Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Dirty Little Secret

I'm going to let you all in a secret. It's a secret that many of us long suspected; maybe even whispered among our family or closest friends, but rarely out loud for fear of being label part of the lunatic fringe. Intuitively, we know America long ago ceased being a democratic Republic. Our Founding Fathers set out to create a nation based on the Roman Republican model, which, seen from the eyes of the Enlightenment, was the ideal form of government; a government whereby the citizens would elect representatives from among their fellow community leaders to go to Washington and represent their interests, and that of the nation. There was no intention that these representatives would belong to a political party (which the majority of Founding Fathers abhorred as divisive) nor for the creation of a professional ruling political class (which was hateful to them). In fact some, like Jefferson, thought the representatives shouldn't even be paid and considered it simply as part of every citizen's civic duty. This was to be essentially a middle class nation ruled by citizen legislators with power localized.

Fast forward to the early 21st Century and take a look around. What you see isn't something new. It's been here for decades, if not for most of the last two centuries. It's been out in the open, and it's been hiden away. We had crusader politicians come along to expose the secret, and we've had politicians come along to shuttle the secret back into the shadows. More often than not, most of the politicians were a little of both. So, what's the secret?

I couldn't quite put my finger on it until the Obama, a Democrat, brazenly bailed out failing banks when the American People overwhelming said "no". We've all been taught that we are responsible for our decisions, good or bad. It was how the country functioned economically. But, it was as if our voices didn't even matter. Following additional bailouts of automakers and Wallstreet, it apparently didn't. Congress and presidents Bush II and Obama have repeatedly ignore demands by the public to end illegal immigration and require make English our official language. Again, our voices fell on deaf ears. Once more, Americans asked "what the hell? Who is the employer and who is the employee here"? It didn't make sense that politicians would put their careers on the line by so arrogantly ignoring the voters unless there was something else in play.

Then it hit me. The US Supreme Court, in its "Citizens United" ruling, slammed not just the American voters, but our entire political process by declaring that these artificial entities, designed simply to create money for their owners --- corporations --- had not just the same "rights" as you and I, but those rights were even greater because of their wealth. Whereas you and I are limited by federal campaign election laws as to the amount of money we can contribute to a candidate, "Citizens United" said the corporations were free to donate what their boards of directors wanted. Thus, our First Amendment right, the freedom of speech was equaled to money, and because corporations had more of it, they obviously have a greater measure of that right than flesh and blood people.

With the federal government's bailing out of these same corporate entities, again using our money without our collective permission, the secret became openly apparent. America was now a Corporate Republic. We are no longer citizens of a country, but merely consumers in a global economy. Congressional districts have been minutely gerrymandered as to make it nearly impossible to defeat an incumbent and thus ensure the continuity of the corporate sponsorship. Elections have become so expensive, that unless you're either part of the moneyed elite or sufficiently connected, an average citizen stands little chance of getting elected. But to prevent those rare exceptions or "misguided" crusaders who do, their energy and reformist zeal are siphoned off into various committees and subcommittees. Refusal to participate is unheard of thanks to party whips and enforced conformity. Power to get one's legislation is carefully controlled by committee chairman. As former Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn famously once said, "to get along, you have to go along". Resistance to the political machine is indeed futile.

It was now no longer stage managed. The facade was dropped and the illusion of a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" was dropped once and for all. The role of the federal government was to provide legitimacy, taxpayer money, and the power (read: threat) of the federal government to enforce the needs of the corporations. Their silent errant boys and girls, aka lobbyists, would continue their behind the scenes roles of relaying instructions. Washington would redirect money you and I pay in taxes to serve the needs of corporations rather than our communities. To be sure, PR firms would have to step up their sleight of hand propaganda by redirecting the American People to focus on the supposed "goodness" these parasites were doing, if only we wouldn't look behind the curtain for if we do, the "benefits" they bring could suddenly vanish and reappear in a more appreciative and compliant community or cheap labor country thousands of miles away.

Those who dare peek behind the curtain and speak out are quickly consigned to the realm of "fringe" and every effort is made to condemn and belittle them as "crack pots", "extremists", and simply dismiss them. The most dangerous ones are intentionally ignored. A few a made examples of, such as the recent former US Marine who was arrested for his anti-government posts on Facebook. For the vast majority of the public, however, they are mesmerized with mindless pabulum of so called "reality TV", video games or some other mind numbing stimuli which stifles the will or need to think. Most are too tired and stressed to think anyway. Make it instant. Make it effortless. "News" for those still inquisitive, is filtered, shifted, and feed in baby spoonful sizes. Gerber's for Intellect. Just enough to feel "informed" but not enough to question the official line. Most are just trying to find or keep a job anyway. No one feels secure enough to rock the boat. Even unions tow the corporate line while the rank and file have forced to "donate" to candidates they don't even know through mandiatory deductions. Keep the masses docile and preoccupied, or as they said in Imperial Rome, "feed on bread and circuses".

Perhaps, to paraphrase an expression of my generation, it's time to tune back in and turn off the background noise. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves and each other just what it is we need (not want) government to do. Remember, government doesn't earn money. It produces nothing. It exist only by taking money (supposedly with our consent) and redirects to the cause or function we collectively agree to. Perhaps, given the global world we now live in, we need do this globally. It's time for working men and women to truly unite and refuse to be artificially divided by politicians. The other option is to follow the illusion of choice further down a road to the Corporate State and certain economic serfdom.

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