At every turn, our American Democracy is acutely in jeopardy. Our nation is deeply divided, and we have lost the civic values that once united us as a free people. The corrupting influence of money from those with vested interests affects policy at every turn, and a nation-wide tidal wave of legislation at local and state levels is aimed at suppressing the vote among targeted segments of our population.
The system is increasingly rigged and the will of the people is being subverted by the power of the few. In response, Elders for Sound Democracy is taking action on three fronts.
Voting Rights and Voter Representation
Voter suppression laws have been enacted by legislators in 18 or more states. These laws are intended to suppress the right to vote of minorities, lower income citizens, younger people, and urban women. This suppression inhibits electing legislators who will support proactive laws addressing gun safety, climate change, women’s rights, racism, economic inequality, immigration, government corruption, and other critical issues needing attention in order to achieve a more just, equitable, and safe society.
One primary purpose of this team is to counter these suppressive laws and help those whose rights are oppressed to freely and fairly register and vote. Another is to work towards neutral district design, not biased gerrymandering of districts.
Civic Values and Culture
Our democracy is becoming increasingly fragile, caused in part by a lack of clarity and consensus on fundamental democratic principles and values. CVC envisions an American future where education at all levels teaches the key tenets of democracy and citizenship. It’s one where citizens would engage in respectful public discourse to promote collaboration and heal division. Elections would be inclusive of all, and public officials and candidates would not lie. (See Values We Promote in Society and Values Guiding our Collaboration to Realize our Vision) To this end, CVC works to (a) foster civil conversation with those with whom one disagrees; (b) recognize individuals or groups that have acted in exceptional ways to advance democracy; (c) develop civic education workshops to expand elders’ capabilities in critical thinking skills for civic engagement; and (d) form organizational partnerships that create synergism in strengthening American democracy. Learn about the projects and how you can participate!
Much research documents the staggering influence of corporate money on our democracy. Corporate-funded legislators favor income inequality over critical social programs, and seriously neglect action needed for the environment. To address this problem, ESD is partnering with legislatively-oriented organizations that are working to impose limits on corporate campaign donations, mandate public disclosure, and bolster publicly financed election campaigns. A second focus for ESD is in taking ‘direct action’ including rallies, boycotts, and letter writing campaigns in support of causes routinely compromised by corporate investment. These direct actions are generally taken in collaboration with public interest organizations that support causes such as climate action, single-payer health care, and excesses in military spending.
Be on a National Support Team
ESD’s national action group manages daily operations, communications needs, research support for the state teams, and get-out-the-vote marketing. See if there’s a match for your skills and interest on one of these important teams!
Online planning and strategy meetings are held on the third Wednesday of each month for 90 minutes, beginning at 10:00 am PT / 1:00 pm ET. Register here to receive the Zoom link for the next meeting.