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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/25/12

Learned Helplessness

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Follow Me on Twitter     Message Rick Staggenborg, MD
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The prevalent mood of discontent in the American Left and Right is a product of the idea that no matter what we do, the forces of fascism (or socialism,  for those who have bought the big lie) are too powerful to combat. The problem is that we spend too much of our time focusing on our anger at each other to find a way to work together to fight the seemingly overwhelming forces that are assailing America's middle class and poor.

We all decry corrupt politicians and all the myriad ways that they are destroying the nation instead of trying to find solutions together, but too many of us continue to believe that one or the other parties of the corporate Duopoly are on our side. In our anger and perceived helplessness, we lash out at one another instead of finding common cause and working together to move the United States forward and back to the path to democracy.

In a famous series of experiments, Martin Seligman subjected rats to shocks every time they tried to escape a water tank they had been dropped into by climbing on a steel platform. Naturally, the rats eventually stopped trying to save themselves. This behavior was referred to as learned helplessness. In failing to believe that We the People have the power to save ourselves from the forces of corporate power arrayed against us, the American people are exhibiting the same behavior.

We can and must find that common cause and use it to rebuild American society and its economy so that our children and those of other nations who face a future of enslavement in a fascist New World Order are left a world that is just, rational and sustainable. That cause of creating a government of, by and for the People rather than for the corporate Puppetmasters who now control it is one we must fight for together.

A growing number of people are realizing that the key to taking back America for the People is to get corporate money out of elections. The need for a constitutional amendment to ban all campaign contributions by corporations was made clear with the announcement by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case that American and foreign corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money to buy the loyalty of members of Congress.

The goal is clear yet  despite the growing movement to amend the constitution, the pundits of the Left seem to think that this is just an interesting idea rather than one that can  save America and the world. It is incredible how they fail to see that this is one cause that all thinking Americans can get behind.  Only a constitutional amendment can overrule the series of Supreme Court decisions establishing the doctrine of corporate speech "rights" that culminated in Citizens United. Anything less falls short of reforming the electoral process and giving Americans the chance of establishing a true democracy in the United States.

If the "alternative" media refuses to discuss how we might use this issue build a united national front against fascism, then how are we to succeed? When the topic is brought up and it is consistently and publicly slapped down in these large public forums as "too hard" to accomplish or only a very long-term goal, it makes that more difficult the job of creating momentum for the movement to amend the constitution to restore democracy to America. Had such an attitude prevailed throughout American history, African-Americans would still be not only economically but physically enslaved and women would still be disenfranchised.

These professional pundits are wasting the opportunity to use their bully pulpits to bring Americans together behind a simple plan that will allow us to address all of the issues they do talk about. The unrealistic "solutions" that each of them present cannot possibly result in the change that we need if it requires appealing to the corporate tools that dominate in Congress and who have the full weight of the lamestream media behind them. We cannot save the United States from bankruptcy and the world from the threats of famine, pestilence, environmental catastrophe and endless war unless we address the problem of corruption of the US government in a meaningful way.

In the wake of the announcement of the decision in Citizens United, polls showed that nearly 80% of both self-identified conservatives and liberals were opposed to this blatant attack on democracy in the United States. Clearly, the other 20% do not yet understand the significance of this act of treason by the Five corporate Stooges on the Supreme Court. What other issue could possibly bring Americans of all political persuasions to come together to Take Back America for We the People?

The alternative media has a critical role to play in restoring democracy to America and it is our job to let them know it. Calling into their talk shows, writing editorials and letters to the editors of local papers and keeping the cause alive are critical, as is blogging on the issue and what we can do together to end corporate plutocracy through a constitutional amendment.

Contact these gatekeepers of the Left and Right and let them know that we can pass a constitutional amendment if they will help us make support for it a campaign issue in every congressional election. Write about it in their chatrooms, comment on their blogs and get the message out by any means by which they allow us to.

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Rick Staggenborg, MD Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter Page       Linked In Page       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I am a former Army and VA psychiatrist who ran for the US Senate in 2010 on a campaign based on a pledge to introduce a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood and regulate campaign finance. A constitutional amendment banning (more...)

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