable "groundswell of public opinion" (gotta use clichés once in a while).
As I currently see it, there are a couple of essential preparatory tasks. One is to educate ourselves on the problem. We have some excellent sources, and I'm sure you bloggers and blog-readers will connect us to even more than the starter material I'll list here. Task Two should probably actually be #1: we need to set aside our ideological differences. (I say knock this one out first because then we won't read the "educational material" with [as much of] a bias.) A corrupt official is a corrupt official is a corrupt official. As I commented at South End Grounds, "If we can all recognize that, even though it may be in different places and at different times, we are all susceptible to winding up with compromised ethics, then we can stick to using our partisanship to define [distinct] policy positions, and avoid its use as an attack weapon."
(Hey, I disclosed that the UFAC only has one member, so we have to quote each other for now.)
Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, Independents, and Unknown/Others all share the same stake in this.
Republicans: The fact that it's not your party that bears a lot of the recent (Waltz) burden and a multi-decade hold on power doesn't mean you have to treat this as a leverage opportunity in your own power quest. (I can hear every single one of my Republican friends saying, "Yes it does!" But y'all are just Darwinist like that, and I think that's okay. Bear with me here, though. You can go back to being political Visigoths after we clean up this mess together.)
Democrats: The fact that the power-monopolizers and civic offenders play for your team doesn't mean you have to defend their unconscionable behavior or stay out of the change effort or cry "unfair!" (I can hear every single one of my Democrat friends saying "Yes it does!" And y'all are just solidaritous like that, and I think that's okay. Bear with me here, though. You can go back to being political lemmings after we clean up this mess together.)
Independents/Other Partisans: Most of you (that I know, anyway) are way ahead of the rest of us on this, so be patient while we get our swords and plowshares sorted out.
The Uninvolved: I'm tempted to yell like a USMC drill sergeant, but I will ask nicely, because this is too important to risk turning you away: Please get involved in this effort to create a more open, honest, and responsive government. It will only help you. If I can get donations of carrots, I'll dangle them. Whatever it takes to get you enthused about the cleansed state halls of the [near] future is not too much.
Elected Officials: You'd better hope you're already on the right side of this (and I don't mean Right and I don't mean we're operating with the political-party definition of "sides"), or your defeat -- in 2006, 2008, or however soon it can be engineered -- will be most inglorious. And there will be enough people watching to spot the "reactively ethical" among you.
Now, for the self-education starter kit:
The Tennessean series (link is to Part II)
The Rep's blog
The Senator's blog
Tell us about more material, and let's get to work.
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