Until the war, I was never involved in politics because I was (and am) inspired by Buckminster Fuller's design science revolution. Fuller cautioned that politics is often like beating your head against a brick wall. He reasoned that by building science, mathematics, engineering, technology and other infrastructures, people will spontaneously "choose the bridge and not hazard the raging river below". So I became a leader in the Philadelphia area Linux community founding several technology-focused groups to build the computer revolution. I also started a successful small business, LinuxForce, to provide Linux software and support.
"You can't better the world by simply talking to it. Philosophy to be effective must be mechanically applied." -- Buckminster Fuller
In following the rush to war in the fall of 2002 I saw how the warmongers were overwhelming the media with their "expert" opinions. They used the industrial technology of public relations marketing to convince most Americans of things which turn out not to have been true. They did it extraordinarily effectively. I now realize that the media is a technology ... it is our most polluted educational technology resource.
My first anti-war initiative was to revamp my web site http://www.cjfearnley.com to better reflect my values for the pursuit of humanity's option for success, the importance of integrity and the design science revolution. I strongly believe that if Humanity understands its options it will choose wisely. So I focused less in fighting the Bush war frenzy, and more in building the case for humanity's choices. I also started a new organization, SNEC, Synergeticists of the North East Corridor to carry on the pragmatic philosophy of Buckminster Fuller.
As the war unfolded, I became increasingly upset and frustrated. When the government seems hell bent on leading America to ruin with both its foreign and fiscal policies, even a humble design science revolutionary with a growing business to run thinks about putting on his helmet to pound on that brick wall. So I started watching the Democratic candidates to see if any of them offered hope. Howard Dean's pragmatic, realistic, facts-based approach resonated deeply. It even sounded a bit like Fuller's design science revolution what with its unorthodox emphasis on the science of facts. I was hooked, but even though I made my first baby steps into politics I was still cautious since I knew that brick walls are very, very hard to break down.
After Dean gave his "Great American Restoration" speech, I realized that his campaign of mouse pads and shoe leather was growing a lot like the Linux revolution: spontaneous, idealistic, pragmatic and energetic. So I endorsed my first political campaign. Indeed I endorsed the campaign and not the candidate because I felt then and still feel that this campaign that Dean initiated is more important than any political office (even more important than the Presidency). I was so excited --- Dean reminded me of this quote:
This is a time for a loud voice, open speech, and fearless thinking. I rejoice that I live in such a splendidly disturbing time. -- Helen Keller
Now that the active campaign is over, I see fairly clearly where we need to go from here. We need a multi-faceted plan to grow and strengthen the movement especially as a cultural phenomena. I have identified twelve initiatives that I think we should pursue in concert:
We also need to give our movement a sense of mission to inspire our constituents and help attract new members. I am not completely satisfied with my mission statement, but it gives a basis for future discussion:
"This is a campaign to unite and empower people everywhere. It is a call to every American, regardless of party, to join together in common purpose and for the common good to save and restore all that it means to be an American." -- Howard Dean
I think the future is so exciting. Dean has awakened our sense of common purpose to solve our most pressing problems and to strive for a more perfect community in America and around the world. I strongly feel that we have already changed the world, changed the tenor of debate and discourse in America. Now we need to "mechanically apply" that groundswell of interest to the full range of our cultural institutions both inside and outside government. To make it concrete, tangible and apply it daily. I hope that we build a whole culture and not just a political movement. Politics goes in cycles and is very brutal. To make something lasting we need to build sustainable non-governmental, non-political organizations too. We need an independent think tank, a newspaper, a radio show, a TV show, in addition to our blogs, mailing lists, forums and meetups. We will not succeed if we only tear down what is broken, we must also build new institutions that will sustain our values through many swings of the political pendulum. We need to infuse the whole of America with our pragmatic values to strive and to bit-by-bit succeed in making America and the whole world work for 100% of humanity and without offense to anyone.
DFA's mission is to organize citizens to restore greatness and high moral purpose to the American community and its government. In particular, our mission is to restore ("take back") the power of American government to ordinary Americans.
