A Purple Alliance
By Wade Lee Hudson
NOTE: The following scenario envision a specific Purple Alliance. Others might very well envision and/or organize other purple alliances. A log of “Purple Points of Agreement” that others might use will be maintained here.
Dedicated to humanity, the environment, and life itself, the Purple Alliance pushes for new compassionate national policies that are supported by a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
The Alliance promotes democracy, respects the rights of individuals, opposes the tyranny of the majority, opposes domination based on superficial characteristics such as race, class, or gender.
The year the Alliance started, supermajorities of the American people, usually including most Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, believed:
Elected officials lose touch with their constituents, don’t care “what people like me think,” put their own interests first, and fail to give Americans a voice.
The wealthy have too much power.
The amount of money individuals can contribute to political campaigns should be limited.
Federal government programs should put people to work on urgent infrastructure repairs.
A federal jobs creation law should create more than one million new jobs.
The government should make Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid sound without cutting benefits.
Military strength is not the best way to ensure peace.
Military spending should be reduced.
The government should
stop giving money to foreign countries to buy military weapons from U.S. companies;
reduce the number of people behind bars;
increase funding for the treatment of mental illness and addiction.
Drug addicts and those with mental illness should not be in prison.
Immigrants are not a burden.
Society should not discourage homosexuality.
Global warming is real, carbon dioxide is a pollutant that needs to be reduced, and the U.S. should reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs, and use a carbon tax on fossil fuels for research and development of renewable energy.
Racism, racist acts, hate speech, and sexism are serious problems.
Countries including America should give refuge to people who are escaping from war or persecution.
Undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children should have a pathway to citizenship.
reported having generally warm feelings toward racial groups other than their own;
affirmed fairness and helping those in need;
opposed cheating and harming the vulnerable;
said they believe in God and respect people with different religious beliefs, who they considered to be just as moral and loyal to America as anyone else;
didn’t consider Islam to be more violent than other religions;
believed terrorists falsely use their religion to justify their actions;
felt that most Americans had more in common than what divided them;
were tired of polarized division and wanted people to listen more so they could better see the many sides of an issue and compromise to solve problems.
The Alliance has been building support for measures such as those that have had supermajority support. As a result, Congress has enacted a number of laws based on those principles.
Periodically, with extensive input from its members, the Alliance identifies a timely bill with supermajority support that would make a substantial improvement in the lives of Americans and decides to mobilize support for it. Today, on the first day of January, as it does each month, the Alliance circulates a recommended message to Congress. This month, the message urges support for HR 101, legislation to fund one million new water-conservation jobs in rural and urban areas.
By the end of the week, two percent of all eligible voters, five million Americans, including three million Alliance members, have communicated with their Congressperson about the bill -- with phone calls, emails, text messages, letters, office visits, or by going to a public forum with the Congressperson.
In addition, at least once a month, many Alliance members meet with small Alliance Teams in members’ homes to discuss how to advance the Alliance’s mission and support the monthly action. Team members usually live near one another. Many share a meal and build supportive friendships by socializing informally prior to the meeting. In addition to these gatherings, many teams also engage in a variety of other activities, including picnics, volleyball games, dances, public forums, and traditional debates. Members invite friends to these activities, which attract new members with contagious happiness. So long as they operate in harmony with national policies, each team is free to design its own activities.
When they communicate with Congresspersons, Purple Alliance members and supporters thank representatives who already support HR 101. With those Congresspersons not yet on board, Alliance members ask staff for a report on the Congressperson’s thinking and urge support.
When needed to help persuade their Congressperson, Alliance Teams get endorsements for HR 101 from community-based organizations and local elected officials. These activities are coordinated with their Alliance District Council, which is elected by Alliance members who live in the same Congressional district.
Some District Councils organize nonviolent civil disobedience with measures such as sit-ins at the offices of elected officials to increase support for HR 101. Other Councils train “birddoggers” who team up and keep pursuing their representative face-to-face until they've gotten an answer.
On the second Saturday at 10 am, Congresspersons, Senators, and the President participate in Community Dialogs. Community organizations distribute literature at tables. Participants stay after the Dialog to discuss issues informally.
