Democracy Theme Park – An Introduction

So you want to change the world? That’s great. So do I. In fact, I’ve been working on trying to change things, from stopping lignite strip mining in Texas to creating urban gardens in Madison, Wisconsin, for the past forty years.

Along the way, I’ve seen campaigns to change this or that swept into what I’ve come to call the Democracy Theme Park. There, we find ourselves going nowhere fast on rides that style themselves as processes for change, but which actually distract us from more direct ways of insuring that government and corporations serve the public. For instance, there is the Regulatory Agency Roller Coaster — a ride where, after years of testimony and hearings, we get a few hay bales added around the fence at the edge of the toxic waste dump. We think we’re getting things done, but in fact, it’s just busy work. We’re merely playing. We’re in bumper cars.

I first talked about the Democracy Theme Park at the 1996 Alliance for Democracy founding convention in Texas. I asked: what is going on outside of the theme park? Out there, the elites of the day are working on fundamentals (like constitutional protections for corporations) that enable them to undermine democracy, and frustrate our efforts.

There is plenty to do once we leave the busy work behind, but it involves much more than screwing in new light bulbs, praising corporations for giving money to battered women shelters, and planting a well-advertised tree here and there.

The elites that run the world aren’t doing anything special, but they’re good at strategy. They don’t waste time testifying at hearings, they write the laws, meanwhile tightening the perimeter of the Theme Park.

The purpose of this site, other than to get you to buy my excellent books (thereby keeping me in peanut butter while I research the next one), is to help turn our gaze to what is going on out there on the other side of the fence.

Hold on to your hand baskets. We’re going over the wall.