We endeavor to achieve our mission by upholding the principles that have brought us together, that each of us has a duty and a responsibility to our fellow citizens in America and around the world to work together in common purpose for the common good, that each of us has the right and responsibility to stand up for what we believe even when it isn't popular, that each of us has the right to be accepted and respected for our hearts and souls despite our diverse viewpoints and cultural backgrounds, that our government is strongest when it operates of, by, and for the people and does not give special consideration to the monied interests, that our government ought to provide equal rights to everyone, that our government must always abide by the facts of experience as truly documented and presented to the American people, that our governement officials must uphold the highest standards of decency, honesty, integrity and standing up for ordinary Americans, that our government must extend its planning policies for small business, educational and health care issues to 20 years and extend its planning policies for environmental issues to 100 years for forward outlook and prophylaxis, and that our government must always act fiscally responsible so that our institutions remain eternally sustainable. Our foreign policy must serve as an honest broker to resolve conflict and better support all humanity while ensuring our national security.
"This is a campaign to unite and empower people everywhere. It is a call to every American, regardless of party, to join together in common purpose and for the common good to save and restore all that it means to be an American."
-- Howard Dean
These documents define the scope of the movement that Howard Dean has embraced to take our country back for the people by the people and of the people. They are documents of hope for what America can become. Read them and see if you too feel that Howard Dean for America is the campaign to join to improve America.
28 January 2004
Thank you for your campaign FOR America! You inspired me to switch to the Democratic party. You inspired me to be involved in politics for the first time in my life. By standing up for your values regardless of popular opinion, you have demonstrated the qualities of true leadership. By speaking your mind so eloquently you have rekindled the hope that America can repair its frayed sense of community both internally and with the rest of our "one-town" world. By challenging us to speak out with our own voices in our own way, you have inspired America for the first time in a generation!!
I did not and do not support your campaign so that you can run FOR President, instead I support it because of what your campaign has done and is doing FOR America. The name of your campaign sets it apart from all the others: it is the only one that is FOR America and not simply and vainly FOR President. That is important to me.
Dr. Dean, your values and your vision for America are so inspiring, so incisive, so pragmatic, and so passionate. The other Democratic candidates have adopted most of your message already. At this rate we will be able to write most of the party platform, even if the nomination goes to one of them! You have already changed the Democratic party! You have already changed America!! And WE really appreciate that!
I want you to pursue your candidacy all the way to Boston ... win or lose. Not because I want to scrape out a victory regardless, but because you have The Voice that is changing America, that is changing the Democratic party. You alone among candidates does not need to be elected President to change America! Therefore, I have decided to contribute another $100 to your campaign. I will not be disappointed if you do not win the nomination, the only thing that would disappoint me is if your voice retires before the Boston convention. Since we need change so badly in America; and, I am convinced that, right now, you are the only one who knows what to say and how to say it.
We, your early and most committed supporters, will always remember that it was you who woke up the Democratic party. You helped America find its forgotten voices and its forgotten values once again. You showed us how to revitalize our democracy with the Great American Conversation. You are the one who raised the level of the debate in the Democratic party to its highest level in decades. You are the one responsible for the high voter turnout in IA and NH.
Do not succumb to any pressures to end your candidacy early. The other candidates have failed to develop their own message, so I am concerned that without you in the race they will not know what to say!
Finally, you can count on me to continue to participate in the Great American Conversation.
Keep up the good work!
Thank you and godspeed!
I went to Dean for America's Letter writing application and wrote the following hand-written letter to an Iowan.4 January 2004
I am writing you from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania about the Howard Dean for America campaign.
Seven of my formative years were near Mechanicville in upstate New York at the edge of where the Hudson River's alluvial plain sharply turns into a steep hill and where our nearest neighbors were the corn fields in the plain. I learned two lessons from those seven years growing up in a rural environment: an Earth-grounded pragmatism and a love for the calm quiet of nature. Now I am President of a small high-tech company only a stone's throw from Philadelphia. Life is full of changes!
Until June of 2003, I never participated in a political campaign. I followed Buckminster's Fuller's admonition that it was better to work to make the world better than to try to persuade others about it. But the fraying of the fabric of America's community through 2 million plus lost jobs, an enormous federal deficit, a regressive tax cut that I am paying for with increased property taxes and health insurance, a large loss of value in the dollar against the euro, and an overly aggressive Attorney General who stripped at least one US citizen of their right to legal counsel. Equally troubling to me is the growing loss of respect for America around the world due to the preemptive attack on Iraq, walking away from the International Criminal Court, the Kyoto Protocol, dissing the United Nations during the Iraq debate, and more. These concerns and the message of hope that Howard Dean offers, engaged me to help "take my country back".
