Billed for Our Rights

I believe that everyone has the right to have their rights not be an amendment to the system that defines them. I believe better and more deeply than our founding fathers did, that our rights are not the fodder of governments. But ingrained guarantees of freedom invested in us by our creator. My rights are not evenly planted rows of corn peppered in patches of soybeans. They are feral weeds. Should we forget to ever garden here again. I am free. Full of flowers and fuzzy grass heads and cat tails and wild medicine and poison. I don’t need a farmer for this field to yield. I need a farmer to help interact safely and amicably with my neighbors, locally and abroad. To oversee vast water tables and plate tectonics and geothermal activity. To connect the dots between surplus and need.

The time of government going through and telling you whether or not you’re full human is over. Black people did not earn the right to vote. Nor did women. They were denied this basic personhood and representation and real acknowledgment in the eyes of the government structures that dictated their lives. Intentionally. Full with purpose. We are still arguing about a system that was, by design, not designed for all of us.

The founders were not imaginative. They were not soldiers in the war for liberty. They saw tax dollars going overseas and devised a way to seize them. Threw a few Latin words together they recalled from grade school and split a crown into five hundred pieces. With the stroke of a pen, they created a new merchant level economic class. Government jobs. That die like zombies. Carcasses always reanimating in one form or another down the line. Not like fashion. Or farming. Or the oil industry. A couple hundred men, some paper, and a pen, redirected a new world’s worth of exported taxes right back to them. And constructed a system that guaranteed themselves positions, and platforms to prop up their children. Representative government makes a monarchy of democracy. A crown broken down and split into a thousand different disease resistant careers.

They didn’t get freedom right, because that was not what they sat down to write.
The best we can do to honor our founders, our ancestors, is to imitate their impulse to revolt.
To revolution. Whenever. However we can. To write out and rewrite our rights.
Our expectations of governments. Of ourselves.

But we have to recognize the flaw of this system is at its base. It’s in little words.
Words like our. For instance. In full regards to the framers of our constitution.

Their our was less than half of our’s.

That doesn’t call for an edit. Or a rewrite.
It means we go back to the drawing board.
Or in other words.

One more American revolution.

Project Local: How Everyone Deserves Time Out

As children, it is used as a punishment, but once we’re grown, the prospect of time out loses its sting. In fact, it becomes a sort of treasure. It isn’t a matter of being unfulfilled in your career or house or pace of life. People can be perfectly happy where they are, and still desire, time to time, to be somewhere entirely different. We are already doing it. Vacation. Sabbatical. Invaluable time off. Letting escape take us in little moments we purposefully didn’t prepare for.

Project Local seeks to intentionalize this process. To just go on ahead and out loud embrace this new modern breed of being partially nomadic within our domesticity.

Instead of fully transplanting every time, we will reorganize our lives like a vine. Always extending out from a solid, central, local base. An internal sense of home. And the requirements that make it so. Enough space for yourself, mentally and physically. Room to lay down some roots, figuratively and literally. Grow some food. Pursue a local water source or two. Or understand the community infrastructure required to provide any basic, daily, lifelong necessity. A home is not an island. Nor is it a clock whose gears and winding and ticking hands are all controlled, contained in the palm of our hand. The network of infrastructure, pipelines, reservoirs, the bulbous shaped water tanks that loiter our small town horizons, down to the very taxes paid by you and your neighbors, to help share the mutual cost of every shower, every dripping faucet, every dark soil soaked garden steaming in the late evening summer heat.
We can pretend that these things are merely products.
But that doesn’t make it so.

It just so happens, that for all our taxes, all our decades of standardized trial by fire tested education, we don’t actually earn ourselves any naturally reoccurring resources for existence. A human is meant to generate enough value, right off the bat, to pay into someone’s rental business, or be taxed by the acre, or pay monthly into a mortgage, just to have a simple source of shelter. Not to mention a bite to eat. I’d hate to take up all your time trying to explain how much time we have to steal to pay for every meal. And every bill that gets sent to make sure each spigot spits up that hopefully clear, hopefully clean, overly cold sacrament.

There is no time out. Not for these commodities. They make such nice neat little local monopolies. You just have to figure out how to sell someone something that falls from the sky. Or grows from the ground. Or depends on you living near a town.

And what you have then is not simply a consumer, but consumers for life.
And an economic class system, from which there is no longer the threat of time out.