Reader’s Forum — Catana (Barnes) Malinowski

Catana Malinowski

The Politics Industry, by Katherine M. Gehl and Michael E. Porter is a good reminder of who is supposed to be in control of the political process in our country, but it is also a cautionary note about the fact that our political process has been hijacked by the two party duopoly and that the system is not working for us, “We The People.”  There are many points made in the book about who makes election laws and rules, some arbitrary, as well as who it is that has the ultimate power to change them…”We The People.” As a lifelong activist, a long-time leader in the independent movement and a recently derailed independent candidate for a state senate seat, due to rigged rules and COVID-19, I found the rallying cry for unity to be the most important message. However, I truly believe that unity is the greatest obstacle we face.

I have lived all over the United States, have recently moved to another state, and have found that we, as a nation, are anything but united. I agree with the message in Chapter 6, “Laboratories and Principles,” that we must be mindful of the individual uniquenesses of each state and how they operate, but we also need to find the ways that the states are all alike, the similarities, or we, as a nation, are certain to fail as divided individuals. I feel Chapter 6, “Laboratories and Principles,” also provides the best examples about division and unity. On pages 158 and 159, under “Localize, Localize, Localize,” I found two statements that stand out:

Again, the unique personalities and histories of our fifty states are some of America’s greatest strengths, but this individuality can and will bite back if not respected.”

…While national politics takes place through the filter of the media circus, local politics by and large does not. It is thriving because we are in an era of low social trust. People really have faith only in the relationships right around them…”

My concern, then, is that if we focus on local only rather than local plus national as a whole, We The People will fail to unify our nation for the greater good and we will lose our ability to regain our collective power.

Catana Malinowski is an independent leader with the National Election Reform Committee (NERC).


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Founder of the Politics for the People free educational series and book club for independent voters. Chair of the New York County Independence Party.

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