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The Future of the American Experiment is in Your Hands
Monday, 27 September 2010 10:50

Thoughts from David Cobb's MTA Talk

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About forty people met on a Thursday evening, September 16th, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brevard to hear former Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb speak on the Move To Amend (MTA) movement. (Read more for links to recording)

Melbourne was one stop of many on a state-wide MTA speaking tour promoting MTA's long term goal of constitutional change to rein in corporate dominance over the political system. The ultimate goal is to end the corporations' rights to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns under 1st amendment protections of speech. David Cobb is a gifted speaker, dynamic, inspiring and entertaining, and he was a hit with the audience in Melbourne.

The MTA movement organized because of outrage over the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission that grants corporations and labor unions the right to spend unlimited money, anonymously, directly on political campaigns. The information about this ruling and its ramifications is widely available from internet and print media sources, and I won't detail it further in this posting.

I felt as if Cobb were addressing me personally when he described his 5th grade teacher Mrs. Armstrong, who taught him the American history that we were all taught: America, the land of the free and home of the brave; the America where Indians and settlers gathered in love and celebration around the Thanksgiving table; the America with government of the people, by the people, for the people; America, the shining beacon of hope for all the world, showing what the world could become under democratic rule. My 5th grade teacher was Mrs. Parker, a kind and good woman like Mrs. Armstrong, who taught the same version of history and who no doubt believed it fervently herself. David Cobb's talk set me thinking that most political progressives must have a Mrs. Armstrong in their past, and that each has a different tale of the path from blindly accepting the American legend to critically thinking about the American reality.

Don't get me wrong - Cobb is no America hater; he does not bash America in the least. He declares himself a patriot of the first order, and refuses to concede the country's history to the exclusive use of the political right wing. Cobb speaks passionately of the founding fathers' courage, awestruck by their willingness face a King, his power granted by the divine will of God and backed by the mightiest military empire in the history of the world, and reject his rule in favor of a republic. That they formed an elitist form of democracy, excluding women, blacks, native Americans, and even non-propertied white men is true, but it was also a natural outcome for humans at that time in the world. The key, Cobb tells in very entertaining fashion, is the gift that they left for future generations - the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. To progressives who criticize the founders for their shortcomings he cautions "Don't throw out the baby with the bath water."

Unfortunately the Melbourne event was not recorded, but the event in Boca Raton earlier that same week was recorded ... you can watch it at the following four YouTube links. Each segment is only a few minutes long, and I think you'll find it time well spent.


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