When is the Majority not a Majority?
As we stumble through the 21st Century, we are seeing major changes taking place in the world. International borders are collapsing. Human rights and social programs are being abandoned in the name of greed. Religion has become aggressive and violent, proving the old adage, “More people have been killed in the name of God than for any other reason,” is still a valid statement today.
Major changes are also taking place in America. We have a government that is now run by two outdated and anemic political parties. The Republicans rule with lies, deceit, and deception. The Democrats cower, afraid to stand up to Republican bullying. The Republicans walk around like they have brass balls and the Democrats act like they have none. As a result, Washington has become bloated and ineffective, a legislative wasteland.
In the most recent polls, President Obama’s rating was under 50%. Based on information from nine leading polling organizations including Fox, CNN, and ABC, less than half the people in the US think the President is doing a good job. Those same polls found Congress’ approval rating was less than 18%. Fox respondents actually gave Congress only a 17% positive rating. Furthermore, they gave Obama a 43% rating, significantly higher numbers than Congress and Republican leaders want everyone to think.
So we have over 80%, an overwhelming majority, of the country are unhappy with the politicians they’ve put in office. And yet, voters keep electing and reelecting these same unscrupulous professional politicians. The electorate is quick to complain, but doesn’t care enough to turn out to defeat this cast of wastrels, idiots, bigots, and power junkies.
Why does this keep happening? Money. The basic reason is cold, hard cash filling the “right” campaign coffers. In order for a candidate to succeed in state or national level elections in today’s world, they must become a vassal. They must become beholden to the people and organizations that will provide them money to run ads, to make political campaign trips, and to be in the media spotlight. There was a time when money came from you and me and was limited. Influence buying was more restricted and harder to successfully accomplish. In 2010, the Republican packed Supreme Court ruled Citizens United was a viable law. This legislation allows any individual or corporation to contribute as much money as they want to any candidate. Money can be given directly or through “guerilla funding” – aka Political Action Committees.
We keep hearing names like the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and George Soros. These are the “1%,” incredibly wealthy people, both Democrat and Republican, who use that wealth to buy the legislators they want. And of course, these paid for politicians protect their wealthy benefactors and support legislation to make them wealthier. Most don’t care about human or civil rights. Most of the 1% don’t care about global warming or pollution because that legislation could affect the way they do business. They don’t want to pay a working wage because it comes off their profit margins. And they do not want a united America because they know that united, the American people would not put up with their puppetry.
The simple truth is your people in Washington do not work for you. You may think you’re putting them in office with your votes, but they are bought and paid for ahead of time by people who have put a “property of” stamp of approval on them.
Sometimes, it seems our voting is just to confirm whom the 1% have anointed.
In the 1970’s, about 50% of all households in the US owned guns. According to the General Social Survey administered by NORC at the University of Chicago, by 2014 that total had dropped to 31%, a minority. And yet, the NRA, holds incredible sway over Congress and state level politicians while representing a minority of the population. The NRA is deciding who represents you and spends your tax money.
A recent Washington Post-ABC poll showed that 58% of Americans support gay marriage. Only 37%, a minority, are opposed. Yet this minority is driving anti-gay legislative programs across the country on both state and federal levels. Religious bigots are deciding who represents you and spends your tax money.
About 75% of Americans support raising minimum wages to between $9 and $10 per hour. And yet this is consistently blocked by the corporate lobbyists who run Washington. Lobbyists who represent the same corporations and business groups who contribute as much money as they want to political campaigns. The same corporations who don’t pay taxes and move their headquarters outside the US to avoid paying taxes. Non-tax paying corporations are deciding who represents you and spends your tax money.
In November, 2014, the Republicans took control of both houses of Congress. This was achieved mostly because only approximately 36% of eligible voters actually voted. Out of 227 million potential voters, 81 million voted. The worst was New York State where voter turnout was only 29%. And of the people that did vote, two thirds voted Republican, which means, in reality, that the winners of the 2014 election were chosen by less than one quarter of American voters. The elected were chosen by the voters whom the special interests were able to motivate.
That is very sad.
In countries all over the world, the right to vote is a holy grail that many seek but few find. In emerging African and Asian countries, voter turnout runs into the 70%, 80%, or sometimes, 90% range. We Americans should be ashamed of ourselves. We can’t get off our rear ends one day every couple years to support the greatest form of government in history. We just sit back and let the special interests, the corporations, the religious bigots, the 1% – the Minorities – ruin our democracy, and America with it.
In Washington, the inmates have indeed taken over the asylum. You can change that. Next time, get out and vote!