By Mitch Gurney
November 6, 2011
If we didn’t question the status quo the world would still be flat…and we’d still be under English rule…
I’ve been in a real funk for quite a while and took a sabbatical from writing as a result. Fortunately, Bill has been keeping the site going by posting some excellent articles. About 5 or 6 years ago I pulled my head out of the mythical cloud and began questioning the status quo and researching what’s become of our political system and quite frankly I don’t like what I’ve learned. Our representative style government is broken – unless of course you happen to be part of that 1% that owns our political system.
As anyone following my articles knows I believe context is vital if we are to understand the many issues that confront us today. Consequently my articles tend to be lengthy and more research in style. I realize most people don’t take the time to read lengthy articles hence making 30 second sound bite news the fashion of our day. This is one contributing factor for why our political system is broken plus extremely dangerous to the health and vitality to our form of representative government.
Recently while reading a blog I follow regularly I read a comment that focused my attention on the nature of my funk. The comment, posted by leochen24551 puts it on the line:
“It’s getting pretty obvious that the political parties are not independent of Big Business or Big Banks or Big Money. In fact, the reverse is true. Political parties are wholly dependent upon the financial support of Big Business, Big Banks and Big Money.
No kidding. The only thing I would change about that statement is make it a statement of fact. The next part of leochens comment clinched it for me:
My question? So where are the Independent Voters, the Independent Citizens supposed to turn to? We know what happened to the Tea Party. They signed on the K Street Lobbyists to run their Capitol Hill Offices. I guess that makes the Tea Party full-fledged members of the Capitol Hill Gang.
Yes…exactly…and as elections heat up again my funk grows ever more intense in that I know regardless how we vote nothing will change if we don’t alter the status quo. The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement is a good start and protesting in the streets is a viable political action to undertake. My concern with the OWS movement though is that making demands on those who own the policy makers maybe misdirected energy if we don’t also replace those whom they own. We need to put the horse before the cart. The “Capitol Hill Gang” is so firmly planted we must first turn Washington inside out; the big business, big-political cartel must go, nearly every last one of them. We need to clean the slate and start fresh.
Voters have power – if we use it wisely.
Throughout my voting history I’ve switched between parties and candidates yet always dismayed that nothing ever changes. I now fully understand how the game is rigged and who controls the policy makers. I voted for Obama yet knew better. Even if he personally wanted change, what change can he possibly foster if Congress is still controlled by the same big-business, big-political cartels? While it appears many people are waking up to this fact, far too many still believe in what is now a myth about our political process. Too many are still lulled by what politicians say but ignore what they actually do.
We are wasting our time with the current big-corporate, big- political cartels that control Washington and much of the governments around the world. This “Capitol Hill Gang” must go, nearly every last one of them. I don’t care whether they are Tea Partiers, progressives, conservatives, left, right or whatever damn name we use; if they receive ONE dime from corporate lobbyist, the Koch Brothers, Soros, or the hundreds of other special interest groups they are NOT candidates that represent the people or who plan to protect and defend our constitution. If you think the Tea Party is the party of change, think again:
If the corporate owned media is presenting them as a viable candidate, they are NOT the people’s candidate.
If we want real change we must change those in power, those who decide policy – pure and simple. If we want elected officials to serve the needs of the people then we need candidates that are not owned by the power elite – pure and simple. While we may not be able to stop special interests from funding the candidates they parade before us, we don’t have to vote for them.
Petitions are a waste of time too; why bother petitioning the “Capitol Hill Gang”?
We are wasting our time signing petitions begging the “Capitol Hill Gang” to serve the needs of the people. Unfortunately, while petitions may be well-meaning they represent a false belief in what is now a myth. We literally have hundreds of petitions via hundreds of organizations all making demands that go largely ignored. Consequently our power, finances, and influence are fractured and defused and our attentions diverted from doing what must be done.
Ideally, government should serve as the mediator between the competing needs of society.
When Supreme Court judges whom are ironically appointed by the “elected” Capitol Hill Gang, ruled that money essentially equates free speech, they stabbed representative democracy in the heart. When courts can rule that a crook like Madoff’s family may keep millions he stole from others we are toast.
