Oligarchy: a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few; a state or organization so ruled; the persons or class so ruling.
Democracy: government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system; a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges; political or social equality; democratic spirit; the common people of a community as distinguished from any privileged class; the common people with respect to their political power.
What does it mean when someone says that The United States is an Oligarchy?
It means that the Government of the United States is no longer responsive to the will of the people.
It means that the government acts according to the decisions made by a few very wealthy, very politically powerful individuals who control both the economy and the Congress.
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If you do not vote because you feel it doesn't make a difference, you are right. We are provided with a selection of candidates, almost all of whom are dependent upon the campaign contributions of wealthy Individuals and corporations. This has been officially sanctioned by the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United. Wealthy individuals and corporations may now legally buy politicians.
What is important to understand is that the Oligarchs (real people acting to intentionally use the United States government for their own profit) do not consider themselves subject to the rule of law. They consider themselves free to enact policies that do not comply with the rule of law. This gives us a clear indication of when The United States actually stopped being a Democracy and became an Oligarchy.
At what point did the change occur?
Was it when we were led into an illegal preemptive war with Iraq on false pretenses?
Was it when the American taxpayers were forced to bail out the Big Banks because their speculation and fraud was about to cause a national and world wide financial crash?
Was it when President Bush declared that "The gloves are off" during the Iraq War? When he opened the door to a policy of committing war crimes, the suspension of habeas corpus, kidnapping and torture of people without trial on the basis of suspicion alone?
How can we tell?
We can tell exactly when our government was usurped by the Oligarchy by the simple fact that no entity acting in accordance with the policies approved by the Oligarchy is EVER held accountable to the law.
Under a Democracy all people are subject to the rule of law. This is the way we may clearly see the transition to Oligarchy.
President Nixon was forced out of office for approving a break-in at the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate office complex. This is a small crime compared to the kidnapping and torture of suspected enemy combatants. Under Democracy, even the President was held accountable. Now we do not even hold Wall Street Criminals accountable. It is clear they represent the policy and practices of the Oligarchs. They are part of the oligarchy.
When I listen to the candidates, I mostly hear about the issues. The issues are important, but they are a small consideration compared to the real reason we should be voting. The issues represent the way things should be: A living wage, educational opportunity, universal health care, racial justice, and security in our old age. The question we must ask is: Why is it not that way already? George Carlin
, Bernie Sanders
, and former president Jimmy Carter
among others have identified the problem and stated it in no uncertain terms. The United States has become an Oligarchy.
When Bernie Sanders says "This is a political revolution", he is not speaking metaphorically. He plans to overturn Citizens United, take away the "personhood" of corporations, make political campaigns publicly funded, and reinstitute a fair tax system that once again will support programs that serve the people and not the bottom line of the Oligarchs. But these things can only happen when Democracy is restored. The people must take back the government of the United States.
If we do not take back this country for Democracy now, the movement will suffer an enormous setback. It will take an even greater effort to unseat the Oligarchs. This is our best opportunity and we must seize it.
The Oligarchs have subverted our Democracy, and it is too small a consequence that their fortunes are taxed to restore it. They must be held accountable to the rule of law.
Greg Gregg is a sculptor and retired critical care nurse. He is an American citizen who has lost all trust in the Federal government.