In the last half century we have see corporate America decimate the rights and therefore liberties of the common American citizen. Where America was founded as a nation for “we the people “ it has degenerated into little more then a den of thieves populated by corporate thugs who spend their days scheming new ways to rape, rob and pillage the American taxpayer.
And the government of this country, the government of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin; so poetically balanced in it’s inception to represent all persons of that then infant nation (except for those blacks, and American Indians, and women, and other minorities, and white males without land, etc. but well just save that for another article) has become in recent decades little more then a pack of toadies to the corporate hoodlums that currently ride roughshod over this land and it’s people.
Yes ladies and gentleman the situation is dire but it is not hopeless. We still have a chance to wrench control of this great civic experiment away from those who would de-regulate, privatize, corporatize and militarize it, this their very bread basket, even to the point of extinction. But we must start now.
We must beginning at the beginning and rebuild the institutions that have made America a concept, a notion, an idea worth fighting for. And when I say the beginning I truly mean the beginning.
Fair, Free and Transparent Elections
With the existence of elections being the foundation of any true democracy we must defend and safeguard our admittedly imperfect system against those who would destroy it. If we want to have even a small chance at retaining any legitimacy for our democratically elected representative government then we must repair our crumbling system by making our elections fair, free and transparent.
There is no better way to silence new ideas and subsequently stifle the political process then to let the people feel that they are unheard and that their vote doesn’t count. Unfortunately, based on the dismal voter turn-out seen in recent years that is exactly what we are facing. We can no longer lean on the long lost myth that America is a democratic nation founded on free elections; we now must make it so, again!
Publicly Financed Campaigns
Corporations through their lobbyists have taken over our government. The result of which is the dooming of our democracy and the relegation of our government to serve only those that can afford to pay. To exercise the corporate demons out of the body politic we must require campaign finance reform that includes public financing of all national races. This would include rules to exclude campaign donations from any entity without a heartbeat, i.e. corporations.
Once the corporate money is taken out of the system and all candidates have an equal chance at winning based on the dollars they have to spend then the candidates would no longer be beholden to special interests and we would finally hear their real views on how to govern this nation. The public money that is spent on this potentially expensive endeavor – although much money can be saved by mandating that all broadcasters offer free airtime to national candidates, this can be easily justified as a public service as the airways belong to the people – will be a fraction of what is currently being expended in the private sector and what we will gain for our investment will be nothing shout of our democracy.
Balance of Power
We need to rebuild (because the Bush administration has done such a wonderful job of tearing it down) the balance of power between the three branches of our federal government; Executive, Legislative and Judicial. The framers of our constitution understood that too much power within any single person, body or branch was a prelude to a monarchy or in today’s language a dictatorship. Hence the delicately balanced three branch system we call our federal government and which all our state governments are modeled after.
On the subject of state governments, we also need to rebalance the power shared between the state and federal systems. This nation was founded on, among other concepts, a system of independent states loosely tied together through a union government. The term of the day then was and still should be “states rights.” Unfortunately, our federal government has gotten way to powerful, to the point that it now easily bullies the states into submitting to its will, the very entities that give it legitimacy. We need to reverse course and give the states back their voice.
Ladies and Gentleman, the future of America is literally in your hands. We, all of us are America and we together stand at a precipice; we can either go the direction of more corporate power and less rights for individuals, pushing us closer and closer to a full plutocracy, or we can reclaim our country for who it was originally founded for; we the people. The choice is yours.
Timothy Cavanaugh is an independent writer specializing in political, environmental and social justice issues (e-mail: email@example.com).