With apologies to President Lincoln, who would surely be saddened to see the state of our nation today, our government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” has perished. It is now a government of the people, by corporate interests, and for corporate interests. We need to revive and revitalize our democracy.
We have been divided and we have been conquered. We have been divided into Democrats and Republicans, left and right, liberals, conservatives, moderates and progressives. The differences of opinion we have regarding wedge issues like abortion, gay marriage, the minimum wage, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a/k/a “Obamacare“), gun control, and immigration have been magnified and made the primary focus of our political activity.
Without downplaying the significance or importance of those issues, or of identifying with a political party, or of working within a party to get support for the issues we each see as important, the real division, the one that matters most, is between corporatists (who represent the interests of Wall Street, the big banks, and corporations) and populists (who hold the views of, and are concerned with the welfare of ordinary people).
There is a covert civil war raging in our country, but until recently only one side is aware of it. Corporate interests (Wall Street, the big banks, and some corporations) have corrupted our political system with legalized bribes (campaign contributions). They have gained nearly complete control of the Republican Party and effective control of the Democratic Party. Now populists within both parties are in open rebellion. The election of 2016 has the potential to be a transformative election.
Over 2000 years ago, Aristotle made the observation that a politician, once elected, behaves as if they have a terminal illness and staying in office is all that will keep them alive. Most politicians in office in The United States today believe that huge amounts of money are the key to getting elected and re-elected. They take the money, knowing there are strings attached, and do what they have to do to keep the money flowing.
When enough of us demonstrate convincingly to politicians, willing to sell their votes to stay in office, that OUR votes are not for sale and that no amount of money will get them elected if they are representing corporate interests instead of the common interest, change will come.
When enough of us understand that the root cause of many of our problems, and the reason many of our problems go unaddressed, is corporate control of our government, change will come.
When enough of us take the time to develop and hone our civic skills and acquire the knowledge we need to make informed choices in the voting booth, change will come.
When enough of us demonstrate, clearly and convincingly, that we will not be swayed by a tsunami of slickly produced attack ads, or glossy ads filled with glittering generalities, change will come.
When enough of us understand that government FOR the people is more likely when we rise up united to take an active role in governing and exercise our rights as citizens in a democracy, government BY the people will be the order of the day and change will come.
In the political world nothing is ever won and done. When enough of us have had enough, change will come. When enough voters vote like it matters, it will.