In my view the most important quality about Howard Dean that shows him to be the type of President that America needs is his emphasis on facts and not ideology. Too much of current American political commentary is steeped in ideology and trend watching. Talk radio, TV news, even newspapers are filled with elaborate ex post facto rationalizations that are bandied about as if they were facts. America needs to start paying attention to the facts and we need a politician with horse sense NOT ideology. Howard Dean is the only candidate whose thinking process is focused on the facts and not a predetermined ideology or worse a waffling poll-follower. Recently Dean has been much criticized for his failure to pander to the ideologues, demagogues, and trend watchers. But if you look at Dean's actual comments in their full context, you will see that his quotes are almost always reasonable, and facts based. For example, just after Saddam was captured, Dean warned that his capture would not make America safer. Shortly thereafter our terrorism alert level was raised to "High" and more than 20 brave American soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq. Yet again, Dean's incisive understanding of the facts about the situation in Iraq have proved to be based on horse sense and are not "impertinent gaffes". We need Howard Dean's wisdom to help us fix the mess in Iraq.
In my view, most of the Democratic Presidential candidates have pretty good policy positions. What makes Howard Dean stand out as the best Democrat to lead our country is his positive vision for America. This vision was first laid out in his speech "The Great American Restoration" on 23 June 2003 and is perhaps most poignantly laid out in the document that I enclosed "Common Sense for a New Century".
Please look closely at the campaign of Howard Dean. You won't agree with Howard Dean on every issue (I don't either), but I think Howard Dean represents the best hope that America has to turn the tide against the growing influence of special interests. As a fellow American, as a business leader, as one who grew up with rural corn fields as neighbors, I ask you to consider caucusing for Howard Dean on January 19th and joining the Dean for America campaign.Thank you and Do Enjoy!
Probably my biggest reason for supporting Howard Dean is that he is the candidate that best expresses the most fundamental problem with the Bush administration: weak on facts, predominant with ideology.
The Politics and Science web site investigates the evidence that the Bush administration is corrupting the factual scientific investigations that are critical for us to make informed decisions about identifying and seeking to address the problems facing America, Humanity, and the Planet Earth.
Note this quote from Gore's August 7th speech to MoveOn speech:
The 2001 winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics, George Akerlof, went even further last week in Germany when he told Der Spiegel, "This is the worst government the US has ever had in its more than 200 years of history...This is not normal government policy." In describing the impact of the Bush policies on America's future, Akerloff added, "What we have here is a form of looting."
This reminds me of R. Buckminster Fuller's book "Grunch of Giants" where GRUNCH stands for (Gross Universal Cash Heist).
I think Grunch is an excelent meme to emphasize the horror of $800 billion dollars vanishing from the US treasury in just three years.
I am registered Independent and, until now, have never supported or written for or against any political candidate. In general, I think that working to make the world better is more important than persuading others about politics. However, the severity of the problems facing the World today (the economic crisis and the crisis in global security especially the presently neglected issues of environmental and energy security) and the message of Howard Dean have persuaded me to take a stand for his new voice speaking to restore the ideals of America: to restore our government's commitment to the values of community, equality, opportunity and justice for all. I am endorsing the Howard Dean for America campaign because Howard Dean stands for the type of restoration and regeneration that I believe America needs. Howard Dean has struck a nerve: his vision for America is powerful, his insight into America's problems is incisive, and his independent thinking is refreshing and will help us renew our core values as Americans.
The most important issue when choosing a leader is the question of what values they care most deeply about. The important values that Howard Dean stands for are restoring the American values of financial strength through fiscal responsibility, responsible stewardship of our land and natural resources, health care that no one can take away, restoring our role as a world leader by setting a positive example, working together to meet the challenges facing the global community, and making the American flag stand for freedom and justice for all, all around the world. In my view these are the most critical issues facing our nation today. Howard Dean's positive voice addressing these values is just beginning to be recognized for its vision and incisiveness and appropriateness and energy. His is the voice that should represent America in the office of the President for the next four years.
This is a time for a loud voice, open speech, and feerless thinking. I rejoice that I live in such a splendidly disturbing time.-- Helen Keller
For these reasons I am endorsing the Howard Dean for America campaign. Please read his inspirational speech The Great American Restoration at http://blog.deanforamerica.com/archives/000481.html, and his speech Restoring American Leadership: A New Direction for American Foreign Policy at http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6456 and visit the campaign's official website Howard Dean For America at http://www.deanforamerica.com/ to learn more about the most compelling candidate running for President of the United States of America.
I am maintaining a page about my support for the Howard Dean For America campaign at http://www.CJFearnley.com/deanforamerica.html.
Christopher J. Fearnley
240 Copley Road
Upper Darby, PA 19082-4016