Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. (Abraham Lincoln – The Gettysburg Address)
What is ALEC?
With nearly 2,000 members, ALEC is the nation’s largest
nonpartisan, individual membership association of state
legislators. Well over 100 ALEC members hold senior
leadership positions in their state legislatures. ALEC’s alumni
include almost 80 current members of Congress and sitting
or former governors.ALEC’s goal is to ensure that each of its legislative members
is fully armed with the information, research, and ideas they
need to be an ally of the free-market system.
Over the course of the past thirty-eight years The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) corporate sector members and the legislative active members and alumni members have successfully redefined our government as “government of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations”.
Government of the corporations, by the corporations
While no corporations actively sit in our state and federal legislatures, these ALEC member corporations are faithfully represented in the state and federal legislatures by the over 2700 active and alumni members of ALEC.
At about this time, the state chairs of ALEC are sending out letters to legislators in your state, telling them that ALEC will reimburse them for up to $1,900 to attend the ALEC annual meeting to be held in New Orleans in August.
This $1,900 is donated by corporations to be spent on “tuition fees” to the annual meeting so that the corporations can be assured that they will be able to talk with our state legislators to influence corporate-focused legislation to be passed at our state legislatures.
The corporations that attend the ALEC meeting sit with our legislators, talk with our legislators, discuss new “Model Legislation” with our legislators and VOTE on “Model legislation” that they want implemented in our government, as new legislation.
This is what ALEC refers to as a dynamic partnership in its latest corporate member brochure
A DYNAMIC PARTNERSHIP
One of ALEC’s greatest strengths is the public-private
partnership. ALEC provides the private sector with an
unparalleled opportunity to have its voice heard, and its
perspective appreciated, by the legislative members.
Unfortunately, for “we the people”, the representatives that we elected to office, who have chosen to become ALEC members no longer believe in representative government “of the people” – they now serve the corporations.
For a corporate donation of $1,900 per legislator, the corporations get our legislators undivided attention for up to four meetings every year – to write, vote on and approve – “Model Legislation” that promotes ALEC “free-market” philosophy – which is specifically written for the corporations.
Government for the corporations
It is important to remember that ALEC exists for the sole purpose of promoting a “free-market” philosophy. Free market has absolutely NOTHING to do with representation “for the people” and has EVERYTHING to do with representation “for the corporations”.
Based on the research I have done on ALEC – the end result of all the “ALEC Model Legislation” is more profits for corporations and that’s all ALEC is concerned with – providing more business opportunties and/or more profit for their corporate sector members. You and I, the citizens of this great country do not, repeat do not, have anything to do with their purpose and mission, unless, ALEC can use us to further corporate profits.
What does government “for the corporation” look like? How are your legislators, who are ALEC members, providing corporations with more business opportunties and more corporate profits, at the expense of the rights of the people? Well, let’s take a look at just a few examples.
ALEC believes that government services provide an unfair competitive advantage to private sector companies and because of that the government sector is a major impediment to the ability for private sector companies to make more profit. ALEC’s solution to this is legislation that promotes privatization of government services. We see this in the news almost every day with the introduction of voucher systems to private schools, proposed voucher systems for Medicare, or legislation that promotes privatization of government services through the use of competitive bidding for government services. These are ALL ALEC initiatives.
The problem with this model is that when you have private industry supplying government services, their customer is no longer you or me – the citizen who pays for those services. When government services are privatized, the customer then becomes the government entity that contracted the service and you and I are left without a voice regarding government services provided to us – just ask the folks in Benton Harbor. Private industry is not held responsible to “we the people”.
ALEC has been at the forefront of fighting for “de-regulation”. ANY type of regulation – labor, environmental, health is open game for ALEC. The one and only reason ALEC so vehemently opposes health, labor and environmental regulations is because their corporate members see reduced profits due to regulations. In 1997, the then National Chair of ALEC, Bonnie Cooper wrote a letter to ALEC members referring to these types of legislation as “heart-strings legislation” – “written as a result of an emotional appeal rather than sound reasoning”.
When deregulation is allowed to occur or when funding for these agencies is allowed to be reduced – who loses? We the people. Legislation by ALEC members at the state and federal level that focuses on corporate profit above the appeals of their citizenry – is just plain wrong!
Over the past thirty eight years we have assumed that our government was a representative “government of the people, by the people, for the people” we can no longer make that assumption. Legislators at the state and federal level who are or have been ALEC members have changed all that.
It has become extremely clear to me over the last few months that the democratic leaders of this country and the news media want nothing to do with this issue. They would rather spend hours talking about divorces and sex scandals, than spend more than 10 minutes exposing ALEC.
Because of that – this is our issue to handle. This is our responsibility to clean up.
Action must be taken by “we the people.”
There is only one way that we can ensure that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”
Over the course of the next several elections, we MUST do everything we can to identify ALEC members at the state and federal level. ALEC does not release their full membership list – they only release enough to keep the media off their back – We must identify every one of the over 2,700 legislative (state and federal) members. See this diary and see this google doc
Once ALEC members have been identified, we MUST make sure that they are not re-elected in the upcoming elections. The only way to stop this subversion of our democracy is to remove these representatives from office. ALEC legislators are no longer representing the people – they are representing the corporations.
It is at times like this that remembering the past can be of benefit to us, to motivate us.
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
We must be
dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion
Since the time my grandparents immigrated to the United States, multiple family members of each successive generation have served in the US Forces. I write this diary in their honor and in hopes that their service was not in vain.