truth-2-Power

Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be

If you vote Republican today, what are you REALLY voting FOR? Handing Your Freedoms Away


There are thousands of candidates and hundreds of measures before the voters today. The economy is number one on most American’s minds, yet it is the farthest thing from anything you will see on a ballot. Before you pull a lever, punch a chad or draw a line across the broken arrow, maybe you should know what you’re REALLY voting for.

Billions have been spent on this election. By whom? To what purpose?

Elections are about who holds power. Democracy hands you, the average citizen, that power.  People with money are often aligned against your self-interest.  So the trick is to get you to find a compelling reason to vote against that interest.  Given the polls as of yesterday, thanks to Citizens United, they are succeeding.

First, who moves all that money? The billions being spent come from three sources:

  • Individual citizens, and trade unions that represent working Americans;
  • New wealth Americans, from Hollywood liberals to Hard Right multi-millionaires
  • The fraction of the fraction of the 1%, who, in this country, are almost all Hard Right and very very white.  They built a power structure that has run this country for more than a century. The 2008 global melt-down caught them off-guard. They are here to re-assert power.

With a rising minority majority, and playing upon the fears of religious groups, fear of the other has been the compelling push to get you to vote against your self interest, and serve the needs of the 1% of the 1%.

The rich have become so much richer and the middle class and poor that much poorer in the last 35 years since Ronald Reagan’s rise, that these people are far richer than the Robber Barons of 20th century’s “Gilded Age.”  The Economist recently reported:

“Including capital gains, the share of national income going to the richest 1% of Americans has doubled since 1980, from 10% to 20%, roughly where it was a century ago. Even more striking, the share going to the top 0.01%—some 16,000 families with an average income of $24m—has quadrupled, from just over 1% to almost 5%. That is a bigger slice of the national pie than the top 0.01% received 100 years ago.

Once upon a time, the masses of people on this planet were controlled by a few people who used the fear of whatever Almighty was popular in that age to channel ignorance and fear through the wholesale use of lies that made a few people who were some combination of  smarter, slyer or more physically ruthless, a whole lot richer.

All modern political systems, other than the rank dictatorships or kingdoms which still exist, have changed the method of control, and have allowed varying measure of personal freedoms, but the constant remains:

They channel fear and ignorance of the mass of humanity living in their borders to produce maximum wealth and power for a very few. In this country we’ve substituted religion and/or the whip, gun, and sword for television, radio, news print, billboard and lawn sign.

What Republicans and their funders would like for you to forget, walking into a polling place today, is that they are the primary agents of that inequality.

“The bank rescues shone a spotlight on the unfairness of a system in which affluent bankers were bailed out whereas ordinary folk lost their houses and jobs. And in today’s sluggish economies, more inequality often means that people at the bottom and even in the middle of the income distribution are falling behind not just in relative but also in absolute terms.” [1]

A vote for Mitt Romney camp is a vote to restore these social Darwinists‘ “natural order” of exploitation.

What are you voting for today?

SOCIAL CONTROL.

Either the American Middle Class is in the democracy’s driver’s seat, or the wealthy get it back after losing it to the New Deal when their excess imploded the economy back in the 1920s.

They count on you being so saturated with Jersey Shore and so poorly educated in civics and history that you’ll forget that America was not built as a real pluralistic society until the 1940s.

Teddy Roosevelt wasn’t supposed to be president. The assassination of President William McKinley ushered in the Roosevelts, and the American Progressive movement which, after the Great Depression, lead to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” which corrected the lop-sided control that early industrialists took over the American people.

FDR worked with the premise that a strong and thriving middle class creates a political center weight, a sort of regulator that keeps the United States from veering wildly from the Far Right to the Far Left.  To achieve that, you need an educated and highly literate state. So we set up better channels to higher learning, and GI Bill that turned soldiers into the smart people who could create a greater economy and be well-reasoned voters in the better society that prosperity created.

The Founding Fathers were big on Rousseau’s philosophy of a social contract.  All legal contracts are based on “consideration.”  The simple notion that in a deal, I get something, in exchange you get something.

In the royal system, as king, I would get everything, because [INSERT DIVINE BEING HERE] says so, and you get what little is left, because [INSERT DIVINE BEING HERE] says so, BUT, the good news for you is that the NEXT LIFE is paradise and as long as you suffer like a good little schmuck, you get milk,honey, and whatever version of paradise, from Valhalla to Heaven, that your particular belief system serves up.

Republicans talk a good game about this being a Christian nation, but it wasn’t until the social safety net was put in place.  In the richest country in the world, we take care of our lesser citizens.  While we are all political equals, the American body politic varies widely in physical ability and well being, psychological self-control, and mental aptitude.

