NOTE: This post was written by one of our readers who wishes to remain anonymous.
The sword of Damocles is hanging over every American household, suspended by a hair, and is ready to fall.
The only good choice they have is to correct the problems they face as a result of past bad choices or suffer grievous consequences. But Americans are confused and cannot agree on what to do for the nation or anything else. One of their problems is that they are divided because their main two political parties represent different constituencies, values and interests.
This disunion creates many conflicts and upheavals that prevent the nation from going forward successfully for any extended period. As soon as the unprivileged achieved some security through a program like Obama Medical Care, the privileged classes proceed to weaken it. As a result of this constant confrontation, there is little genuine fraternity and their congressional representatives cannot unite for the common good.
Presently, the country is divided evenly into so-called conservative Red States and liberal or progressive Blue States. Spread out through these two blocks are independent voters whose votes often decide the winner of a national election.
Few Americans like extremes of the left or the right. They prefer a government which represents the happy middle. At least that’s what they say. Because they don’t practice what they preach, not many presidents have been able to unite the country, except in cases of national emergency. As a result most Americans are divided by political partisanship, class egoism, and other evils that keep them constantly frustrated.
This is bad, especially during a political campaign because they don’t see each other as fellow human beings, but as rivals and competitors.
In theory Americans pay lip service to many ideas, but they tend to vote for those who share their political opinions, religious beliefs, and economic situation. As a result, the two parties are always struggling for power and unable to create and maintain a just balance between conservative and liberal tendencies. America desperately needs enlightened leaders to restore a just balance between the factions so they don’t become immobilized. If government institutions become inflexible, America will fail as a democracy and eventually become a repressive fascist oligarchy.
What would happen after that is difficult to predict, for it would depend primarily on the behavior of the haves and have-nots. All we know is that presently 20% of Americans own about 85% of all the wealth in the nation, leaving very little for the rest to enjoy. If this inequality is not corrected soon by Congress, those who suffer deprivation may someday become desperate enough to retaliate against their oppressors.
A French styled revolution is out of place in America. But one never knows what a disgruntled individual may say or do. People who are cornered and have no one to guide them to normalcy often feel compelled to become their own avengers and resort to guns and violence. Every year the media reports cases in which workers unjustly dismissed sought revenge by killing competing workers or their bosses.
Personal revenge is often the court of last resort for people who cannot get justice where they live through normal channels due to racism or other existing problems. This unhappy scenario wouldn’t happen if voters elected moderate politicians willing to give every citizen his due. But many people are not willing to be fair. As a result, millions go hungry in this rich country on a regular basis.
Some super rich campaign against the federal government and refuse to share the sacrifices and benefits that democracy entails with average Americans. Others think that their wealth makes them superior to other citizens and they use their money to bribe crooked politicians to get special treatment. This has produced a de facto government (led by lobbyists), not envisaged by the Founders, that regularly bribes venal members of Congress.
Since democracy is based on majority rule, and capitalism is not, the U.S. has two antagonistic governments and cannot please them both. The elected members of congress constitute the legal de jure government, by right and title, and wealthy capitalists the de facto government, by the use of bribe money. As already pointed out, this competition has already been won by rich capitalists, the poor be damned.
Millions of average citizens own only the clothes on their backs and a few gadgets bought on the installment plan. And the big question is, how long can such inequality continue unabated before the people draw a line in the sand and level the economic playing field? More importantly, how long can the rich and the poor classes go in contradictory directions without undermining the stability of the nation?
The present inequality is creating two Americas, and this is the reason that Republicans and Democrats don’t get along in the Congress of the United States. If both parties represented the silent middle class majority, as intended by the Founders, they could easily compromise for the common good. But they don’t.
Something has to change, but can it be done without resorting to violence? The Founding Fathers did it, but present politicians are not as smart or dedicated as they were. This is the big problem that living Americans must solve. Are we smart enough to do it, or have we become too greedy and selfish for our own good? If we succeed, we will leave a bright, prosperous country to our loved ones; if we fail, we will only leave behind unfinished wars and a pile of debris and ashes.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH DEMOCRACY TODAY?
As we just stated, the growing gap between the rich and the middle class in America is threatening the foundations of our democracy. Today the top one percent of Americans have almost all the money. This has given them the power to sponsor their stooges into positions of power in Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court. As a result, although we still have the trappings of a democracy, we have a government of, by, and for the super wealthy.
The only thing that keeps America from becoming completely fascist is the fact that corporate interests are motivated by profit rather than ideas. They don’t like democracy, but they are afraid to challenge it head on, for fear of unleashing a general uprising and losing control. They know that if they precipitate another Great Depression as they did in 1929, millions of Americans would be forced to roam the streets looking for food in garbage cans. This might cause a strong popular leader, not as nice as FDR was in the 1930’s, to come along, confiscate their ill-gotten assets, and pass laws to curtail their power permanently.
For this reason, most corporate leaders with a scintilla of intelligence think it is easier to deal with greedy, pliable politicians who lust for money, power, or influence. Although few modern politicians will admit to you that they are, as some Robber Barons used to call them. “Mere field agents entrusted with the handling of Congress for the benefit of business interests,” their nineteenth century counterparts were more honest. In 1896, Republican Senator Boies Penrose of Pennsylvania publicly admitted it. “I believe in the division of labor,” said he. “You send us to Congress: we pass laws which make you money… and out of your profits, you further contribute to our campaign funds to send us back to pass more laws to enable you to make more money.”
The sword of Damocles is hanging over every American household, who will save us?