“Beware of false patriots who will wrap themselves in the American flag and sell our American values to the highest bidder” George Washington
republic –n. a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.
democracy – n. government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
There isn’t much difference in the concepts by which our political parties have taken their names. We are in fact, a democratic republic. Only right wingnut media mavens like Limbaugh and Beck would draw any distinction and they seem to be reacting to the simple idea that using the word “democracy” might legitimize the Democratic party. They seem to be taking their cues from historical figures like Joe McCarthy and Carl Rove. This is just one example of how silly and obstructionist American politics has become with the advent of neo-conservatism. Conservative journalist, George Will, thinks “neo-cons” are misnamed and should be called out for what they are, the most “radical people” he has ever seen in Washington D.C. Their takeover of the Republican party and a great deal of the Democratic party has placed our country in its greatest peril since its founding.
I don’t want to be too critical of the recent announcement by Matthew Nielsen that he is a candidate for the office of State Representative for New Mexico’s 42nd district. After all, he does live next door to me and is apparently a practitioner of martial arts.
But seriously, he is to be commended for being willing to contribute his time and energy to the American concept of self-government. I wish more of my fellow citizens were as motivated. I share his concerns for the future of his 3 year old daughter as I do for my 2 year old grand daughter. Where he loses me is when he proudly aligns himself as a “Reagan Conservative” and makes the statement, “when you increase taxes on the wealthy, jobs are lost”.
The far right rarely lets simple “facts” interfere with its view of the world. A case in point is the issue of climate change. With polar bears facing extinction as the polar ice caps melt, 95% of the world’s glaciers on the retreat and island nations slowly slipping below the waves, do you find yourself wondering why we seem to be dragging our feet in doing something about it?
In the U.S. of A. money talks and we all know what walks. It was recently revealed that Koch Industries (the largest privately owned energy company in the world,) has spent $48.5 million since 1997 funding the pseudo sciences and organizations that feed the climate denial machine. They outspent Exxon/Mobil in that pursuit spending $25 million between 2005 and 2008 to Exxon/Mobil’s paltry $8.9 million.
Nearly that much has been spent funding the revisionist history of Reagan’s record. Organizations like Grover Norquist’s “Ronald Reagan Legacy Project” are already organizing to mythologize the G.W. Bush record.
Reagan gave us the “October Surprise”, “Iran/Contra”, CIA involvement in the drug cartels, deregulation, privatization, lower taxes on the corporate elite, and in effect declared war on the middle class. If you don’t know what I’m talking about; google it! His administration saw more federal indictments than any administration in the history of our country. He gave us our first 15.5 billion dollar deficit. He gave us “Reaganomics” or a trickle down economy often referred to as “Voodoo Economics”. He gave Clinton’s White House the stimulus for lifting the “Glass Stiegel Act” leading directly to the “home loan travesty”. He set a precedent for using 160 billion taxpayer dollars to bail out financial institutions in the Savings and Loan” debacles of 1985, arguably setting the stage for Bush’s TARP policies that surrendered “main street” to “wall street”.
His philosophies gave permission to Bush Jr. to pursue election fraud and declare a useless $3 trillion dollar war while simultaneously reducing taxes to the rich, thereby insuring that the costs would be born by the middle class and the poor. A war that has enriched the “military industrial complex” a Republican, Dwight D. Eisenhower, warned us about. The current state of the economy is largely a result of the 30 years we as a country have walked down the road Reagan led us to.
“If America is serious about regaining its economic standing in the world, it is essential that we have a full public debate of what and who led us down the wrong path. Reagan should no longer be exempt from the scrutiny that his legacy so richly deserves”
William Kleinknecht, author of “The Man Who Sold the World, Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America”
If our country is to have a future we must turn away from the racism, ignorance and violence that seems to inform the “tea partiers”, more reminiscent of the Civil War than the “spirit of ‘76”.
“Don’t retreat, instead, RELOAD” Sarah Palin
The far right’s influence over the Supreme Court has very nearly sealed our fate with the recent 5/4 decision surrendering control of our political system to international corporations.
Citizens United v. FEC see http://freespeech.org/our-democracy-under-attack
We must reach out to those of us who are low information voters and engage in true discourse. Democracy will fail without an informed populace.
In closing I will leave you with a quote by one of my favorite Republicans.
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the People until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” Abraham Lincoln
Taos, New Mexico