More On Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

If people in the US agree on so much, why isn’t anything getting done?

This is a continuation of yesterday’s $pecial Interest Government Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.

The stats are in

Image by DonkeyHoty Flickr/creative commons

Image by DonkeyHoty
Flickr/creative commons

Majorities of people in the US, Democrat, Republican, and Independent, agree to commons sense gun control (85%) and climate change action (including 65% who blame human activity).

The majority object to a tax system supporting income inequality (60% want higher taxes for the rich and 82% want corporations to pay their fair share in taxes) and an economy rigged in favor of corporations (more than 70%).

Including 80% of Republicans, most of us now agree that we must turn back the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision that sold out our democracy to corporations. I wrote about that yesterday and included tools for activists to get involved locally and nationally.


It’s worse than you think

Perhaps, even more troubling, Citizens United has given cover to foreign governments, corporations, and individuals who want to invest in and control the outcome of US elections. The GOP controls Federal Election Commission, and likes it that way. More on this awful outcome, tomorrow.

Hillary Clinton has promised to push for a constitutional amendment to reverse this democracy-killing decision, something easy to say considering the high bar requiring at least 38 state legislatures to vote in support of the amendment. Only legislative action in the US Congress, or a reversal by the Supreme Court itself, will correct this mistake.


The horrible riddle of greed

Have you noticed that futurists spend years worrying about the Singularity, that moment in future-time when artificial intelligence will start out-thinking mere humans? Long before that and much closer to the ground, we have to worry about the predicament we find ourselves in right now, forcing us to take partial responsibility for allowing soulless corporations to have dominion over people who actually have souls. The Citizens United decision found our Supreme Court bestowing personhood rights to objects, that is, corporations. It sounds ridiculous. If only it were a joke.

We have a US Senators and Representatives who spend a large chunk of their time raising money for re-election, upwards of 50% for House members who have to face re-election every 24 months. The very notion that you need 100s of thousands, millions of dollars even, to win an election is a systemic problem. What is really going on is a huge auction for access and special interest power by lobbying corporations. Corporations have money to burn to control lawmaker decision-making, financed in large measure by their exploitation of their workers and consumers.

Long ago we lost sight of the ideal of the reluctanct statesman, promoted into public service by acclamation of his peers rather than his own avarice. Instead, our politics has spawned a cottage industry where power is bought and sold and can even be inherited. We began on this long path downward into the arms of greedy private benefactors the minute politics became a business instead of a sacred trust.

The money-influenced culture of our politics became the petri dish that spawned the benighted thinking of conservative justices on the Supreme Court. In 2010, with this terrible 5-4 decision, they made selling our democracy to the highest bidders the law of the land.

These salivating, greedy corporations are only to happy to redefine the word, democracy. They want you to forget what it ever stood for, and to accept the new paradigm: Democracy is what we tell you it is.


What you can do now

Fight back against Citizens United and the corruption of our chosen senators and representatives in Congress. When we have cast them out, the surviving economy will look completely different, and, most important, it will be humane. No more low taxes, lax regulations, or greater exploitation of natural resources, an economic model [so] disconnected from the true sources of prosperity. The new economy model will focus on key drivers of growth, such as science, education, and innovation, proven in the states that focus on them.

Reminder to check out the resources for getting active today in reversing Citizens United. If you need to start from the convenience of your couch, don’t hesitate. There is plenty you can do right from home, and very close to home in your own community. The key word? Act.



Also see: $pecial Interest Government is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things and Robert Reich On Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.


Alison Gardner