We may not be able to stop them from buying our “elected” officials and influencing policy decisions in Washington but we don’t’ have to vote for “their” candidates. They are entitled to their perverted version of free speech but we don’t have to support it.
Consumers have Power.
We know consumers have power and what is possible when large numbers of people participate in action such as “Bank Transfer Day” by transferring their accounts from the “too big to fail banks.” I transferred my banking in 2008 as soon as the financial meltdown and bailouts began.
What if consumers took it further and everyone with a mortgage stopped making their payments? Would they foreclose on all of our homes? How long could the system function if this were to happen? What could we demand in return? Perhaps that banks and financial firms report honestly in order to avoid failures like MF Global and other financial mayhem or that mortgagee’s be bailed out too with lower interest rates and for those upside down in their mortgages have their principle re-adjusted. We not only need truth in accounting by corporations, but by governments as well.
Over 60% of our economy is driven by consumer spending. What kind of wake-up call would a national and perhaps global consumer strike have on companies if we bought only the bare necessitates we need? How long could the system function if this were to happen? What could we demand? Perhaps a standardized global wage policy; while we cannot stop globalization or stop companies from pursuing cheaper production costs we could demand the enactment of a standardized global wage policy.
Today we have no real choices between the candidates the big-corporate, big-political cartels paraded before us during elections – but we still have the power of a write-in campaign. We can give lip service during the polls leading the Elites to think we’re swinging either Democratic or Republican – but while in the booth, we can write in our own candidates and turn Washington inside out. To succeed, we need 51% of the voters to actively participate in a National Write in Campaign.
Perhaps it is time for a type of Continental Convention, or in the alternative, a National Write in Convention.
It’s easy to become resigned thinking there is little that we individually or collectively can do. But it took only one person to begin the “Bank Transfer Day” movement that inspired over 650,000 that answered the call. It took only one person, Thomas Paine, to plant the ideas of independence.
There were 56 brave souls who signed the Declaration of Independence. There were 39 creative souls who signed the U.S Constitution. There were seven great leaders we honor as our founding fathers who shaped our destiny. Not in what it has become but in how it began. These were leaders that questioned the status quo and who, while mostly English citizens, revolted against their king and their country. The odds were greatly stacked against them yet they succeeded and created a system that made is possible to question authority. It was a system fashioned by design to harbor suspicion over those in power and keep them in check.
We face a serious crisis in democracy in the U.S and abroad. From a historical perspective this threat is cyclical in nature. The founding fathers understood this cyclical history that dates back to the times of Caesar – that republican forms of governments become corrupt and eventually dominated by oligarchies. We are at that point now. Martin Armstrong writes of this history while explaining that the sovereign debt crisis gripping Europe is also a crisis of democracy, a crisis we suffer here in the U.S:
This is a real Crisis in Democracy as Europe’s politicians clamor to save their seriously flawed design for a single Europe. This is the clash between the idea of a democracy where the PEOPLE decide the fate of a nation and a REPUBLIC where those who claim to be representing the people usurp powers to dictate their fate without any recourse to the people whatsoever. Europe is showing what we all will face as the Sovereign Debt Crisis continues to unfold – PUBLIC v PRIVATE interests.
While we are far from our roots and have abdicated our authority it is not too late. Democracy is high maintenance. It requires vigilance by its citizens over those in power. Some suggest it is wrong or even blasphemous to question the actions of our government. But we must keep things in perspective; we are not talking about God here or government as a whole. Governments and corporations are institutions consisting of people and as history bears out, no institution and in particular no individual is immune to corruption. Profit, greed, and thirst for power can corrupt any individual and in turn institutions. For corrupt individuals, government is merely an instrument. The framers of our Constitution understood this, and as strong as it is, it is not foolproof. They understood human weakness and developed a 3 point check and balance system. Our weakest link in our system today is an electoral process run amok by corporate-lobbyist funding. Our best vanguard against corruption and abuse and to preserve democracy is to be an informed and enlightened electorate.
Some of the ideas I present here may sound extreme or even a bit too idealistic to some, but the need to re-balance the power structure in Washington is not. If we truly value the principles established by the founding fathers we at the very least have a responsibility to reclaim the people’s authority over government.