The Conundrum of Democracy vs. Plutocracy
Reminders of Americanism
American democracy is relatively young compared to Europe, China or Scandinavia. We may have borrowed the template for our democracy from England; but, in typical American ideals, democracy in the United States of America has become the shining example of freedom around the world. So what has gone so wrong?
To begin with, the slowly invasive creeping of greed among the most avaricious minds didn't help. Money isn't human. Nor, can it ever be considered so. Money simply is power for good or evil as we have all seen and for the less fortunate, experienced.
The conundrum of democracy vs. Plutocracy comes down to a single word, loathesome to many, "entitlement." In democracy "all" are entitled. In plutocracy, the few are the "only" entitled. The definition of plutocracy is: An elite or ruling class of people whose power derives from their wealth." So, combine vast sums of money and power and it becomes a battering ram on democracy and on our freedoms.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Everything is un-American that tends either to government by a plutocracy or a mob."
Supporting this is statement by another President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, "For this truth must be clear before us: Whatever America hopes to bring to the world, must first come to plass in the heart of America."
Divide and Conquer to Destroy Democracy and Americanism
It simply is not possible to live in any country of the world and not be influenced in some way by the enduring culture that has been deeply embedded by long, well cultivated history. Thus, from this precipice of awareness, the United States is barely into its teens. And we all know how unruly teen age minds can be. We also know that like teens who cling to each other for peerage, today's citizenry cling to their own parochial cultures passed down by their ancestors. This is what makes America the most different culture in the entire world. We blend together nationalities of our immigrants from virtually every country of the world.
So what is it that makes us Americans? For many of us who are dyed in the wool flag wavers, it is our very young history. Our early colonial settlers battled for freedom from the British King George and amazingly, without the grandiose military might, they won our freedom and created the Declaration of Independence as the writ of democracy that became the template of our government and our ideals of governance.
If early civilization teaches Americans anything, it is that division among humans caused tribal wars for survival and supremacy. Today's Neanderthalian plutocrats understand the theory of divide to conquer better than the average working class American.
What began as "red states" and "blue states" has now become "right" and "left" leaving many Americans who view ideology as the first step of division and granting of entitlements to only those with money to use as their mainstream power.
Pay to Play - The Creeping Ploy of Plutocracy
If every American possessed equal wealth, this still would not change the desire of a small minority to banish Americanism. The reality that plutocrats keep pushing into the distant past is that our forefathers were amazingly adept at granting equal power to ALL Americans.
How has the electoral process suddenly reduced that basic right to equal power under the Constitution? Very simply by a strategy known as Pay to Play. For some, this is cronyism. While it may be natural to be more trusting of familiar faces when appointing a representative who seems to agree with your ethics, standards, values and principles, abuses of that trust have become all too deeply embedded in our choice of representatives.
Is choosing a elected official solely based on his ability to provide less business restraint and more abuse of power to American consumers fair and equitable? Is electing an official who cannot possibly serve those who elected him what the Founding Fathers had in mind?
From the moment, plutocrats in big business were allowed to be considered "people" by the U.S. Supreme Court, Pay to Play and cronyism went steroidal. Now, there isn't a single US state that can lay claim to an elected official who has not in some way been tainted by big money. Was that the idea of the Founding Fathers? That he who owns the most, has the most money that results in plutocratic power should also have the most control over government? How does that not fly in the face of the Preamble to the US Constitution:
"We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the General Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America."
How does Pay to Play not revoke the oath of office for Congress to "support and defend the Consitution?" Ah but how easy it is to reinterpret the intent and meaning of the Article of the Constitution when campaign donations from a long list of cronies becomes the main objective before every election.
Where Does American Go from Here?
Politicians today would have Americans believe government is the only authority. In reality, we are the only authority. Some Americans today feel utterly powerless to stop what they know is the wrong direction elected representatives are taking our democracy.
To grant ultimate power based on wealth acquisition is not democracy. There is no freedom in plutocracy for the masses, only for the small minority of wealthy we refer to as "1%ers."
Americans are expected to forget that they pay the lion's share of the taxes that keep our government from dissolving. Americans are expected to refuse credit for the taxes they pay that help plutocrats keep their businesses "in business."
Decent, honorable Americans are outraged at the current attempt to squash freedoms for women and minorities, for the elderly and immigrants. They have every right to be. The worst case scenario is the rise of the most heinous acts of domestic terrorism by narrow minded bigots and controlling mentalities, "The Great Angry" league of "Forgotten People."
Let's take one example of the fallacy of "Forgotten People." The current speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, claims Janesville Wisconsin as home. Janesville residents were documented recently as to why they fear Janesville will become a "ghost town."
The residents interviewed blamed the loss of jobs. Not so unusual when you consider that there are towns in upstate New York that lost thousands of jobs when Eastman Kodak moved out of the Rochester area or further back in history when several Montana copper mining towns lost mining jobs when the mines went belly up. This is also true of coal mining jobs in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Is there a valid reason for anyone to feel sorry for Janesville? No. There is not. New Jersey lost thousands of manufacturing jobs since the 1970s. The big difference is that New Jersey residents didn't sit back and wait for jobs to come to them. Neither did the Buffalo, New Yorkers who watched as Buffalo became a ghost town due to job loss.
But, Buffalo isn't Janesville. The Mayor of Buffalo welcomed Syrian refugees with open arms. These new immigrants moved into the abandoned town and began to revitalize it by rebuilding and remodeling homes left empty for several years. Why can't Janesville do the same?
