It’s a new year with so much on the horizon. And, so much uncertainty. Who will win the Republican presidential nomination? As the actual nominating process is about to begin in earnest, it seems five or six candidates are still viable contenders. In fact, we may not know until their national convention next summer who will actually be the Republican standard bearer.
While the media and the Democratic establishment believe Hillary Clinton has the nomination all but wrapped up, Bernie Sanders’ campaign continues to build momentum and support. So, it’s quite possible Sanders could pull a populist upset and not only win the nomination, but also be our next president. (See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/h-a-goodman/bernie-sanders-will-be-sworn-in-as-americas-45th-president_b_8909356.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592.)
I think, however, the bigger question is: What will you and I do to help determine the outcome of this pivotal election? Over our lifetime, whether you are 18 or 80, the prevailing trend in American electoral politics has been that fewer and fewer people participate in the process of selecting the leaders of our government, the people who control our lives and our country in very significant, even critical, ways.
Of course, we have many good reasons for not participating. Our political system is corrupt. Our votes don’t matter. It’s a waste of time and energy. It’s fixed. The establishment always wins. Why bother?
I must admit: It’s hard to argue with someone who holds that point of view. But this year just could be different. The anti-establishment contingent may be so big in 2016 that the old order finally gets thrown out. Trump and Cruz appear to have captured the majority of Republican primary voters. And, the Sanders campaign claims to have more individual financial supporters, over than 2.5 million, than anyone in the history of American politics. The voters are very upset.
Since I came of age in the early Sixties, we have witnessed one American tragedy after another. From the Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations to the catastrophic blunders of the Vietnam and Iraq wars. As if that wasn’t enough, millions of people lost their jobs and/or their homes in the Great Recession of 2008 due to Wall Street fraud and irregularities. And, if that wasn’t enough, our government bailed the big bankers out with out tax money. Still, if that wasn’t enough, we stood by and let them get away with it. Today, those bankers are doing better than ever while most Americans have a difficult time just holding their own. The voters are very, very angry.
I saw “The Big Short” the other day. I highly recommend it. The movie clearly lays out exactly how Wall Street and the big mortgage lenders knowingly and fraudulently created a housing bubble that had to burst. Their greed and disregard for their fellow Americans threw the country into the biggest financial collapse since the Great Depression. “The Big Short” should be required viewing for all Americans.
But, perhaps the greatest tragedy is we, the American people, did not demand that those fraudulent bankers be prosecuted and held responsible. Just like we did not demand that the Bush Administration be held to account for the lies that got our country into the costly, needless Iraq War.
What is wrong with us? Are we Americans so weak, helpless or apathetic that we will allow Big Money to overrun our government and do anything it damn well pleases regardless of the consequences for our country and the rest of us? Are we too afraid? Do we have no self-respect?
Yes, Big Money is a powerful force to overcome. But are we going to succumb to serving its interests to the great harm of most Americans without a fight for what we know is right? Millions of Americans have fought and died since our country was born so that, as Lincoln vowed at Gettysburg, “government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
This is Our Time. We cannot allow a plutocracy by and for the very wealthy to destroy democracy during our watch. Working together we can revive democracy in America. Read Breaking Big Money’s Grip on America and visit http://www.breakingbigmoneysgrip.com for how you can help.