BY PAUL ZEITZ, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR

The election is only five months away and we have two spectacularly unqualified and unpopular candidates for president.

Although the Supreme Court found him immune from prosecution, Donald Trump was  impeached twice and charged by a bipartisan Congressional investigation. During last week’s CNN Presidential Debate, President Biden mis-stepped so badly that increasing numbers of his own party are bravely speaking truth to power and saying publicly he should step down.

The 2024 presidential campaign is tragically inflaming the widening divides in our country.

We’re faced with an urgent problem in the United States: How do we prevent a fascist authoritarian takeover, heal what divides our country, and elect competent, unifying leaders for our country?

Most Americans would think the idea of quickly convening an open National People’s Convention is unthinkable. But history shows an open convention can work.

In 1860, an open convention – hosted by the newly formed Republican Party – nominated Abraham Lincoln over William Seward, though Seward was considered the front runner. After

Lincoln successfully clinched the election, he included all four of his rivals in his cabinet.

Similarly, in 1932, an open Democratic convention—with no clear favorite when the opening gavel was struck—ended with the nomination of New York’s relatively unknown governor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who went on to win a landslide victory.

I work with activists from all walks of life. Many, especially young people, are anxious and disheartened. They feel that political violence, constitutional crises, or even an attempted coup seem inevitable.

They see how today’s societal system is one of oppression: The rich get richer and more powerful; the poor more disenfranchised. This caste system, where the haves flourish and the have-nots suffer, is tearing our nation apart.

Our government is fundamentally failing to ensure the majority of the people can achieve happiness, well-being, and financial security.  This is happening while most Americans struggle to pay for healthy food, find affordable housing, and access to adequate health care.

Our constitution is so degraded that our political system is corrupt and must be healed with a massive intervention.  The 2024 presidential campaign is tragically inflaming the divides in our country that allow caste systems and fascist authoritarianism to flourish. 

As we face the truth of our entrapment in today’s societal system of caste oppression, we must prepare for more inevitable suffering and destruction that lies ahead. However, we don’t have to be stuck in a culture of hatred, bigotry, polarization, and violence. Instead of despair, we can build “beloved community” for positive change.  Perhaps we’re at the cusp of a potentially extraordinary, magical moment.

This moment of great peril, is at the same time, a moment of great possibility.  I believe that right now we have the readiness to seize this opportunity: to bring us constitutional renewal, a new leadership for enabling a peaceful intersectional transformation of our social, economic, and political systems thereby placing love at the center of our society.  

I’m a preventive medicine physician. For 36 years I’ve worked inside, and outside, the government for the common good. To respond to this moment in our history, I launched #unify Movements as a catalyzing spark for the possible birthing of a new inter-partisan social and political movement. If we rise in peaceful resistance, this could be our response to this moment of possibility that we find ourselves in.  

“We the People” can rise with love to demand justice and peace, right here and right now.  Instead of hatred and bigotry, I advocate for all of us to listen, find common ground, and put love at the center of everything we do. 

A new inter-partisan social and political movement could unify Americans. People from all religions, persuasions, economic backgrounds, ethnic origins, and political parties, can come together to co-convene an open National People’s Convention.

An inter-partisan movement could be comprised of Democrats, principled Republicans, major third-party candidates, Independents, and the 50% of eligible Americans so disenfranchised they don’t vote.

This is a pivotal, crisis-laden moment in our history. We must not allow fascism to take hold. We the people must choose not accept a future of violence and destruction. We the people could negotiate and agree on an inter-partisan plan for constitutional renewal at the convention. Together we’ll  organize a trustworthy process to elect effective, competent leaders. 

We’ll issue a Declaration of Interdependence, stating we find strength in the diversity of our perspectives and life experiences. We are building beloved communities in all places. We’ll reject fascism and establish a government that’s truly by and for the people. And by doing so, we’ll ensure a peaceful transition to a more justice-oriented and love-centered world. 

Do you want to miss the potentially historic announcement of the “U.S. Declaration of Interdependence” at The Peoples’ 1st Convention on July 13-14, 2024 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin?

About the author: Dr. Paul Zeitz is the author of Revolutionary Optimism: 7 Steps for Living as a Love-Centered Activist and founder of #unify Movements. Thanks for reading Paul’s Substack! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.

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