Saturday, May 24, 2008

Citizen Oversight

There are few times when what we do in life actually makes any difference. That is not our own fault, the laws of nature and the size of the numbers involved simply outweigh anything an individual can usually do to influence the outcome of events. But in times of crisis, their comes a moment when the actions of a few can change everything.

Officials in office today are frequently in bed with corporate businesses, fundamentalist evangelical churches, special interests and others. They sometimes sneak in decisions that may never reach the light of day, to line their own pockets, improve the position of their friends, or promote their own religious or partisan beliefs. This sort of corrupt behavior is unfortunately more prevalent than can be at first imagined, and yet, putting ethical progressive candidates in office is all but impossible. To top it off, local media is frequently just as corrupt, with no motivation to point out the ineffective operation of our government bodies. We are left with only one option, police these government positions, 'holding their feet to the fire,' making sure we review their decisions and make sure that bad decisions are revealed to the media and the public. How can we do this?

First, the problem is too big for any one individual. To succeed we need to organized. If each person specializes on some small part of the problem, a specific politician, issue, or project, and then communicates what they learn to others who are focused upon mass communication of the facts to the broader public, then as a group we can drag these cockroaches into the light of day and watch as their corrupt juices dry in the sun.

Together we can:

  • Monitor public meetings and decisions

  • Speak out publicly when the opportunity arises

  • Gain and produce media exposure

  • Train Candidates: both influence those in power and prepare future candidates

  • Create effective campaigns

  • Share responsibility and make a real tangible difference

  • Continued Vigilance: Keep the spotlight on our elected officials, make sure their exposed at all times, so that they don't lapse into unethical behavior.

  • Hang the guilty, and step into their place to change the systems that be whenever the opportunity arises

The Citizen's Oversight Projects are one way to work within the existing structures to effect change. Through concentrated vigilance and radical transparency we effect change by shining sunlight on every aspect of local politics. Everyone should be part of at least one Citizen's Oversight Project, it is your duty as a Citizen in the American Democracy.

So, find something you care passionately about: an issue like education, or energy, housing, employment, or food, and step up to the plate and chair a COP committee, then stay informed and network with other COP's in our area to keep the citizens informed about the systems that affect their potential.

Never Forget

Building 7 WTC 2001

Events - The San Diego County Community Coalition