What if we not only stopped the destruction of our representative democracy by the corporations, the one percent and their minions, but we were able to expand and improve our representation? What if every quarter there was a voting holiday? One day a quarter where all the people directed their focus on the democracy in which they live – and citizens voted directly on even more ballot initiatives than they do today?
What if there were NO private money allowed in politics? Only public funds.
What if there were no corruption… uh, we mean no lobbying… allowed at all? That is, no money ever changes hands, and there are never “private” meetings with elected representatives. All meetings are public and recorded.
What if sunshine laws made it very hard to have state secrets that have no oversight?
What if there were no gerrymandering? No voter suppression?
What if there were mandatory voting? A citizen could vote “present,” but must vote.
And what if – for starters — the Constitution were amended in the following ways, as is suggested by retired Justice John Paul Stevens, in order to fix the damage and tune-up the Constitution. Stevens published his proposed amendments in 2014 in the book “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution.”
The “Anti-Commandeering” Rule: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges and other public officials in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
Political Gerrymandering: Districts represented by members of Congress, or by members of any state legislative body, shall be compact and composed of contiguous territory. The state shall have the burden of justifying any departures from this requirement by reference to neutral criteria such as natural, political, or historic boundaries or demographic changes. The interest in enhancing or preserving the political power of the party in control of the state government is not such a neutral criterion.
Campaign Finance: Neither the First Amendment nor any other provision of this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit the Congress or any state from imposing reasonable limits on the amount of money that candidates for public office, or their supporters, may spend in election campaigns.
Sovereign Immunity: Neither the Tenth Amendment, the Eleventh Amendment, nor any other provision of this Constitution, shall be construed to provide any state, state agency, or state officer with an immunity from liability for violating any act of Congress, or any provision of this Constitution.
The Death Penalty: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments such as the death penalty inflicted.
Gun Control: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia, shall not be infringed.
And what if all the above were just the beginning? What if the citizens of Gateway-TCR and the rest of the nation and the world were deciding on issues such as: the Warmongers Act, strict controls or elimination of inheritance, de-chartering and nationalizing corporations that get too big, accumulated wealth taxes, progressive income taxes, the chartering of “Peoples Corporations,” the “Piece of the Rock” laws, the “Fair Game Democracy” laws, elimination of the U.S. Senate for a unicameral legislature, rewriting state boundaries with the elimination of some states, proportional representation, the elimination of the Electoral College, and a series of international treaties that level the playing field and secure the environment?
How do we train the focus of the lens of our cameras on this kind of future? How would these changes in the law and changes in our own our attitudes about our representative democracy have an impact on our characters and their motivations? Obviously, budget will force us to show sparingly pieces of the visual future we imagine. Also, we believe our cameras we will be shooting mostly at human scale in anthropometric dimensions. Our characters will be mostly in walkable urban villages or neighborhoods. Our -50 | 0 | +50 careful futurism predicts that much will look the same in 2064 as it does in today. Just as much of St. Louis – at human scale – looks the same today as it did in 1964. That will leave a lot of city locations for us to use. This careful futurism strategy will keep our creative conceits in check and be an interesting challenge for producers, writers directors and actors.
Yes, we also have a social point of view. That is that systemic change in our economic and political systems are necessary if we are to survive the clear and present dangers of our times — global warming and biosphere destruction; the new gilded age, and the massive inequality of wealth and opportunity it imposes; corporate capitalism and the plutocracy it has created; and the destruction of our delicate representative democracy.
All the world’s a “sustainable” stage. In developing the series concept, we asked: What would it be like to live in a future more like Roddenberry’s Star Trek than Huxley’s Brave New World? What would life be like in a sustainable city? What would it be like to live in a place that practiced good old fashioned conservation of resources and at the same time developed advanced technology to do the same? A place that practiced “New World Business.”
Stories, film and television can help people bridge the gap between what is now and what is possible. Gateway: the City’s Reason envisions a future with mostly positive outcomes – where good old American optimism touches everyone. That’s the stage on which Gateway stories take place. And we think it’s a stage that citizens should see more of today.
A series Bible is a reference document used by writers, directors, producers and actors for information about characters, settings and other elements of the show. In many ways, we are only beginning our research into what a sustainable city will be like in 50 years. Even so, we’ve decided to publish portions of the Gateway-TCR bible in order to share the foundations of Gateway: the City’s Reason with you. We want to describe “the stage” upon which our stories will be told and we welcome your ideas.