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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/17/08

America's Dangerous Imbalance of Power

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Justice Requires that Powers Be Checked

This does not represent some especial condemnation of the corporate system, for every unchecked power is subject to abuse.

Capitalism has its own dynamic that fosters amorality—see in this regard chapter 11, “Automatic Pilot,” in my book THE ILLUSION OF CHOICE: HOW THE MARKET ECONOMY SHAPES OUR DESTINY. There’s an inherent logic in the system that tends to make the corporation behave in a sociopathic way.

But if capitalism has its amoral and unjust tendencies, so also did feudalism, so also communism.

It’s not that power corrupts, as Lord Acton said, but that none can be trusted with absolute power over others. That’s true whether it is the feudal lord, who claims the right to the first night with the peasant’s bride, or the capitalist barons who seek to enrich themselves regardless of the damage to other values.
Justice in a government always requires that no power goes unchecked: This was the whole idea of “checks and balances” that is at the heart of our constitutional system (and that this corporate proto-fascist Bushite regime has been systematically attacking).

Justice in a society always requires that power be divided equally among the people who live in that system. That’s the essential idea behind democracy: “one person, one vote” is supposed to give equal say and thereby help create justice.

It is in this context that the meaning –and the promise-- of Barack Obama’s campaign for the presidency should be understood.

Obama Offers America the the Creation of the Much-Needed Countervailing Force

The unions are not going to become mighty again, so if we are going to find some other countervailing power to turn back this ascendant fascist corporatism, whose expression the Bushite regime has been.

It is such an organized and focused power that we have the potential to create through Obama’s campaign for the presidency. He is, after all, the would-be president whose formative experience of his role in the world was as a community organizer. And it is in the terms of such community organizing that he depicts the idea behind his campaign: he seeks to be our leader who can fight the entrenched powers in partnership with an American public that stays informed and stays mobilized to flex its democratic muscle.

So our job as a people is to come together as a force behind Obama, behind his effort to mobilize the American people to redress our dangerous imbalances of power. Such a presidency represents the one and only potential Rebalancer that we have been offered in a very long time.

Obama therefore represents an OPPORTUNITY for America. An opportunity for America to join together to create and empower something that might have the strength to unbend what's been bent, to clean up the messes, to tend that which has been damaged.

When he asks us for our support, he is really seeking to empower us. He is offering us something.

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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