Enough Tea Party-Style Whining – It’s Time to Take Back Our Jobs and Businesses

Imagine what would happen if we stopped blaming and started living democracy. Imagine what could change if we realized our power to remove big money from its dominance.

April 10, 2010 | Source: Alternet | by Frances Moore Lappé

Headline-grabbing Tea Party slogans sure could make one think Americans have come down with a bad case of whine-flu.

They — Big Bad government, Obama, Wall Street, or Socialists — did it to me, and they are so scary all I can do is defend myself: Call a talk show to blast them. Join a protest. Buy a gun. Or secede.

Yes, there’s a lot of blaming going on. But fortunately, very fortunately, there is another America. It is a much bigger America. It is made up of do-ers — of builders, not blamers.

Beneath the failing notion of democracy as something done to us or for us, something we inherited that expects virtually nothing of us except voting (optional) and shopping, is a very different view of democracy.

I call it Living Democracy. It isn’t something we have. It’s what we do. From school kids to elders, millions of Americans are coming to realize our problems are too complex and interconnected to be solved simply from the top down. They require the ingenuity, courage, commitment, and buy-in of everyday citizens. So they’re rolling up their sleeves, working with each other and with government to get beyond slogans to solutions.

Let me give you taste.

In the 1980s, milk prices dropped by a fifth in a few years. A handful of Wisconsin dairy farmers near Viroqua, watched too many neighbors’ farms fold and decided to act. They pooled their meager funds and formed CROPP, the Coulee Region Organic Produce Pool, a dairy cooperative, a democratically organized business where profits are shared.