On Tuesday evening November 13th Paul Matherny, co-chair, of Citizens Intent on Reform of Corporate Accountability, led a discussion at UUCE about the pervasive influence of corporations on our government. Along with UUCE members there were some people who attended having seen the flyer.

Paul told us about his history as an activist. He has done peer to peer campaigning against the 2004 Issue 1 defining marriage only between a man and a woman. Paul successfully fought for a local issue to control noise and pollution from railroad trains in his neighborhood. And recently Paul experienced the protester “cage” and arrest as a peace protester.

Questions and comments were elicited and there was a vigorous exchange. Jim Crowley shared a great metaphor that the government was operating like a bribed referee between business interests and the citizens interests. The failure of corporate media to report diverse news and to operate more like one homogeneous echo chamber was agreed upon as a fundamental problem. The growing disparity of income between the few wealthy and the many struggling was pointed out by Sue Crowley as the origin of most current conflicts. Stan Bradley shared his local activism in calling attention to negligent voter disenfranchisement in the Nov. 6th election in Fairfield Co.

Paul suggested that the benefit of becoming informed about national and international situations was to understand the context of local issues. And with this knowledge design citizen actions to shape a just and sustainable community. Paul has offered to share his library of documentary DVDs with the UUCE fellowship. He suggested that we consider having a follow-up group perhaps on a monthly basis where we “think globally and act locally.”

Submitted by Becca Calhoun, UUCE President