Some brainstorming ideas (part 2)

This is part 2 of a 2 part article

See part 1 here

My wife and I had the experience of helping in the formation of a student government organization at the University of Idaho.  Almost every group of students on campus was represented in the student government except the married student housing (where we lived) and the graduate student housing. Our group was formed to give these students a united voice to communicate with the student government and with the University. My wife and I were elected as the first co-presidents of this group we called Associated Student Housing (A.S.H).  While this organization had no authority to legislate anything for it’s members, it did have the benefit of a combined voice, when bringing concerns before the people who made decisions which affected it’s members.  The thing we could do was to pass resolutions, which communicated the concerns and opinions of the members of A.S.H.

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Some brainstorming ideas (part 1)

This is part 1 of a 2 part article

See Part 2 here

I just finished reading an article by Oliver DeMille that re-emphasized to me the importance of strengthening communities in this ever increasingly globalized world.  This inspired me to write this 2 part blog entry.


I was at a family game night the other night and since my favorite pastime, especially with one of my brothers, is to have political discussions (yes, that probably means I’m mentally ill); he and I were discussing my view of the current party system.   Continue reading

A fresh look at Political involvement

I am gaining a great education through the principles taught in the book “A Thomas Jefferson Education” by Oliver DeMille.  In that book, DeMille teaches 7 keys of great teaching.  These keys could and should also be applied to more than just education, specific to this blog post, political involvement.  The movement that has sprung from this educational philosophy has come to be called by it’s followers, “TJEd”.

TJEd is about looking at education differently than we have been since Horace Mann and John Dewey re-organized the American public education system.  I want Free Commots to be the same thing, but for political involvement.  It is a completely different way to look at the political process – the same way TJEd looks at education a different way – from how the Political parties would have us view our role as individual citizens.

A paradigm shift happens after we start asking questions.  The one I would start with is: “Why should I become politically involved?”

I’ve been listening to an audio version of Rousseau’s The Social Contract and have found it interesting his take on what government is, what it should be, and his general view of what is possible.  I don’t agree with a lot of his conclusions about what government should be, but I really liked his analysis of government in general as an anlology of the individual.

The term “government” is used to indicate the establishment which is used as a means to regulate interaction between individuals.  In my own words, Rousseau stated that there are two forms of action in the individual, action of the mind (the individual will power), and physical action.  These are to be compared to the Legislative power and the Executive power.  The Legislative power is where the ideas and concepts come from, the Executive power is that which governs the application of those ideas and concepts.  In a monarchy, the monarch has both of these powers.  Under the US Constitution, these powers are separated to avoid corruption.

Kings, in order to have the support of his most powerful subjects (the ones who had strongholds and armies under their command) and the clergy (who had significant influence on the masses and the powerful subjects), would usually consult with them before passing a law, since they would not be upheld without their support.  These were called Grand Councils and, in England, this evolved into the British Parliament, which is the principal predecessor of the United States Congress.

I have been struggling with an inner conflict recently.  I have a deep dislike for political parties … well, to be more accurate, I have a deep dislike for the way that modern political parties have usurped political power and corrupted the system.  We are given the right to vote, but a right to vote is basically ineffectual when the choices presented before you are between equally undesirable options.

If you are like many people today, you feel somewhat lost and cynical when it comes to what is happening in the political world.

According to the current way of looking at political involvement there are several ways to make a difference in the political process in our nation.

Political Parties (including the caucus and primary systems)


Public Hearings

(To be continued)

Lest We Forget

The political culture that we have inherited from many generations of traditions and precedents being set leads many to believe that the best place to find solutions for our problems is to depend on experts and authorities to decide what is best for everyone and submit to their decisions.  While submitting to authority is an important part of living in a society that is ruled by laws rather than mobs and bullies, we cannot and should not sacrifice our ability to think, act, and provide solutions for ourselves. Continue reading