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Is America Losing It's Democracy?

By The Reverend Published: February 12, 2011

A 30 year dictatorial regime has ended in Egypt....and now the hard slog to form a democracy will begin. A good thing, to be sure.

One middle eastern country begins it's democracy while the world's most powerful nation seems to be losing it's democracy.

While millions of ordinary Americans are struggling with unemployment and declining standards of living, the levers of real power have been all but completely commandeered by the financial and corporate elite. It doesn’t really matter what ordinary people want. The wealthy call the tune, and the politicians dance.

High unemployment, lack of economic opportunities, elections that seem to make little difference, a political system built on the bribery of elected or appointed officials, elected officials who cannot, or will not, carry out the will of the people.....

Egypt, sure.....but also America?

So what we get in this democracy of ours are astounding and increasingly obscene tax breaks and other windfall benefits for the wealthiest, while the bought-and-paid-for politicians hack away at essential public services and the social safety net, saying we can’t afford them. One state after another is reporting that it cannot pay its bills. Public employees across the country are walking the plank by the tens of thousands. Camden, N.J., a stricken city with a serious crime problem, laid off nearly half of its police force. Medicaid, the program that provides health benefits to the poor, is under savage assault from nearly all quarters.

These things are obvious, and have been for quite some time. Progressives continue unabated, as they always have, expanding on the obvious. America's political system is lousy with corruption and bribery. The Citizens United case, unfortunately, has 'roided up this corruption, placing average Americans that much further away from being represented by their elected officials.

But many in America's conservative movement heap praise on the Citizens United case and sing hymns of reverence to the corporate titans who will further benefit from it.

Money equals free speech equals money.....a corporation is really a person like you and me.....the very richest few have the perfect right to control our political process.

Seems, I don't know.....unAmerican, yet, American conservatives disagree entirely. What today's conservatives point to, instead of acknowledging the role the top 2% play in dictating what our democracy will look like, is government. In government, itself, they cast their blame. If our system is corrupt, they say, it's not corporate overlords who have corrupted's government.

I guess this is understandable on some level.....after all, Ronald Reagan stated openly that government was the problem, not the solution.

In today's modern conservative Gipper version, if our democracy is failing, if income disparity is worsening, if opportunities for average Americans are dwindling, if citizens are feeling hopeless that anything will ever's because progressive elected officials have enslaved voting blocks with welfare programs and handouts and catered to dwindling organized labor "thugs", all while attempting to impose socialism on an unsuspecting population.

I have to confess...I don't understand how conservatives can look at the American situation.....historic wealth disparity, mass outsourcing of living-wage jobs, 1950's tax rates, a labor movement which has lost two thirds of it's membership, the bribery of our elected officials by huge multi-nationals.....and conclude what they conclude. But, they do.

It's a sad situation. When people like Bob Herbert accurately calls these realities, "a perversion of our democracy", conservatives recoil and strike a defensive pose....defending, and cheering for more of the status quo. More tax cuts for big business and the wealthy, more shredding of the safety net, more attacks on organized labor, more control of our political process by the top 2%, and more faux-rages over how poor, mostly minority, "welfare queens" have ruined the country.

Today, there is good news. Egyptians have successfully ended a thirty year-long dictatorship. But there is also bad news.....

The Egyptians want to establish a viable democracy, and that’s a long, hard road. Americans are in the mind-bogglingly self-destructive process of letting a real democracy slip away.




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