The United States of America is ruled by minorities! No – No! I am not talking about “those” minorities. This minority has nothing to do with race, gender or sexual preference. I am talking about the ruling class minority.
Known also as “the one-percent” who robbed us blind and continues to undercut democracy and the very foundation of the republic — “for which we stand” or maybe “stood.”
Let us start with Congress. A minority of a minority functioning through the Republican Party has abandoned the principle of one man one vote and voter equality. By conniving in almost every state through the redistricting process, legislative and congressional districts have been “Gerrymandered.” Even though Republicans receive fewer votes overall, their candidates win the elections and a majority of seats.
Democratic Candidates won over two million more votes in 2012 for congressional seats than did Republicans – yet Republicans got more seats and now control the House of Representatives.
But the US Senate fails an even more basic test of democracy. Every state has two senators. Wyoming does not have a million people. California has nearly forty million – both have two senators! No pretense of equal representation here! Added to this insult on democracy is the “filibuster.” The Senate rule originally was designed to give slave-holding states the power to stop abolitionists’ anti-slavery legislation. Fifty percent plus one constitutes a democratic vote, but not in the United States Senate, where a minority of senators representing less than 20% of the American people can stop any legislation from even reaching a vote.
Certainly in the “Land of the free and the home of the brave” the president has to be a democratically elected office? Go no further than the 2000 election, when voters elected Al Gore President of the United States! Didn’t count! Because the president is “elected” by the electoral college right out of the 1700s when you had to own property to vote and millions of human beings in our country were property!
And overlooking the US Supreme Court in the anti-democratic scheme of things would be a mistake.
Unelected and appointed for life. The court operates under no ethical guidelines nor is it answerable to any elected body. The court’s contribution to our undemocratic way of government boggles the mind of anyone familiar with its history. When the lawyers gush in passionate terms — “We are a nation of laws and not of men.” — I say, “Oh hogwash!”
Since the founding of our nation the US Supreme Court has made property rights a priority. They have effectively changed “We the People” to “We the Corporations.” They have said it is alright for the government to spy on each and every one of us and ripped the guts from the 1965 Voting Rights Act moving the South back towards its racist past.
Most undemocratic of all has been the Supreme Court’s ruling in “Citizens United.” The court ruled corporations were “persons” and money is “free speech”! Democracy requires human interaction and the court has removed humanity from civil society and replaced it with money and things.
Most of the money (i.e. “Free Speech”) in our election process comes from corporations (things) and the majority of the media (formerly a “Free Press”) is now owned by about six corporations and any ability to get your message out depends on how much free speech (money) you can buy.
It is not as if the American People have failed to notice this disappearance of our democracy. Almost without exception we (political left and right) accept the fact the government of the US is dysfunctional and broken. The approval rating of the Congress is at an unbelievable 5%. Few believe we are moving in a positive direction.
Progressive author John Nichols has written about and given our new system the perfect name and it is the title of his new book — Dollarocracy. Lets all practice together.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the Dollarocracy for which it stands ...”
Bill Johnston is a retired staff organizer of the United Food and Commercial Workers and a member of the National Writers Union (Pacific Northwest Chapter). Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From The Progressive Populist, November 15, 2013
Blog | Current Issue | Back Issues | Essays | Links
About the Progressive Populist | How to Subscribe | How to Contact Us