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Government of the people, by the people, for the people is no more; it has perished

By       Message michael payne     Permalink
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President Abraham Lincoln, in his famous 1863 Gettysburg Address, ended it with these words; "that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." That beautiful thought has been dishonored as the U.S. Congress, and the Senate in particular, is no longer guided by the wishes and needs of the American people but, rather, accedes to the dictates and demands of corporate America.

This is the chain of authority now present in our American democracy: candidates run for the U.S. Senate, the people elect and send representatives to this legislative body to act in their best interests and that of the nation; senators listen to the wishes and needs of the American people and also those of the U.S. corporations. Senators then submit themselves to their corporate masters, do their bidding and hold out their hands for their reward.

I have previously written about how this now very faulted legislative body came into being and it's worth repeating here: "Our nation's founders, when working to complete the U.S. Constitution, had definite misgivings with the idea of including this governmental body in the legislative process of our nation. They knew full well that the idea of having two senators from each state, no matter the population of the state, was one that could cause difficult problems in the future. But, in the spirit of bipartisanship and compromise to finish the Constitution, many of them reluctantly agreed; and now we are suffering the consequences of their decision."

But that's, unfortunately, where we are today. The Senate, as constituted today, in no way represents democracy in America. This Senate, whereby a few, or even one, senator(s) representing tiny states can overrule the wishes of the vast majority of fellow senators and the American people, has created a system of gridlock that is destroying our democracy. Add the Senate filibuster rule into the equation and we are witnessing a legislative body that has become no more than a tool of their corporate masters.

This governmental institution is now so corrupted by the power of corporations that we have arrived at a point whereby critical legislation cannot be enacted even when the Senate Democratic majority, at least in theory, has control. One senator, a Ben Nelson or Joe Lieberman has the power, considering the dreaded filibuster rule, to kill health care reform if they so choose. Suppose that 60% of Americans, roughly 180 million of us definitely want a strong public option. That the wishes of 180 million Americans can be overridden by just one senator is incomprehensible; but this is how far our democracy has now regressed.

The Senate of today can be described as the "best little whorehouse in Washington, D.C." It has now become crystal clear that it is largely controlled by the almost 35,000 registered lobbyists that ply their trade in the nation's capitol. Corporate America, mainly the banking, health insurance, pharmaceutical, and defense industries have far more influence on senators than the people of America.

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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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