Director of Politics/Business:
(Insert name here)

You don’t believe that informed and active citizens can cause meaningful change? Consider Walgreen’s fast reversal of policy when outraged citizens shed light on its tax inversion plan to join other American corporations in avoiding U.S. taxes by merging with a foreign company. Much more work is necessary to stop tax inversion and similar tax evasion schemes, but the Walgreen’s example shows how one united action can pave the way to more extensive democratic change. (See the 8/26/14 PBS Newshour report, How American companies change their address to avoid corporate taxes for more details.)

A similar example of citizen outrage resulted in Martin Shkreli getting banned from the pharmaceutical industry for life and a $64.6 million fine after he raised the price of a life saving drug by more than %5,000. (See Dominic Rushe’s article Martin Shkreli barred from drug industry and fined $64.6m by US court.)

Not all counterproductive laws and practices can be changed quickly, but with sufficient support and determination even the most intransigent bad laws and practices can be changed. Consider, for example, the long-term effort that will be necessary to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s anti-democratic conclusion that corporations are people and money is speech. (See David Kaiyrs’ article Money Isn’t Speech and Corporations Aren’t People and Ronald Dworkin’s article The Decision that Threatens Democracy.)

The 2016 anti-establishment election results surprised me as much as the erring pollsters. My writings were also anti-establishment, feeling that both major parties had failed us. This sentiment is represented by a large turnout of Americans who voted anti-establishment. What I didn’t foresee, however, was the number of angry voters who appeared to vote against their self-interest. (See Thomas Frank’s 2004 book What’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America.) Did they vote against their self-interest? Do they need better education as proposed by my definition of the civic standard?