Today, Presidents Day, we are reminded primarily of leaders who founded our nation and those who not only led us through two wars, but helped the nation and its people recover. We should not be honoring all of the men who resided in the White House because not all of them were honorable. The question I offer on this day is this; the brave men who signed the Declaration of Independence, and wrote the Constitution created a Democratic Republic as our form of government, and because that no longer exists, what do we call it now?
The basic premise was that the people would elect representatives who would in turn take legislative action beneficial to the country and for all Americans. That idea started to perish as a two party system began to be more concerned with elections and power rather than the care and protection of the majority of our nation’s citizens.
Our founding fathers considered the most important section of the Bill of Rights the right for all Americans to vote. However, if our votes don’t count, why do we bother? If we cast a vote for a Congressman or Senator and he or she fails to vote the way we anticipated them to, expecting that person to keep their campaign promises, did we waste our vote? If we vote for a candidate for the sole reason that he or she has an ‘R’ or ‘D’ next to their name, we have very likely wasted a vote. If my state had two million people and 999,000 voted for one presidential candidate, and 1,000,001 voted for the other, all of the state’s electoral votes would go to the one with the extra vote; did my vote count if I was one of the 999,000?
The situation has worsened. On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States violated the intent of the Constitution of the United States itself. A right-wing dominated Court declared that the first amendment rights of corporations were being violated; granting them ‘personhood.’ This opened unlimited campaign contributions for our wealthiest citizens enabling them to buy elections. The case before the Court was the misnamed ‘Citizens United.’ Now not only do lobbyists have more influence over our legislators than the voting public, elections can be won with the aid of unlimited money from corporations, unions, and the wealthiest one-percent.
Voting records of our legislators prove that they are more likely to cast votes which favor donors rather than their constituents.
This being the new standard, and following the destruction of our Democratic Republic, what do we call our new form of government? By definition, it is an Oligarchy; ‘a government in which power is held by a small group of people.’ These ‘people’ are large corporations, and the wealthiest Americans. They employ our Congressmen and Senators, and supervise their every action through lobbyists. These ‘people’ even own their own entire party; the TEA Party.
A country ruled by money cannot stand; a country ruled by money creates severe income inequality; a country ruled by money will eventually fall to revolution.
Abraham Lincoln said it best: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
This is your new government my fellow Americans; and when you hear those last three words from a professional politician, understand that they are not your ‘fellow Americans;’ they believe they stand above you intellectually and financially.
Commentary by James Turnage