How do we Define our Government?

How do we Define our Government?

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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

Sources:

Open Secrets.org

Pew Research

Al Jazeera America

Photo Courtesy of Gage Skidmore

Flickr License

1 COMMENT

  1. The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes, and thus the presidency, to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by replacing state winner-take-all laws for awarding electoral votes.

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps of pre-determined outcomes. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored after the conventions.

    The bill would take effect when enacted by states with a majority of Electoral College votes—that is, enough to elect a President (270 of 538). The candidate receiving the most popular votes from all 50 states (and DC) would get all the 270+ electoral votes of the enacting states.

    The presidential election system, using the 48 state winner-take-all method or district winner method of awarding electoral votes, that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founders. It is the product of decades of change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founders in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. States can, and have, changed their method of awarding electoral votes over the years. Historically, major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided).

    Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in every state surveyed recently. In the 39 states surveyed, overall support has been in the 67-83% range or higher. – in recent or past closely divided battleground states, in rural states, in small states, in Southern and border states, in big states, and in other states polled.
    Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The bill has passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 rural, small, medium, large, red, blue, and purple states with 250 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    NationalPopularVote.com
    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

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