IS DEMOCRACY ON THE ROPES?

Thank you to Pat Slutske for today's opener:

In his book, On Democracy, political theorist Robert A Dahl provides a great deal of information about the prerequisites, characteristics, and benefits of democracy. Among his five prerequisites for a democratic process are voters with enlightened understanding. Recent elections have revealed, if not produced, a phenomenon referred to as the low information voter. A person who may vote, but who is generally poorly informed and/or misinformed about politics; who has little interest or understanding of political affairs; who rarely watches the news; and who can't name major political figures or national events yet vote anyway on this limited knowledge basis. (Dahl, Robert A., On Democracy, Yale University Press, 1998.)

Despite their glaring lack of knowledge or interest, they are the people who could be heavily tapped into in coming elections. Making them into voters committed to a candidate can be accomplished in several ways: wow them, woo them, manipulate them, or educate (enlighten) them. To wow a low information voter, simply provide them with a charismatic, cool or celebrity candidate - they will be drawn to these superficial characteristics and become loyal adherents. To woo them, drop them some crumbs about how the candidate is in support of what they hold dear – like, let’s say, social issues. And while wooing is to an extent a form of manipulation, it is subtle. Overt manipulation involves using catch words and phrases, symbols, or, if you will, dog whistles, to capture their attention so that the rest of the message is internalized without being given any thought. This is how information not based in fact becomes gospel.

But note that Dahl considers enlightened voters as a requirement for democracy. People who have been able to access factual information from a myriad of sources and through the use of their own rational and logical thought processes are able to make an enlightened decision. However, when government is conducted behind closed doors and the only information available comes from wowing, wooing, and manipulation, along with sound bites and campaign rhetoric, the education and enlightenment of a voter can be difficult. And, for the record, this is not by accident.

On close inspection, many of the changes that have transpired over the past several decades put the foundations of democracy at risk. And when these changes are organized along a time-line, the chronology and sequencing appear to indicate that they are not random occurrences, but rather a methodical, strategic plan to erode, degrade, and eliminate democracy. Current examples of efforts to eliminate enlightened voters are the WI Legislative assaults on the WI Government Accountability Bureau, The WI Legislative Audit Bureau and WI Open Records laws. These aggressive actions against agencies and laws that help the cause of enlightenment, can be categorized as brazen and destructive attacks on democracy.

Is democracy on the ropes? Not yet! But it is being pummeled from many directions. It is our duty, as enlightened citizens who do see and understand the insidious objectives behind these actions, to stand up and be heard. Tell our legislators we know what they are doing. Write letters to editors of publications, both local and national, decrying these moves to take away our democracy. Share this information with others to help them become enlightened.


Please keep an eye out for doings at Grassroots North Shore:

  • On Feb. 28th we will be hosting Rep. Jonathan Brostoff who will be presenting  MythBusting FoxconnThe Foxconn plant is coming to Racine County? Our governor is promising thousands of jobs and a major boost to our state's economy. 
    Or will it? Join State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff as he covers these promises and the reality of this deal, and what if could mean to our future. You will come away from this event able to discuss the impact of this deal.

  • Starting on March 10, we will be hosting phone banking and postcard writing events in support of  Rebecca Dallet.  Please sign up. This is what we do. This is what we are good at. She will go after criminals even when those committing the crimes are big business or our own elected officials.

EVENTS

Tues Feb 27, 2018

Redlining, Racism: Where From Here? 7 pm - 8:30 pm
Jewish Museum Milwaukee, 1360 N. Prospect Ave.
Marc Levine from UWM's Center for Economic Development will address the growth of entrenched segregation and racial inequality in Milwaukee since the 1970s. Margaret Rozga will discuss her involvement with Milwaukee’s NAACP Youth Council, her activism during and after the Open Housing Marches with late husband Father James Groppi and her continued social justice work. Bill Tisdale from Milwaukee’s Fair Housing Council will discuss the organization’s role and advocacy work in the past, present, and looking to the future. Museum Member $6, Non-Member $8 or as part of the three-program series Redlining, Racism and Reflection More information and registration: https://jewishmuseummilwaukee.org/events/redlining-part3/

 

Wed Feb 28, 2018

Milwaukee County Department on Aging,  9 am - 10:30 am 
Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W Vliet St, Milwaukee
Milwaukee County Department on Aging is creating their 2019-2021 Area Plan. This plan will define the Department on Aging’s goals for the next three years. Your input is important. Help direct the work we do serving older adults.
We need people to attend this meeting and talk about senior centers, home delivered meals and senior advocacy.

