Reader’s Forum — Mike Marthaller

Everything You Want to Know About Andrew Yang & the Forward Party
*But the Pundits, Politicians and Parties Hope You Won’t Ask
A Virtual Discussion Hosted by Politics for the People and Open Primaries
Wednesday, January 12th at 3pm EDT
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Red Flags as I reflect on the book FORWARD: Notes on the future of our Democracy

Mike Marthaller

As I’ve been reading Forward I have also been rereading Plutarch, Lives and essays; watching hours of Andrew Yang’s various YouTube discussion; and taking advantage of the many excellent YouTube historical presentations that supplement and reinforce my years of reading and life experiences much of it in a time before “Social Media.”

I have been reflecting on my own 80 trips around the sun and my experience in the military, federal and local government, small businesses, aviation, trucking, instructing, safety, law enforcement, corrections and efforts to offer others an opportunity to break old cycles of hopelessness, poverty, loss of self-reliance and violence.

 I reflect on my facing mobs intending and attempting to kill me because of my race or political beliefs and on my time as an elected official. 

I also reflect on my journey to become a “peace ambassador” with the realization that opening a listening dialog, both nationally and internationally, seems a key to avoiding the destruction of another revolution. Revolutions that destroy the opportunities for peaceful, well thought out evolution. Evolution that minimizes the Oh S—, quick fix unintended consequences when change is driven by fear.

I reflect on my long view of tribes, civilizations, religions, species through the various ages or stages, from hunter gathers, agriculture, industrial, information, that have risen and fallen. I ask WHY, what seems a common thread?

I come to several conclusions, although “nature” regards equal opportunity, key word opportunity, as a survival imperative. We somehow seem to reach a critical mass where we lose sight that equal opportunity also involves, no it demands, personnel RESPONSIBILITY. 

Although Mr. Yang points to the many issues we are again facing in our efforts to survive in this new world I nowhere see him acknowledge that government, who he wants to correct our challenges, or that businesses, churches, civic and social organization, political parties are composed of INDIVIDUALS, individuals programed to survive in the world as it is or is becoming. Individuals who are often fear driven to avoid the consideration that survival requires equal opportunity based on our natural gifts and free opportunity to contribute to the whole.

He often discusses the loss of jobs due to AI and the inability to retrain large numbers to “code.” He misses or avoids the uncounted good paying jobs currently begging for workers in the trades, jobs that at least the next generation will not be replaced by automation.

The “becoming” should raise a question, many questions at what point does the law of nature require us to consider are our efforts actually offering a necessary hand UP or are we prolonging the inevitable with hand OUTS. 

I consider as I read Mr. Yang’s many options and conclusions the old saw “the devils in the details” one of the details is a failure to ensure each individual has an equal opportunity to rise or fall. We would be well served to discuss just what rising or falling actually means to our species survival and to recognize that the whole must include the various choices of Individuals and groups within the whole of humanity. 

Do I see the 3rd Party, open primaries and ranked choice voting as a Tool? Yes, but unless we acknowledge that we are ALL Individuals who have a responsibility to work and contribute to the whole we are again doomed to fail?

Although Basic income has a great sound and is currently popular, I have not seen any discussion on how Mr. Yang sees our future 1, 5, 20 years in the future. Are we doomed to repeat the cycles of revolutionary change, boom and bust? I have seen no discussion on exactly what “money, Bit Coin, etc.” is. 

No discussion that in the final analysis, “money” is simply a trust-based trading media for the necessary means of basic survival, i.e. food, water, shelter.

We must have discussion on the effects the concept of a guaranteed income has on the necessary survival imperative to compete. We must discuss the many markers telling us a hungry world has come to our doors and has become successful even as WE, Americans are led to believe “Racism” is preventing success.

I would value the opportunity to sit and discuss with Mr. Yang but as I read his book, I wonder how much time he has given to studying “The Wisdom of the Ages.” Has he considered that “We, civilizations, cultures, have been here before?” 

Has he considered how his youthful experiences have colored his views of a broader biological reality? 

Peace and prosperity through responsibility.

Mike Marthaller is retired from the military, a peace activist, a City Councilmember from rural Washington, and active with Braver Angels.


Join us Wednesday, January 12th
at 3pm EDT
For a Virtual Discussion
With Forward Author Andrew Yang
Sponsored by Politics for the People and Open Primaries


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

One thought on “Reader’s Forum — Mike Marthaller

  1. As a Boomer and libertarian, I appreciate your perspective, Mike. Perhaps Andrew will address your concern about the role of government. My own observation is that over the last fifty years, our country has sold out the working class by subsidizing capitalists with loose monetary policy and low tax rates. We need to right that wrong with a basic income guarantee funded by progressive income taxes. I also favor eliminating the (regressive) payroll tax and most tax expenditures (deductions) that also favor those with unearned income.

    As MLK said in 1967, we have socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. “It is this moral lag in our thing-oriented society that blinds us to the human reality around us and encourages us in the greed and exploitation which creates the sector of poverty in the midst of wealth. Again we have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that Capitalism grew and prospered out of the protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifice; the fact is that Capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor – both black and white, both here and abroad.” I find it tragic that we have not made any real progress in correcting this wrong and in fact have managed to increase inequality in my lifetime.

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