The reason is simple. This midwestern town wants jobs to come to them. They do not want to be innovative and create jobs as many unemployed in New Jersey did when solar energy became the No. 1 source for new jobs. So successful was this endeavor that New Jersey now ranks No. 3 among the top U.S. solar producing states.
When General Motors in Janesville closed, did these people not see the handwriting on the wall long before? When GM moved to Indiana, did they decide to look into other types of businesses? No. They just sat back and waited. And...are still waiting, believing their lack of ambition and initiative makes them "Forgotten People." They so relied on plutocrats with big money to provide jobs that the minute Janesville was no longer profitable for GM, they became desolate and unemployed.
Where American go from here is the same question our colonial settlers asked themselves as they gravitated to parts unknown, often taking huge risks with life and limb for themselves and their families. Is this why Americans today cannot unite? They lack the ability to take risks that would make the most beneficial changes?
When Government Gets It Wrong
Ideology today is one of the most destructive forces that keeps Americans divided and totally handicapped in their normal quest for progress. It's almost as if "progress" is a dirty word. Call an American "Progressive" and the worst diatribes are lobbed at the Progressive individual who wants nothing more than to see their country achieve its goals and be proud to call themselves "American."
No government of the people for the people, by the people can survive when it is in the hands of a linear ideology that seeks to always be the majority rule. Do they have the right to "rule" as if they cannot be questioned? Do they have the right to "rule" without input from Americans who contribute their hard earned tax dollars for the betterment of their country?
Simplistic as it may be Abraham Lincoln had Americanism in its most accurate picture in the Gettysburg Address:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate we can not consecrate we can not hallow, this ground The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.
It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
We may not really have healed the wounds of the Civil War. That's proven by the constant sight of the Stars and Bars flag used to antagonize our African Americans by white supremacists.
Congressman James Clyburne in a speech once said: "The Confederacy had three flags. This was never one of them. This is a flag, the Confederate battle flag, of the army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee's army."
"And when Robert E. Lee surrendered he asked all of his followers to furl this flag. Stow it away, he said. Put it in your attics," Clyburn continued. "He refused to be buried in his Confederate uniform. His family refused to allow anyone dressed in the confederate uniform to attend his funeral."
"Why? Because Robert E. Lee said he considered this emblem to be a symbol of treason."
That is a speech that becomes the most poignant definition of treason today, but with a twist. Today's treason is more likely to be related to international business transcations of the most gargantuan proportions that not even the entire element of US law enforcement seems able to wrap its mind around.
Today's Emblem of Treason
Few Americans relish the idea of any public official being tried for treason. Yet, America has never been closer than at this very moment of having numerous traitors in our midst, some of foreign origins, others in our own government.
The U.S. Constitution, Article III, Section 3 defines treason: "Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against the, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."
Is making covert business deals as an elected officials sworn under oath to uphold the Constitution treason? Is ignoring interference in our government treason? Some believe it should all just be ignored...until that ignorance spawns a government that is no longer a democracy but a plutocracy giving aid and comfort to our enemies.
America! America! Crown Thy Good with Brotherhood!
Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker (author) from Old Bridge, New Jersey on October 02, 2017:
The answer to the problem is to stop the lying, deception and cheating. The election of 2016 was rigged. Russians spent more than 18 months using RT, Guccifer 2 and 48 other Russian hackers to put lies about Hillary Clinton all over media. These were lies like PizzaGate, disgusting as that was and that she was the blame for Benghazi which we know now was all done at Putin's request by Gowdy.
When men dare to take women down by smearing their reputations, it makes all men look like a bunch of arm chair football coaches whose punts have failed every time.
There must either be an end to the abuse of the Electoral College or there must be a stricter vetting process by the party bosses before they allow a gangster at the helm with a criminal record as long as their arms.
Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on October 02, 2017:
I cannot disagree with many of what you said. What is your answer to solve this problem? Is it more progressive government? Who has screwed up so many ways...or should be go back and abide by the Constitution with limit to government, Federalism, and freedom and competition and democracy...?
FlourishAnyway from USA on August 28, 2017:
We've been heading down the dangerous path towards fascism and the erosion of true democracy for many years. I particularly mark the Reagan era as a significant turning point, given the rise of the so-called Moral Majority and the militant Christian right, "trickle down" economics, plus his hikes in defense spending and unbridled tough talk (all the while skirting the laws of this country and providing secret funding aboad). Of course, Reagan also appointed Justice Scalia. The right was looking for a stooge in Trump, someone who will carry the torch of intolerance and plutocracy. That's what we got. Ironic that both were actors.
Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker (author) from Old Bridge, New Jersey on August 10, 2017:
Catherine, You and I both know that we have a middle aged generation who believe they know it all. So now they are stuck with a right wing president who is about to incinerate them and their kids.
For the first time yesterday, I actually heard fear in one of them. I thought these Daycare McMansion babies had no fear. With all of their bluster and narrow minded attitudes of superiority, I'd have thought they didn't have a fearful bone in their bodies.
Just goes to show, when push comes to shove and Trump pushes Kim Jung Un to drop the big one on us, these chicken livered big mouths suddenly grow a spine.
Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on August 09, 2017:
Plutocracy, oligarchy, fascism, and kakistocracy is a growing part of the American political scene now that Trump is in the White House. He is eroding democracy and making our country less secure.