On the Issues: Japan and the U.S.,  12:15 pm - 1:15 pm
Marquette University, Eckstein Hall, 1215 W. Michigan St.
Prof. Fumiaki Kubo is one of Japan’s leading experts on the United States. During his visit to the Law School, Kubo will discuss the current relationship between the U.S. and Japan, from a political, national security, and economic perspective. What impact has the new Trump administration had on that relationship, and how have Japan and East Asia been affected by an increasingly provocative North Korea? RSVP required: https://law.marquette.edu/current-students/issues-professor-fumiaki-kubo

Mythbusting - Foxconn,  7 pm - 9 pm
Grassroots North Shore, 5600 W Brown Deer Rd, #116, Brown Deer, WI
Is the Foxconn plant is coming to Racine County? Our governor is promising thousands of jobs and a major boost to our state's economy. 
Or will it?
Join State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff as he covers these promises and the reality of this deal, and what if could mean to our future.
You will come away from this event able to discuss the impact of this deal. More details

America's Broken Healthcare System,  6:30 pm - 8 pm
Boswell Book Co., 2559 N. Downer Ave., Milwaukee
In his new book--Healthcare 911: How America’s Broken Healthcare System Is Driving Doctors to Despair, Depriving Patients of Care, And Destroying Our Reputation in The World--renowned Wisconsin neurologist Bhupendra O. Khatri explains the causes and consequences of this urgent problem. He writes that American doctors are losing their autonomy, their health, and a good part of their income. Their burnout rate has reached critical proportions. They are retiring early or leaving the field altogether.And all of this interferes with quality patient care.

Refuel the Resistance, 5 pm - 8 pm
Bounce Milwaukee, 2801 S. 5th Ct., Milwaukee
Weekly gathering at Bounce Milwaukee's mezzanine bar for networking, inspiration or just to vent. Bring along any evidence of your civic, resistance from the last week to get a beverage (up to $7) on the house, and compare notes with other individuals and groups working to make things better. More information.

Drinking Liberally Glendale, 7pm - 7pm
Bar Louie, 5750 N. Bayshore Dr., Glendale

Drinking Liberally Glendale meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Come drink a beverage or two of your choice and talk about Liberal stuff. More information.,  5 pm - 8 pm

Sat March 3, 2018

Mothers' Voices on Violence,  2 pm - 3:30 pm
Mitchell St. Library, 906 W. Historic Mitchell St., Milwaukee
detailCalling all mothers who live in or near the Old Historic Mitchell neighborhood. The purpose of this group session is to hear your experiences and gather your input to combat neighborhood crime and violence. Childcare and light refreshments provided. $10 in appreciation of your time and input. Space is limited. RSVP is required: https://goo.gl/forms/SURiO0iC2M6PyRzi1 or 414-239-8555. Sponsored by the Marquette Office of Community Engagement and the Zeidler Center for Public Discussion

Sun March 4, 2018

Andy Gronik Fundraiser,  2 pm - 4 pm
14905 Watertown Plank Rd., Elm Grove14905 Watertown Plank Rd., Elm Grove
Andy Gronik, candidate for governor of Wisconsin, will hold a fundraiser in Elm Grove.

 

Mon March 5, 2018

Drinking Liberally Waukesha,  6 pm - 9 pm
More information: http://livingliberally.org/drinking/chapters/WI/waukesha.

