Well, I guess it’s time to wade back into the cesspool that is American politics. It’s time to get our ‘hopeless’ on. Not just metaphorical or spiritual hopeless. Actual rock solid, empirically provable hopeless. As in no possible improvement and probably can’t be fixed hopeless. So open your mind and close your nose, cause this is gonna stink…
There’s a really simple and elegant way to judge governments. In a dictatorship the powerful get to set the rules. In a democracy the majority has that role instead of the rich. In theory we live in a representative democracy. Behind all the checks and balances, the elections and rules, the fancy talk and two party vitriol, is this one simple idea: The majority’s voice is more important than the rich and powerful. We. the people, are in charge. So is that what’s happening?
Let’s try not to get hyperbolic or partisan. Instead let’s look at what the federal government has done over the last 10 or so years and compare that with polling data that reflects the will of the people. And to be fair let’s only look at issues where at lest 2/3 -3/4 of the people are in agreement. No close calls or party line votes. And let’s also ignore which party killed the bill because we all know that both parties feed at the same money troughs. So, what do we have?
* Right now the very very rich pay a much lower tax rate than everybody else. Almost the entire voting populace thinks this needs to be fixed. Yesterday the Senate killed the idea, guaranteeing that billionaires continue to pay less than their pool boys.
* The oil companies are very profitable. No big news flash there. Since they’re making so much profit they don’t really need to be paid millions of our dollars in government subsidies. It just isn’t necessary and serves no useful broader purpose. Left, right and center agree. So why did congress kill a bill that would have eliminated them?
* No one wants to be at war in Afghanistan right now. It might well have been a good idea to eliminate the Taliban 11 years ago but enough already. Polling has been consistent for years. Bring the troops home now. Nope. Well, maybe in 2014. Maybe. Some of them.
* Everyone, and I mean everyone, agrees that big money donations are fouling up our elections. The undue influence of lobbyists and political action committees is universally reviled. Hell, nearly every politician tries to run as an ‘outsider’ who will ‘clean up Washington’. There is absolutely no credible effort by the government to change the rules and restore fiscal democracy to the system. Not one.
* When it comes to healthcare the most popular polling result is to expand medicare to everyone in the population. This simple solution was never even allowed to be considered. The Insurance industry is just too powerful.
* Here’s an easy one. Should the government buy weapons systems that the Pentagon DOES NOT WANT? Of course not. Except that’s exactly what congress has done repeatedly. I’m totally fucking positive that is not what their constituents want.
* After the giant economic clusterfuck caused by the banks pretty much every American not in the banking industry agreed on two things; punish the people who committed fraud and make sure that rules are in place to keep it from happening again. Neither thing happened.
* Did you know that in some states your employer just gets to keep the tax money that’s withheld from your check? Or that in many cities big box stores just keep the sales tax they charge you? I didn’t think so. But it’s true and the trend is growing.
* The TSA , the Patriot Act, and the despotic clauses in the NDAA are reviled by almost everybody. They all passed with nearly unanimous votes.
I could go on and on but you’re smart enough to have noticed the pattern by now. And isn’t just perception. Larry Bartels, a professor of Political Science at Princeton, did an exhaustive study and concluded that the data proves our elected officials listen only to their wealthiest constituents. It’s time to face the facts. The majority of the people of the United States of America no longer have the ability to regulate, tax or control the wealthy and powerful. We are no longer a democracy.
I’m still not being hyperbolic. We, the people, are unable elect anyone who can reign in the rich and powerful. In the last couple of decades there is not ONE SINGLE TIME when the needs of the people won out over the whims of the elite. According to our very simple metric of whether the majority has control over the powerful or vice versa, WE JUST AREN’T A DEMOCRACY ANY LONGER. Even our checks and balances are failing. The Supreme court has devolved from being the ultimate objective arbiter to just another partisan mess. The Bill of Rights, a document to protect our most important rights from both the government and the tyranny of the majority, has been gutted and left for dead. Our system has failed.
So now what? The great shining city on the hill, the last best hope for democracy in the world, no longer qualifies. True patriots should be weeping and tearing their clothing. Instead we look for easy scapegoats and fight amongst ourselves over meaningless bullshit. We call each other names and demonize anyone who has an original thought or speaks up. We put a lot of ourselves in jail. Cynicism rules the day. After all, don’t we have the government we deserve?
NO NO NO. We deserve better. I won’t give in to the hopeless. This system is dead but from it’s bones a better, more evolved system can rise. The Bill of Rights can be resurrected. Elections can be made meaningful. Fear and cynicism can be defeated. Money and Corporations can take their rightful place at the BACK OF THE BUS. This is the revolution that needs to come. And soon. So oil up those guillotines and pour powder into your muskets. The American Spirit needs to rise again. The tyranny of the elites will be ended. Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion!