Donning a crown of thorns and robes of red and white, Donald Roth, student, dressed as Jesus for Halloween sits at a brown table, with a brown cardboard tri-fold display and a simple white piece of paper advocating for a second Bill of Rights.
Roth is the leading officer for the student club United Federal Republic (UFR).
“[We are] advocating for a second Bill of Rights of food, water, energy, infrastructure, knowledge and productive abilities,” says Roth.
Roth says he believes these rights are necessary to survive in our changing world.
“For surviving things like climate change. As we saw over the summer, disasters are getting worse and worse,” says Roth. “The goal of the second Bill of Rights it to provide self-sufficiency and self-sustainability for every community.”
The UFR and Roth, advocate for the use of the four pillars of leadership in their Bill of Rights.
“We advocate the four pillars of leadership: direct democracy, representative democracy, meritocracy and technocracy,” said Roth. “And through those systems a hope to provide institutions and social structure can provide the rights properly.”
The idea of this second Bill of Rights was not created by Roth, but has actually been around for 70 years.
“[I was] inspired by Franklin Roosevelt’s second bill of rights, which he called the Economic Bill of Rights, that he proposed to congress in 1945,” says Roth. “It’s just a modern version of that. Most of the rights that he had included were health care, adequate pay, social security and business protections.”
“I’d like to think that Jesus would approve of that sort of stuff,” says Roth. “Trying to take care of fellow humans, treat each other the way you treat yourself.”
His ideas on a second Bill of Rights, and similarities with Jesus aren’t why Roth wore the robes. He says it was because of the hair. Roth has long brown hair, and a thick goatee and beard.
Though Roth says he is a gnostic atheist, he can see similarity in the second Bill of Rights and Jesus.
Roth says that though he is wearing the robes that portray him as Jesus, it’s purely a costume.
“Since I’m not a Black-Palestinian man, I don’t try to pretend that it’s actually Jesus, but it’s more the image, so to speak,” says Roth.
Leading the UFR
“[The club] kinda works on an open basis, so that people are able to act in their own way towards these goals; because it’s not something that can necessarily be directly organized,” says Roth. “So that people, if they are trying to better the world, they are already a part of it. I’d say there are a half dozen to a dozen people who come to the meetings. I also live stream everything.”
Along with FDR’s Economic Bill of Rights, Roth also draws inspiration from the book “Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge” a collection of scientific essays edited by Damien Broderick.
“The main goal of the UFR is to see humanity survive. ‘Year Million’ is a book that theorizes what humanity will be like at the year one million,” says Roth.
Roth says the plan to ensure the survival of humankind starts with our sustainability here on planet Earth.
“To create a type-one civilization, there is a scale called the Kardashev Scale and it is a way of registering civilizations on a cosmic scale,” says Roth. “A type one civilization is essentially the first stage of becoming a [multi-planet] species. The eventual goal, idealistically, to form a human collective that would allow us to expand into space.”
The UFR meets at 4pm in Galileo’s Pavilion 101 every Tuesday, but for those who cannot attend the videos of every meeting are available on their Facebook page.
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