There is a Civil War going on in the Republican Party between the extremist groups that have dominated it since the days of Ronald Reagan. Both groups agree on one thing; Their coveted White America’s power is slipping away from them.

By 2016, white America will no longer be the majority.

To get into power now, they can set-up control that will keep them in the power structure for decades longer than their democratic voting abilities carry them.

This isn’t a newsflash to the shrinking base of Republicans whose extremism has shrunk them to 2 in 10 registered voters.

During the post-Reagan years a pattern has popped up.  Republicans will sell economic security, or fear of some “other” domestic or foreign, to gain your confidence, power, and then CONTROL. What do they do once they have it?

Certainly it has not been making average Americans more prosperous.

  • Run up trillions in debt:
    “When Ronald Reagan took office, the U.S. national debt was just under $1 trillion. When he left office, it was $2.6 trillion. During the eight [Reagan] years, the US moved from being the world’s largest international creditor to the largest debtor nation.[2]
    “Under President Bush: At the end of calendar year 2000, the debt stood at$5.629 trillion. Eight years later, the federal debt stood at $9.986 trillion.”The debt under the Obama Administration has risen to $15.3 trillion, largely to clean up the mess that Reagan’s prosecution of the Cold War on a credit card, and W’s two ill-conceived wars.  There would have been no need for stimulus and bail outs that were launched before Bush left office if they hadn’t have made the mess in the first place. The part that galls most Americans is that the clean-up of the mess made the richest Americans who made it that much richer.
  • Hamstringing of Government Regulation – The melt down of Wall Street, the BP oil spill, and our crumbling infrastructure are all the results of choices that were made by Republicans in office. When they get comfortable, Republicans engage in the systemic internal institutional dismantling of as much of “government” as they can. They put in layers of bureaucrats who work to write regulation and code that favor the wealthy and dismantle the protective services that the government offers.  If a wealthy man decks you, and walks away, you call the cops. Would it be scary to hear that they have the right to do it under some exception to the law you’ve never heard of?  The rich have lawyers for physical assaults, but the assaults on your wallet and your home have been quiet yet equally brutal.
  • Codify and legislate one version of morality- Particularly since the Teahadis took over the House of Representatives and many state legislatures in 2010 we have seen hundreds of bills, many passed, legislating the morality of a small subset of Americans.  Registered Republicans make up just 2 in 10 voters. Daily Beast writer John Avlon writes for CNN:”It’s almost as if bringing up social issues is impolite. But of course, there’s an electoral calculation beneath the impulse to keep them in the closet.”It is an interesting implicit admission — that the far-right litmus tests on social issues that seem necessary to win closed partisan primaries also alienate the centrist and independent voters that Republicans need to win general elections.” [3]
  • Re-Craft Education to Limit Opportunity and Enrich the Rich – The GOP Charter School drive is, like the testing scams of the Bush Administration, first and foremost about private companies getting their hands on millions of dollars that pay for public education. Their threat to return PELL to the banks will also put colleges and universities out of reach again for millions of poor and middle class Americans, including many in the professional classes who are finding college a greater reach for their children.

Today, you may think that you’re voting for your congressman, the president, a judge or two and a handful of ballot measures.

If you vote Republican today, here is what you’re really voting for:

  • Two Supreme Court seats are up for grabs – A decades-long tilt to the Far Right;
  • The end of the social safety net as we know it – Goodbye Medicare, Social Security, and bringing everyone into the health care system without resorting to the emergency room door;
  • Further dismantling of the government’s functions that protect the air, water and land that we need to live, that keep you from being stopped and asked for proof of citizenship if your skin isn’t white, that let a woman earn what the man working at the same pay grade right next to her makes.
  • A $2T build up of an already bloated military industry without the means to pay for it
  • Institutionalization of tax policies and the dismantling of estate taxes that allow the wealthy few to pay 8% to 22% less than the average working American.

Your decision at the ballot box today might seem to be about the economy or jobs or Israel, but it really is about whether you believe in the middle class in this country, the regulator of a fair and free democracy, or not.

The 1% paid billions to have you to be distracted by abortion, Israel, immigration reform, or whatever your pet peeve is. Don’t justify the outrage of Citizens United. Corporations and the billionaires that back them have enough influence already.  Rise above. See the forest for the trees. Do not endorse an America sinking into fascism, or it will slide into a future of a nation divided.

The power to save America is in the pen, punch, or lever in your hand today. VOTE.

My shiny two.

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About Brian Ross

Brian Ross is a writer, screenwriter, political satirist, documentarian and short filmmaker who blogs for Truth2Power, the Huffington Post, and the Daily KOS, among others.

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