I was thinking recently of politicians and political ads. Just like the consultants hired by attorneys to orchestrate mock juries to make possible the best presentation of what the real jurors will hear, we all know that marketing experts tell candidates what to say and how to say it in their ads–and possibly in their speeches. I am certain some of the candidates–like Ron Barber–are sincere people who, going in, believe they can make a difference for their constituents, city, state or even our country. It now appears likely that for most of them, however, it’s about power and money.
Without a meter that appears above the candidates’ heads when they speak, with an arrow moving from LIE to TRUTH and back, what are we to do? (I do wish, instead of debates, we could hook them up to lie detectors and ask them questions about their motives and plans. Wouldn’t that be great? The candidates alone in quiet rooms, attached to lie detectors, with cameras and microphones for us to see and hear, as we phone in our questions?) Oh–I’ve digressed.
1) One thing we can do is use our common sense. When candidates say they will do A or B if elected, it’s a misrepresentation. Alone they are powerless; there must be consensus to forward bills to the President’s and Governors’ desks. Everything depends on the party in control of the legislatures. We are all familiar with, and sick of, the deadlocks in state houses and in Washington, D.C.
2) Why the deadlocks? While we may never know what’s really going on in lawmakers’ high-powered meetings, we can at the very least, whether we want to or not, stay informed. The internet makes research much easier now than it was in years past.
Have you heard of a man named Grover Norquist? He’s the president of Americans for Tax Reform and created the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in 1986. I recently saw him on 60 Minutes. He said he influences our elected Republican officials in this way: He approaches candidates and tells them if they really mean ‘No New Taxes,’ they need to take an oath and sign his pledge. If they do, ‘big money’ comes their way and they are certain to be elected (because of the influence on us of advertisements). If representatives renege on their pledge, ‘big money’ assures they are not re-elected.
From Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform: “On the state level, 13 governors and 1249 state legislators have taken the pledge.”
From The Fiscal Times: “To date, 238 House members, 41 Senators, and about 1300 state legislators have signed the pledge to never, ever raise taxes. The fact that a whopping 95 percent of all Republican congressmen have signed it – plus all four of the existing GOP presidential candidates – is a point of pride for him.”
The bottom line is, with Grover Norquist overriding Republicans in state and federal legislatures, there can be no consensus, no cooperation, no true governing, no taxes to reduce the deficit (never, apparently, on the wealthy or corporations, who pay a far smaller percentage of their income in taxes than do middle-income-Americans).
The wealthy are in charge of us and they are protecting themselves. From the Tax Policy Center, read about Mitt Romney’s Tax Plan.
And, did you know the National Defense Authorization Act became effective in 2012? Its focus is anti-terrorism, but according to Forbes some of the provisions could apply to Americans. Forbes says the act could be used to detain Americans without being charged or given a trial. Shouldn’t we be aware of these things?
3) We must register to vote before the deadline passes and then we must vote to remove from office those who will not cooperate with the whole on behalf of all of us. We’re still the Americans—they’re still our employees. We must call or write to our representatives, insisting on cooperation and common sense solutions to straighten out the messes we Americans have allowed. Apathy is the worst thing that has happened to us because we’re no longer a democracy; we’re an oligarchy–rule by the wealthy. Let’s join the Occupy Movement and peacefully protest before our travel is restricted and curfews are put in place. Don’t think so? Read this: ‘Big brother’ lamp posts can hear, see and bark ‘Obey!’ at you
Professor Gar Alperovitz is insightful in: America Beyond Capitalism.
- Join the movement to reject the Supreme Court’s Citizens United Ruling: We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights. Sign the petition at: http://movetoamend.org/
A new Public Citizen report details how deregulating the financial derivatives market contributed to the financial crash and warns lawmakers – who are considering deregulating the derivatives market again – about the consequences of doing so: https://www.freespeech.org/text/ignoring-historys-lessons-yet-again
The future may seem hopeless, but it’s not. It’s not! The future is up to us.