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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/18/10


By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   5 comments
Message Arthur Lukas
OK, we elected a Democratic congress in 2006. We not only increased the Democratic majority in 2008, but we also elected a Democratic president. We threw those rascally Republicans out of office, and put in their place a president and party of our hopes and dreams. Happy days were here again!

In just one year our new president and congress have brought this country back to a nation of freedom, justice, and prosperity. This change-we-can-count-on administration has appointed new, forward-looking people into our government. It has taken the money out of politics, curtailed our military expansion, ended government secrecy, and stopped spying on its citizens. And prosperity is just around the corner!

Whoops--reality check.

Our president of change and congress of the people merrily passed trillions (1,000,000,000,000 is one trillion, or 1,000 billion) of dollars along to the financial bigwigs who were responsible for crashing our economy--no strings attached. What did these benevolent folks do for us, the people? Jobs keep disappearing and families are still losing their homes. Wages for workers have, at best, stagnated, and in many cases declined. The banks have increased interest rates on credit along with increasing charges for the slightest infraction of their rules (which they keep changing--read the tiny print on the slip of paper tucked into your monthly statement). As for health care insurance--the Senate presented the American people with a 2,000 page "health care reform bill" which defies comprehension. But not to worry. This monstrous bill will be commingled with the equally enormous House bill prior to giving birth to the ultimate health care betrayal.

On the world scene, our democratically elected so-called representatives have taken us further into the depths of the military abyss known as "Full Spectrum Dominance." Since stabilizing Iraq (ignore the daily bombings occurring there--our media sure have), our very own Nobel Peace Prize winner has expanded the fighting in Afghanistan by sending more troops and drones into that country and its neighbor, Pakistan. Our president has also brought more bombs and death to tiny Yemen--long before Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to set his drawers alight over Detroit. And now our leader of hope and change is sounding very Bushie with his belligerent posturing over Iran.

Let us pause in a moment of silence for the COP15 cop-out in Copenhagen when our forward-looking leader came in at the last minute to torpedo any chance of a binding agreement to reduce carbon pollution and its effects on global climate change.

So now what?

Now is the time to act! Let's get on the phone or the computer and send a message to our Representatives and Senators. Let's write angry letters to the editors of our local papers. Get in our cars, on buses and trains, or brave the sheep runs at the airports to get to the next demonstration in Washington D.C., New York, or San Francisco. Let's show those scoundrels we're mad as hell, and we aren't going to take it anymore!

Of course, we have done that before. Not for just months or even years, but for decades we have been doing all the above, and more. We have raised our voices in protest over our government's lack of concern for the American people, over the continual subservience of our government when called upon by its owners--the one-tenth of the one percent of the population of this country--the high rollers who, as George Carlin said, ". . . own us!" That's right, the money elites not only own our government; but, by default, own us--you and me and the rest of the American people.

We write, and we phone, and we march, and our government ignores us. The American people don't want a Wall Street bailout--our government gives the Wall Street bankers all the money they want and asks nothing in return. The American people want a Medicare-for-all type medical plan--our government tells us that it is "off the table." The American people want an educational system that brings actual education to all those who want it--our government says there's no money for education (after spending trillions on banksters and endless wars).

The American people, despite all the entreaties we have made for lo these many years, are suffering at a level of social misery not seen since the Great Depression. Bankruptcies, foreclosures, homelessness, and hunger have become commonplace for millions of us.

Let's have a real change we can count on.

Jim Hightower has often said that there are the Fat Cats and the Alley Cats. The Fat Cats have the money, but the Alley Cats have the numbers. Unfortunately, our electoral system demands both money and votes to win. And in recent years we have seen that the votes follow the money. Ninety percent of the time the candidate who spends the most money wins the election. The Fat Cats' money trumps the Alley Cats' numbers. And if that doesn't seem to be working, the Fat Cats just remove enough of the Alley Cats from the vote count to insure their victory.

If we, the American Alley Cats, cannot get our government to do the things we want, and we can't get people elected who are willing to listen to us and act for us, we don't have a democracy. Democracy simply means people power--from the Greek demos (the people) and kratia (power). Note that it is people power, not person power. A single person, not of the Fat Cat variety, has no power. People of the Alley Cat species coming together and acting together have power, and if enough people get together in a united action they have unstoppable power.

The beginning of American democracy.

There is legislation now pending in the House of Representatives (H.R. 1826) and the Senate (S. 752) called the Fair Elections Now Act. This act would provide for publicly funded elections for federal offices. The concept is simple--a candidate can sign up a relatively small number of voters who will contribute a small amount of money to the candidate's campaign fund. In return, the candidate can then draw on the Fair Elections Fund to run for office.

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Arthur Lukas: A long time muckraker, rabble rouser, seeker of truth, protector of the lost, and all around good egg.
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