Five days before the end of the month the Alliance convenes its National Council to evaluate the success of the campaign. This council “looks like America.” Their evaluation is based on measurable goals that were included in the monthly announcement. This month the goal was to get 150 co-sponsors on the bill by the end of the month. Only 140 have been obtained. After reviewing comments submitted by members online and the results of a straw poll, the council discusses whether it’s realistic to continue the campaign, and whether to accept possible amendments to the bill that would help gain more support without sacrificing key principles.
On a video conference call that is streamed live to the public, the Council decides there’s still a good chance to get the legislation enacted and directs the national office to urge members and supporters to continue building pressure in support of HR 101.
The Council is formed by the Alliance’s national staff, which is supervised by a 21-person board of directors elected by Alliance members nationwide. Without micromanaging, the board adopts Alliance policies, hires the director, and instructs the director to operate in a collaborative manner with top-level staff.
Each year, seven board openings are filled, plus any vacancies that have emerged due to resignations during the year. The national staff selects a nominating committee that recruits candidates who will maximize diversity on the board and likely be able to work together well. Alliance members can present alternative slates of candidates by gathering signatures on a petition signed by 0.1% of all members. Candidate forums are webcast live. Online discussion forums enable members to discuss the candidates before voting.
When the Council selects the focus for the next campaign, it also selects five national corporations whose support could be particularly helpful and directs the national office to seek support from those corporations. If one or more of those corporations have not provided support by the time of their next meeting, the council selects one of those corporations as the target of a boycott. Each month the council evaluates the boycott and its prospects for successfully persuading the corporation to support HR 101. If the boycott is successful or the Council concludes prospects are weak, it selects another target.
If support for the campaign grows substantially but HR 101 is still not enacted into law, the Council calls for a national one-day work moratorium. On that day, rallies and marches are held throughout the country, featuring live music, picnics, games, and fun activities. Speeches are kept to a minimum. Following that moratorium, if the President still has not signed HR 101 by the end of the next month, the Council calls for a two-day work moratorium. If support continues to grow, and prospects for success are good but the bill is still not enacted, next month the Council calls for a three-day moratorium. Thereafter, if the tactic continues to be helpful, while continuing to gather community support and engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience directed at officials who remain in opposition, the Council adds another day to the length of the moratorium until the President signs the law. Throughout this process, the Council remains open to negotiated compromises that would help enable passage and still keep the core of the bill intact.
During primary season, the Alliance presses candidates to endorse the Alliance and support its campaigns. Each season, the Alliance mobilizes to defeat five vulnerable Congresspersons who stand out as being particularly unsupportive. Success in these campaign’s helps to gain support from Congress in the futur
With each victory, the Alliance builds momentum and opens the door to fundamental reforms previously considered unrealistic -- reforms that advocates have been developing and promoting while the Alliance has built its base with incremental improvements. Grassroots attention is beginning to focus on new structures -- ways to organize society to make it more fair, democratic, respectful of individuals, life-affirming, and less damaging to the environment.
The move to compel large U.S, corporations to obtain a federal charter is gaining support. This charter would require corporations to consider the interests of all relevant stakeholders — including customers, employees, and the communities in which they operates -- and would enable employees to elect representatives to the board of directors.
Support grows for the belief that as a society, as a national community, one way or the other, the American people must assure everyone the means to makes ends meet with a decent non-poverty income. We must see to it that all workers can find a living-wage job opportunity, disabled and retired workers are not forced to live in poverty, everyone has ready access to quality health care including substance abuse services, and no child grows up in poverty.
The private sector -- businesses and charities -- help meet those goals with jobs and services, and the public sector -- local, state, and federal governments -- guarantees that we honor this moral obligation. By increasing taxes on the super-rich, eliminating wasteful military spending, and sending funds to local governments for public service jobs to meet human and environmental needs, the federal government assures everyone the means to a comfortable life.
