I try to be optimistic, but someone who writes mostly articles concerning the American government and politics, it’s pretty darn hard. Maybe that’s why such a large percentage of our nation’s people under 35 seldom watch or read the news. (That does not include FOX News or MSNBC which are not news stations by definition; they are entertainment, but not very entertaining). The other problem I have is that I read so much that underneath it all I discover the truth about the headlines, and let me tell you, it isn’t pretty. This article will not be pleasant, but it is the truth. Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower all predicted the death of democracy in America, and some even predicted the reasons.
The United States of America has become an oligarchy. Our nation has approximately 320,000,000 citizens; and we are ruled by a few, 545 to be exact.
John Adams said that democracy never lasts forever; it will end at some point in time. Thomas Jefferson said that when banks became too large they would be the driving force to destroy the American ideal. Abraham Lincoln said that our nation could never be destroyed by an outside force; our destruction could only come from within. Dwight D. Eisenhower feared that we would become a nation of people who would come under the control of the military industrial complex.
The American people have no representation in Washington. Our elected officials act on their own agendas while telling the media, “the American people want,” even if we don’t. It doesn’t matter who the president is, or which party controls Congress, there exists a growing divide between the ‘haves and have-nots.’ And the Supreme Court is no longer just; it has become politicized.
When and how did the American way of life begin to unravel? John Adams said that democracy would deteriorate as capitalism flourished. Today the income gap is at an all-time high and continues to widen. Thomas Jefferson rolled over in his grave when tax payer money was given to banks which were ‘too big to fail.’
Abraham Lincoln’s prediction happened slowly, at first, but accelerated since the late 1970’s. Jimmy Carter instituted austerity programs and asked the nation’s people to support them with a spirited loyalty. Ronald Reagan declared war on the working man beginning with his termination of all Air Traffic Controllers. He also developed an economic program he called ‘supply side,’ or ‘trickle down’ economics. He reduced taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and told the American people that they would create jobs; they didn’t, they simply became greedier. Bill Clinton signed the first foreign trade agreement called The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Others followed because not only were American companies allowed to move their businesses to other countries with cheap labor, they were given tax breaks to participate. George W. Bush pushed the nation into Bankruptcy by placing America into two illegal and immoral wars, while removing all regulations on the banking industry. Barrack Obama inherited the nation’s largest deficit in history, and failed to fully protect social programs for the working class. His opposition fought to repeal them, as it moved under the control of a new and extreme political entity; the TEA Party.
Throughout this time factories and businesses closed throughout the nation. America moved away from being an industrialized nation to a service nation. And even many of those jobs were ‘farmed out’ overseas. (Have your tried to contact the service department of General Electric, or your wireless phone company, and realized you were talking to someone from the Philippines or India?) The United States slipped from first to 16th in overall quality of life. While all this was happening most Americans failed to notice that our government was amassing additional powers while voiding parts of the Constitution. Adding to the decline of our freedoms, the Supreme Court declared corporations to be ‘people.’
What did Dwight D. Eisenhower fear? He feared that our military would become under the control of men who lacked morals. He further feared that military techniques and weapons would filter down to law enforcement. Last week a secret detention center was discovered in Chicago. Had he foreseen that our country would slip off the deep end and adopt practices of torture and detaining individuals indefinitely without due process of law? Could he have known that our law enforcement agencies would use military style equipment against the nation’s citizens which was financed in part by property and cash illegally seized while bending the ‘new fourth amendment?’ Thank you ‘Patriot Act.’
Abraham Lincoln said: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Our nation is not only divided by ‘red and blue states,’ it is divided between the working class and the very rich. The division between our government and the people is a chasm which is likely impossible to cross.
Commentary by James Turnage