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Is Independence Day a Milestone in America's Battle For Democracy?
Putting the soul back into the US we all love - and a western world that follows
July 4th - Independence Day, reminded us that democracy, freedom and the power of small people over the ruling class remains as strong and vibrant as ever (??). That same day in 1776 gave birth to the United States of America and pushed the British back to, well, Britain. America completed its long journey to freedom and every year it gets a chance to relive the moment like an endless run of film sequels - making a google search for ‘Independence Day’ more a tribute to Bill Pullman than Thomas Jefferson.
Nearly 250 years later on this resounding day we get to ask “how’s that working out?”.
American’s made the decision to push back the British monarchy and its lieutenants in search of a better land - a land free of patriarchs, monarchs, oppression and enshittification. A land of opportunity. A shrine for democracy. Nearly 250 years later on this resounding day we get to ask “how’s that working out?”.
Well, America built the world's biggest economy, won a couple of world wars and created two political parties with some major staying power. They invented bombs, fast food, mass shootings, Silicon Valley and Donald Trump and with him it seemed like a new kind of insurrection was born. One placed firmly on the grave of Ronald Reagan and girded by the birth of free-wheeling (look mum, no-hands) capitalism.
A capitalism so free wheeling that one of those political parties sees no need for taxes or regulations or politicians. A Congress and Supreme Court built for and taken over (KKR style) by the ‘people’ - a bit like an old German works council - with one boot dangling precipitously in riot land rather than post war construction and the other so far up the backside of big money interests that they couldn’t find their own way with a Google Maps for colonoscopy. (It’s this way, no, its hard right down Murdoch’s Way, then a slight left curve up Jamie Dimon Drive …)
In the eternal words of the FBI ‘On January 6, 2021, following the defeat of U.S. President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, a mob of his supporters attacked the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.’ (And that was putting it lightly).
Two and a half years later it seems there is cause for concern.
Women lost their right to bodily autonomy, everyone seems to be losing their right to work in pyjamas and it looks like we’re losing twitter too. After all, if even Meta thinks they can feast on Musk’s carcass with their new Twitter thingy called Threads-because-that’s-all-that-will-be-left-of-the-birdie-when-we’re-done, then we must be in for a revolt.
At the same time, right wing lawmakers are after the LGBTQIA+ because who can remember all the letters in the acronym, never mind say it in a speech and they think woke (so pithy) means less votes for them. Plus, apparently their children are being brainwashed by the new Disney films (have they seen the original Snow White?).
And the poor American students who looked for a second like they were going to get a bit of financial respite in this inflation bending economy find themselves as stuffed as the rest of us who didn’t get big ol’ forgivable Covid loans. Proving no one is above the law (yers) and the makers of the colonscopic map.
But it seems that competition is back in fashion!
In the ashes of Twitter’s masters of the tech universe take-down by Bluesky, Spill, Mastodon (don’t misspell that one!), Notes and now Threads, competition is back in fashion after a few decades where the platforms/monopolies/Megatron’s were all the rage.
It might be time for the second US-coming and an opportunity for all of us to unleash an almighty God-given (yes, the G-word because we can be evangelical too) locust feast of competition on banks, supermarkets, energy companies, broadband providers, utilities, every-other-enshittifier including the big political parties and BT (did I say BT enough?) because we, the small people, want to rise up again just like Jesus against the rabbis or Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day - because who wouldn’t want to be like Jeff. Sorry Elon.
Maybe our promise for the next July 4th will be to put the Mel Gibson of The Patriot/Braveheart/Mad-Max back into our giddy-up and go start a new breed of companies that put the customer first again. You know, companies that robots would be happy to work for, Branson would be jealous of and Warren Buffett would invest in. Businesses with soul and passion and honesty, the honesty of staying on the side of the little people ‘cos they pay our bills! The new American way.
We, the employees (after all, in the end we all are employees), should put our customers above our managers and our shareholders because they should want to come second to these hard won folk that devote their hard-earned money, feedback and support to our products and services. Our/their products that pay for our bills and keep our lights on - even in the face of the oh so obvious greed-flation that is size zeroing our wallets.
When a customer asks for help we should jump for them - Magic Johnson style. Not for the manager asking for another pointless report. Or a consultation. Or an internal system designed to demote customer needs over shareholder returns. Because in the end if the customer suffers the shareholder suffers. And when that balance gets skewed there is something seriously amiss. A bit like January the 6th!
A devolution of the riches. A place we call sustain-ability.
So, to protect us a new kind of red, white and blue startup should emerge, one with fewer layers getting in the way of the customer’s voice - a small new team of people and AI’s that are passionate about customer satisfaction over the longer term and not just a fast buck to short cut hell. And from this new kind of business a new societal manifesto might emerge - one that puts small people, small media, small companies and small politics first. A devolution of the riches. A place we call sustain-ability.
A manifesto made for tomorrow - one that even Thomas Jefferson might buy into. I can think of a Gen X or two million that would too.
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