Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Is America Really a Democracy?

Ask the average person on the street what form of government is utilized by the United States Of America and they will most likely tell you it's a democracy. We The People, in order to form a more perfect union . . . and all that. Of the people, by the people, for the people . . .we can all remember, if not quote verbatim, all of those great lessons we learned in elementary school history classes.

But is America truly a democracy?

Let's take a look at a couple of definitions:

Government Type 1: A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.

Government Type 2: A type of government in which huge corporations, through bribes, gifts, and the funding of ad campaigns that oppose candidates they don't like, become the driving force behind the executive, judicial and legislative branches.

Which one most accurately describes the American government circa 2012?

Your grade school memory is telling you to pick Type 1, which is, indeed, the definition of a democracy. If you're paying attention to modern government, however, there is a little voice in the back of your head that can't help but think that

Type 2 sounds eerily familiar. Type 2 is the definition of a corporatocracy, a relatively new word used to describe - that's right - the type of government the United States currently has.

Money has always been a driving force behind government, and those with money have been able to sway government or even sponsor and write legislation. But now, in a post Citizens United world, corporations and billionaires have free rein to grab as much political power as money can buy . . .which is one hell of a lot.

In reality, the Citizens United decision proved that even the Supreme Court can be bought.

Corporations were already very much in the lobbying business, but the C.U. decision opened the flood gates. Millions have been poured into elections since the decision, with billionaires like the Koch brothers - owners of Koch Industries - spending insane amounts of money to try and elect Republicans who will strip away all environmental protections, all labor unions, and anything else that would stand in the way of transforming America into a banana republic.

The ruling elites, you see, would prefer to keep the 99% from being involved in politics in any way. They use their money to make it more difficult to vote. They sponsor laws for poor people and the elderly - who can't afford a car or can't drive, and so have no need for a driver's license - to have to obtain a driver's license before they can vote. They use their influence to close voting locations in poor communities because, of course, the vast majority of poor people vote Democratic. They have spent millions to pass laws that say college students can only vote in their home communities, rather than on their college campuses, where they most certainly are in early November. College students, you see, are much more likely to punch the blue hole than the red one.

I could go on, but these examples are enough to give you an idea of what a corporatocracy looks like. More and more it looks a great deal like the U.S. of A.

Americans are not powerless to stop billionaires from dismantling the working class. Just look at what's going on in Wisconsin, where governor Scott Brown took power and immediately went to work making labor unions a thing of the past. The people of Wisconsin were so enraged at his policies that they have turned out in record numbers to demand a recall election to remove him from office. The Koch Brothers have poured even more millions into Brown's cause to try and dissuade voters, but to no avail. Not everyone can be fooled by misleading advertising and bogus "news" programming.

As it turns out, you can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

What it's going to take for America to once again resemble a Democracy is for We The People to get our heads out of our asses and start participating in the process. We've got to turn off the reality TV long enough to see what our elected officials are doing. They love it when we don't pay any attention - just ask Texas governor Rick Perry, who used Texas taxpayer money to fund his presidential campaign. Perry has been funneling taxpayer money to his rich donors for years, but it takes a presidential campaign and a national audience for Texans to reach any level of outrage regarding our governor's pervasive corruption.

Take the first step right now - sign the petition linked here to reverse the Citizens United decision.

It's time to wake up America. If we don't wake up soon we won't have anything left to fight for. It will all belong to huge corporations . . .and they won't stop until they've destroyed everything we love about this country, all in the name of adding another billion to the piles of billions they already possess.

Greed is a disease, every bit as damaging as alcoholism. The cure starts with you, and you can start by adding your name to the petition. Just make sure it isn't your only step towards helping America find a cure. Spread the word!!


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