New Perspectives is interested in healthy living, concerned for the environment, and the transformation of the individual. Further, its interest is in the alternative movements--alternative health practices, human potential, Transpersonal Psychology, Eastern philosophy, and more.
New Perspectives has observed and reported on these subjects through their development and acceptance by the wider mainstream society. This more acceptable form has been noted as "living green" in regards to the environment and building. Wellness and so called Mind-Body approach to healing as well as preventative and integrative medicine in terms of healthy living is now claimed by the medical establishment. It is now, not only acceptable, but considered insightful and progressive to practice yoga, meditation, and vegetarianism. It is seen more prudent to be spiritual than religious.
New Perspectives has observed and reported on these subjects and movements and their merging with the mainstream society over the past twenty years. It will be interesting to see where all this goes in the future with the added element of the internet and other technologies.
New Perspectives incorporates in its statement of intention the following ideas: It explores the emergence of a new consciousness; shares breakthroughs in technology, social science and information dispersal; disseminates knowledge that may have been considered esoteric; participates in a cultural exchange of ideas; meets the challenge of finding and displaying similarities between people; and addresses current topics of interest locally and globally.
Message from the Editor
Urgency for the People to be Heard
I have published New Perspectives: A Journal of Conscious Living for twenty years and to put a completion to my work I am planning several books.
Even though my life is busy, I take the time to observe the mess the country and the government is in. It has affected me deeply.
I thought there must be something we can do as citizens to turn this around. We have a great country so let's have the actions match the sentiments. Certainly the elected officials have not improved our situation at home or abroad.
Grassroots movements begin with the dissatisfaction of the citizens with their representatives and their government. One of the mission statements for the Carter Center states, in a practical and realistic but forward thinking way, that it addresses difficult problems and recognizes the possibility of failure as an acceptable risk.
If nothing else we must be heard.
My "seed thought" or idea is to elevate the position of the people. The citizens need to know that those they elect are acting in their interest and when they are not that something is done about it in a timely manner.
Rather than to duplicate the efforts of others I wanted to see if we had an agency to take care of this. In my search I didn't find anything or anyone that serves the people in this way.
What I did find, though, was the Ombudsman program. I found out that an Ombudsman is an official who represents the interests of the public by investigating and addressing complaints reported by individual citizens.
This isn't exactly what I had in mind, I would like to see an institution, say the Office of Public Advocacy, with the power equal to that of the legislative and executive branches of the government.
Sweden has had a Parliamentary Ombudsman since 1809. Theirs acts to safeguard the rights of the citizens as a supervisory agency independent of the executive branch.
I would like to see an institution, say the Office of Public Advocacy, with equal power as the legislative and executive branches of the government.
I feel that there is no more important consideration for all of us today than fixing a dysfunctional government--disregard for its citizens, corruption and this terrible conflict in Iraq.
We need to have an organization run directly by the people to watch over the elected officials, to investigate, take action and make changes when necessary.
There are only a few countries that have Ombudsman offices on a federal level such as I am suggesting.
But it appears there might be a move in this direction.
The European Union has an Ombudsman. Each of the departments in the U.S. military has Ombudsmen and I have been told that they may be combined under one office in the future.
They deal with morale, welfare, base housing, family issues, and medical care. It appears that one of the few places the reach of the Ombudsmen hasn't been felt is in Congress.
Ombudsman offices have been set up in several states and the City of New York has its Public Advocate similar to the Ombudsman. Corporations have wanted employees to be treated fairly and have established Ombudsman programs.
In my short time in researching this project I have acquired respect for this position and I admire the integrity I sense they all have. These are just the kind of people we need working for the public to bring dignity and honesty to our elected officials in the legislative and administrative branches of our government.
The Ombudsman programs in Canadaare firmly in place. They have two kinds: The legislative can make recommendations to the "provincial legislature or to Parliament."
The executive Ombudsman reports only to the "head of the organization that they investigate, such as government departments." The Ontario, Canada Ombudsman Office is an exceptional example admired in the United States. Accountability at the provincial government level is important to them.
In the United States, the Ombudsman for Hawaii can, if areas for improvement to the government are found, "make recommendations for changes to the law, administrative rules, or operating procedures."
As it is now, in our federal government, misuse of their office by office holders affiliated with both parties is a practice.
Many of the problems are eventually addressed, but the investigations or hearings are held by their peers. It is as if you or I were investigating ourselves. Does anyone see anything wrong with that?
The biggest, most costly blunder in money and lives is the invasion of Iraq with our "shock and awe."
It further created the condition for insurgency, lawlessness, and contributed to the making of a civil war. Although Bush declared the war was over years ago the President, congress, think tanks, and the media have all been discussing the violence and our military's deaths and injuries.
While some want more troops, others want less, still many others want us to withdraw from Iraq. The situation remains unresolved. It appears it is much easier to get into a war than to get out of it.
Here again, we need to have feedback from the people--more than just public opinion polls.
What I just can't understand, is that no one speaks with any sense of urgency except maybe congressman Murtha. The office I propose would put these kinds of matters on expedite. They would be handled with a sense of urgency.
In addition to confronting the issue of lives lost, the Office for Public Advocacy would investigate the corruption and money spent in Iraq.
The last comment I want to make at this time is to qualify another reason to form an Office for Public Advocacy.
Just think of the havoc that can occur as the population of our country continues to grow and our institutions do not keep up.
With 30% of the eligible voters voting and the country getting more diverse we can't afford to put representatives in office every four and six years only to not hear anymore from them except when they want to get reelected.
We should be eager to have people (much like Ombudsmen) watching out for our interests; after all the corporations are represented by their lobbyists.
I will pursue this subject further and let you know what I find. Armed with this information, I hope you will understand how urgently your voice needs to be heard, and a fundamental change has to be made in our government.
This system has been broken for some time. Here is our chance to fix it. However to consider an office of the people or a "fourth branch," is demeaning because it should be the role of the government, all of the government, to serve the people. There are times, though, when the government needs to be reminded as to why it was formed.
The Office for Public Advocacy is a way of reminding the office holders of their duties.