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Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

So why are we focused on two men fighting for a presidency, as if the idea of controlling our future were like some kind of football game?

We tend to see politics this way because of mistakes that were made in the design of our constitutions and political systems, and because of cognitive dissonances we humans are prone to, like confusing symbols with the real things those symbols refer to. Instead of seeing “We the people” as an inherently complex, dynamic and intergenerational concept, we tend to focus on the static symbols that purport to represent a nation of hundreds of millions of people – like the presidency. And instead of empowering future generations through real family planning policies, our leadership has exploited population growth and those cognitive dissonances, vesting more and more power in themselves. As the United States population has ballooned from 3 million to well over 300 million, people have remained focused on distracting icons like the presidency, or the one person meant to to “represent” all of us, rather than focusing on empowering one another as effective citizens through good parenting. Driven by poor family planning, representative democracy replaced the possibility of real democracy, where each person has meaningful control over political outcomes.

For example, we focus on Biden or Trump as a symbol for what we want in terms of climate policy, when in reality, the population of the country – the thing driving the climate crisis and also the ultimate source of political authority – continues to grow, diluting the impact each person could have in mitigating the crisis. We are decoyed by these two men, who in the end will simply enforce, through violence, their own views on a populace they do not and cannot represent. This is iconarchy, not democracy.

Another example: We are told we live in a country that recognizes us as free and equal people. But our family planning policies carry forward historic injustices, such that our birth position places us in a hierarchy of power where some – like white families with ten times the wealth of black families – are entitled to have more freedom of opportunity and influence than others. Our traditional view of family planning dismisses our birth position as the work of god, rather than structural inequity we choose to tolerate.

Our mostly male political leaders, working with business interests, intentionally accelerated the centralizing of their power by encouraging growth and inequity, and failing to require systems that would equitably develop each person to help co-lead true democracies. In other words, they used crowding to disempower individuals. That constant growth and alienation from one another has ensured reliance upon strong, top-down, leaders. Today, many want to continue to exacerbate this process in order to use families as a means of driving economic growth. They exploit an archaic legal system that does not protect a right to nature, but defends completely irresponsible procreation as matter of right because of the population growth it creates. Yes, our archaic legal systems generally protect the right to procreate an unlimited number of children into abusive conditions and state institutions, but no right to be free in nature. This is the antithesis of freedom, and represents those at the top of our systems using everyday people to oppress one another.

To people who care about democracy, or a system that allows all people to control the rules under which they live, this is offensive. We have a right to an effective role – not diluted by hundreds of millions of people – in the political systems that impact our lives. Is it time to tear down the icons and to stop the constant political swing from left to right? Can we disempower the symbolic, meaning the leadership at the top of both the public and private sectors, and empower the real — the people themselves — from the bottom up?

The best way to do that, and the most effective way to directly address the crises we now face, irrespective of our “representatives,” is to correct the fundamental mistakes and build our family planning systems around the idea of cooperative self-determination. Instead of thinking of democracies as constituted in the past, we can instead think about having and investing more in kids as a way to constitute the democracies we want, and deserve, in the future.

Understand this: The constitution is not what you might think it is, We were not constituted by god-like men in the past, and subjected to a system over which we have almost no influence, We are constantly constituting legitimate communities or deconstituting into illegitimate forms with each child born, depending on how we plan our families. If power and legitimacy ultimately comes from the people, it necessarily first derives from their creation, and we constitute legitimate societies by limiting our power over future generations and decentralizing the power we do hold into the children we will have.

We can start by ensuring every child’s right to a fair start in life, which is the first and overriding human right, and using that right to decentralize and limit human power. If we truly believe in government for and by the people, this is the only way to achieve it – through actual people. We may engage in this process – of physically constituting democratic communities where each person matters – by taking resources from concentrations of power, and using those resources to incentive smaller families that fully develop their children.

Ready to make real change? Joe Biden is doing the same thing Trump and others have done to promote population growth over investing more in children, and building smaller and more sustainable democracies where each person’s voice matters. What’s a better idea? Let’s use the child tax credit program to create a progressively scaled family planning incentive system that promotes parental readiness, smaller families, and a fair start in life for every child. Nothing would go further in fundamentally solving our social and ecological crises. Learn more here.

Urge Biden’s kids to support this alternative, and to help offset the unearned privileges they have received in life. Learn about them here, https://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/latest/a33661848/joe-biden-children-grandchildren/. You can find ways to contact them online.

Here are several other actions you can take.

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