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One Year Out! Socialist Election 2016 (1 of 2)

November 3, 2015

As I was waking up this morning, I remembered that a major task for today is to get my ballot into the mail. I filled it out last night. Important state and local issues of how to provide funding for services (eg education, infrastructure) and how to get better policing, plus important election of City Council members, as Seattle moves from city-wide Council positions to districts. Yes!

So then I remembered that the national 2016 election must be exactly a year away, and I had intended to narrate a page about that election when we were a year out (finally—the campaigning having begun basically a year ago). So I started thinking about that, instead of trying to remember more of my dream, which seemed to have ended about an hour ago.

This morning I’m thinking that the 2016 election is about ownership. Who owns, and what?

Want to be an owner, not a what? Get wealth.

By ownership I means the possession of wealth and therefore power, and thus control of the whatever that is owned. If I have enough wealth, I have the power to control whatever. If I have that much power, I own whatever—for all practical purposes, such as increasing my wealth.

If I were a king (in, say, 1630 or 1750), whatever would be whatever is my kingdom, as apportioned by God. I could apportion a lesser ownership to my family members and my aristocrats. With enough power, I could own somebody else’s kingdom too.

In America, historically, whatever has been land and people.

Land meant the surface of the earth, including all that was on it and under it. It was important to Europeans to own land, and they had the power to take ownership from the people living here. Many Europeans had not owned land, even in lesser ownership, in Europe. Eventually, theoretically, you could be an owned, landless, hard-working serf in Europe, get yourself to America, and own your own land. Probably I’m exaggerating, but Dream on!

“Franklin,” as in Ben, for instance, meant a man, born free (not slave, serf, indentured servant) who owned land (at least in lesser ownership). To a degree, in America that meant that you were “free” because you owned land—free from ownership and control by someone else. For Ben it must have felt like being an aristocrat, without an aristocracy.

And, indeed, why not own yourself?! Who needs a king?

An aristocracy needs a king, to consolidate and protect ownership; and so some subjects remained loyal. When the rebels succeeded and formed a democracy, aristocrats in the southern states moved to keep control of their wealth, whatever they owned, either by taking their moveable property to British colonies or by hunkering down, on their plantations. (The colonies had been called “plantations”—huge landholdings owned by the king, who legally apportioned them by charters, to corporations who showed promise of developing them profitably.)

Hey, I’m not an historian, I’m just a narrator here. But I think my story is sufficiently accurate for service in the truth.

And didn’t I quietly sneak in, the fact that whatever also meant people? Who noticed? Persons were owned indirectly by the king, and directly by other persons.

So slavery pitted the divine right, of kings and their loyal aristocrats, to own people, against fellow citizens who found such an idea to be insufferably contrary (as well as unnecessary, and even threatening—cheap labor) to their understanding of the right, granted by God to all humans, to own themselves (and thus even 40 acres and a mule, the Thoreauvian “necessaries” of the free imagination in practice).

Ah, but are Africans fully human?!

And thus we come to the election of 2016 (151 years after the end of the Civil War), on page 2 of this episode.

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