 

Tues March 6, 2018

Governor Candidate Forum,  6 pm - 8:30 pm
MATC, 700 W. State St., Room 605 Milwaukee
This event in the heart of Milwaukee will give you the chance to ask gubernatorial candidates where they stand on the issues. This forum will be conducted "Speed Dating" style to ensure you get time with the candidates up close and personal! Hosted by Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC). https://www.facebook.com/events/1998776773777678/

 

Wed March 7, 2018

Mandela Barnes Kickoff Fundraiser, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Anodyne Coffee Roasters, 224 W. Bruce St., Milwaukee (map)

State Rep. Mandela Barnes will kick off his campaign to become Wisconsin's next Lieutenant Governor! Sponsorship Available RSVP: www.mandelabarnes.com/kickoffDescriptionFormer   Contact: justin@mandelabarnes.com

Refuel the Resistance, 5 pm - 8 pm
Bounce Milwaukee, 2801 S. 5th Ct., Milwaukee
Weekly gathering at Bounce Milwaukee's mezzanine bar for networking, inspiration or just to vent. Bring along any evidence of your civic, resistance from the last week to get a beverage (up to $7) on the house, and compare notes with other individuals and groups working to make things better. More information.

Grass Roots South Shore Meeting,  6 pm - 8 pm
Cudahy Library, 3500 Library Dr., Cudahy
Grass Roots South Shore will hold its monthly meeting. Grass Roots South Shore meets on the first Wednesday of each month. For more information call Jim Balk, 414-218-5944.

 Thurs March 8, 2018

Waukesha Writers Club,  6:30 pm - 8 pm
336 Wisconsin Ave., Waukesha
The "Letter to the Editor" section is one of the most widely read parts of the newspaper, offering a chance to reach a broad audience. Letters to our legislators are also an effective way to let them know what we expect of them. Working together gives us the opportunity to discuss the current issues, improve writing skills, develop persuasive techniques that target intended readers, and help each other with ideas and suggestions. Sponsored by grassrootswauksha.org (carlwauk@gmail.com)

Sat March 10, 2018

13th (a documentary),  8:30 am - 12 pm
12700 West Howard Ave., New Berlin (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton)
Ava Du Vernay's powerful documentary argues that although slavery was abolished in 1865, the wording of the 13th amendment legally allowed a pernicious form of enslavement into American Institutions in the form of mass incarceration and criminalization. Gather for a light breakfast and coffee at 8:30 am. Film at 9 am. Facilitated discussion 11 am-noon.

Mothers' Voices on Violence,  2 pm - 3:30 pm
Washington Park Library, 2121 N. Sherman Blvd.
Calling all mothers who live in or near the Uptown neighborhood. The purpose of this group session is to hear your experiences and gather your input to combat neighborhood crime and violence. Childcare and light refreshments provided. $10 in appreciation of your time and input. Space is limited. RSVP is required: https://goo.gl/forms/SURiO0iC2M6PyRzi1 or 414-239-8555. Sponsored by the Marquette Office of Community Engagement and the Zeidler Center for Public Discussion

Sun March 11, 2018

Grassroots North Shore: Rescuing Wisconsin,  4:30 pm - 6 pm
North Shore Presbyterian Church, 4048 N Bartlett Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53211, USA             See details above 

Tues March 13, 2018

Conversations on Race,  6:30 pm - 9 pm
Brown Deer United Methodist, 5736 W. Brown Deer Rd., Brown Deer
Conversations on Race is for people who are ready to discuss how we are approaching racial issues both personally and systemically. It is a time to learn about the fears, angers, prejudices, systemic privileges and spiritual power that we each hold. With the events in Charlottesville, we will continue our discussion of White Supremacy and the impact every day in American culture and life led by Lisa Jones and Joe Masterson. This event is open to the public and is handicap accessible.

Drinking Liberally MKE,  6:30 pm - 8 pm
Art Bar, 722 E. Burleigh St., Milwaukee
Now, more than ever, Drinking Liberally is a space to gather, support each other, and form the progressive community we're going to need to get through the next four years. Come share a pint with your fellow progressives! Drinking Liberally MKE meets on the second Tuesday of every month, hosted by Matt Filipowicz.


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