With economic security, people no longer feel pressure to climb social ladders to protect their future. They’re more free to engage in enjoyable, meaningful, creative, and rewarding activities, including personal and spiritual development. Evermore people realize that a good life is good enough. There’s no need to keep ahead of the Jones or be King of the Hill. Many Americans still pursue higher incomes, but are no longer driven to do so by insecurity. Others are satisfied with what they have.
The Purple Alliance in the United States is one element of the global transform-the-world movement. This movement affirms self-interest, national interest, and the interests of all humanity. There’s no irreconcilable conflict between those interests. The more others thrive, in the long run, the more everyone thrives.
Regardless, we’re morally obligated to care for others as well as care for ourselves. Selfishness and self-centeredness are wrong. Obscene wealth and oppressive power-over-others undermine personal satisfaction. Partnerships are more rewarding than domination and submission.
Movements in each county are developing strong democratic nation-states that prevent damage inflicted by selfish global financial and corporate forces, and are learning to cooperate with each other for the sake of shared interests. We sign and enforce trade treaties that allow countries to protect domestic businesses that counter global warming. We’re growing national cultures that affirm a commitment to serve humanity, the environment, and life itself. We encourage people to cultivate humility, engage in honest self-evaluation, and support one another in efforts to become more caring and effective. With evolutionary revolution, one step at a time, we’re transforming the world into a compassionate community.
Most Americans don’t like the selfishness that permeates our society. We recognize negative tendencies within ourselves, know we’re not perfect, and want to be better. We know the problems we face are not only external; they are also internal. We want to nurture social and personal change. Both are essential. They reinforce each other.
In families, friendships, workplaces, community organizations, and religious communities, we can learn better how to exercise power with others in respectful partnerships. We can grow supportive communities whose members listen closely and speak openly about meaningful matters, rather than reduce each other to instruments to be used for personal gain.
An alliance that rises above the “blue/red” divide -- a “purple” alliance that backs proposals supported by a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents -- can help us overcome selfishness, build a new sense of national identity, and persuade Washington to respect the will of the people.
Rather than blaming an “enemy,” this alliance can reduce scapegoating, overcome divisions, set aside rigid ideologies, and work with others who support the same concrete improvements in public policy, even if they differ on other issues. We can push both parties to support measures backed by majorities of each party, while pursuing its own principles on other issues.
Voting is important, but not sufficient. We can’t rely on elected officials or political parties. Even more, we can’t rely on a charismatic Savior, such as Obama or Trump. Independent grassroots groups must hold politicians accountable to their promises. Action inside and outside the political system are both essential.
With proactive popular power, the American people can counter selfishness and blind ambition, create a caring economy, address ignored needs, and assure everyone the opportunity to live a good life -- moral, dignified, productive lives rooted in happiness, creativity, and lifelong learning.
With compassionate action, we can reverse global warming and take care of the environment. We can assure that the economic lives of white people and people of color are roughly equal, racist police do not use excessive force, all schools are high quality and teach empathy, affordable housing and health care is available to all, elderly people are not confined in oppressive nursing homes, and arts and cultural programs are widely available. And we can help highly troubled countries deal with their hardships, which will reduce the pressure on their people to migrate because most people prefer to stay in their homeland.
We can learn to follow our higher angels, knowing the more others thrive, the more we thrive. Even if the wealthy are forced to pay higher taxes for the common good, they will still prosper, benefit from living in a more harmonious society, and, with the right attitude, be spiritually uplifted.
Activists who hold minority opinions have an important role to play. They can highlight important issues, build pressure for change, and over time build majority support for their positions. Some issues, such as the death penalty, are either/or.
But most issues are more complicated and open to compromise. By backing positive reforms that have widespread support, supermajorities can win victories, build momentum, and open new possibilities. With evolutionary revolution, we can grow a transform-the-world movement rooted in compassion that nurtures personal, social, cultural, and political transformation -- holistic, global, systemic transformation -- with the overwhelming majority of people in most nations united.
We can enable everyone to be all they can be, enjoy life, live in harmony with nature, and form productive, creative partnerships -- while respecting legitimate authority, noble traditions, stability, and family ties -- until the world looks like a new world, people feel and act like new people, and Mother Earth no longer screams in agony.
Why not try?