Why and How Real Democracy Is Coming To The U.S.A.
“Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. It’s coming to America first, the cradle of the best and worst.” – Leonard Cohen
The brilliant Leonard Cohen understands that even though America’s Founders originally intended to establish a Democracy, that goal has been subverted by Plutocrats and Theocrats who serve the minority wealthy class and the dominant religion. Consequently, the U.S.A. does not yet have a real Democracy.
The good news is that it is coming. We will alter and reform our government, as is our right and duty to do.
After all, in 1776, John Adams wrote: “Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men. Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require.”
Thomas Jefferson expressed the same thing in the Declaration of Independence, and, referring to how the people can maintain good constitutional government, Jefferson wrote this:
"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves: and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." -- Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson also noted: “Those seeking profits, were they given total freedom, would not be the ones to trust to keep government pure and our rights secure. Indeed, it has always been those seeking wealth who were the source of corruption in government..."
Jefferson even wrote: “The end of Democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.”
Jefferson was right. And Americans will awaken to the truth and realize they have been fooled by those seeking profits above all else. We will sweep away the corruption they have wrought, and we will reform the journalist profession and our education system to ensure that the people are properly and sufficiently informed and educated. That is, we will establish a real Democracy.
Why We, The People, Need To Establish Real Democracy
Real Democracy cannot and will not come without a comprehensive reformation of government, because it cannot and will not come as long as America perpetuates the partisan contest for the throne. After all, it divides and polarizes us, pits us against each other, and is based on competition. It does not unite us. It makes divisiveness built in.
Moreover, under the America partisan political system, regardless of which partisan political party wins political power, the wealthiest few still pull the strings. Money still rules and buys the government, and the whole political economic system is rigged to suit the wealthiest few.
Oh, the partisan political system has produced a few presidents who did great jobs, such as President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who soundly defeated the partisan forced of greed and self-interest and become the most popular president in U.S. history. And he was, during his three terms, able to save America from the depths of the Depression, create a booming economy by properly regulating banks and corporations, establish Social Security, put millions of people to work and teach them job skills, and build a large, great and prosperous middle class.
However, even if we could elect another president like Roosevelt, his legacy could, over a period of time, be negated, repealed and virtually destroyed, as Roosevelt’s legacy has been by the misleading ideology and agenda of Reaganism.
Therefore, what America needs is a comprehensive reformation of government, to put an end to the rule of money, an end to partisan politics, and an end to the divisive contest for the throne, and establish instead a stable, sustainable government that will promote the general welfare of the states, as the Constitution requires, and use the common wealth for the common good.
That is this article is one of a series that explains why we need to, and how we may, actually reform and alter the U.S. Government, as is our right and duty to do, so that it will no longer be a Plutocracy ruled by the wealthiest few, but instead will actually be of the people, by the people, and for the people.
How and Why America Became a Plutocracy
The seeds of Plutocracy were planted early on by the banker Alexander Hamilton and the Federalist Party that he founded near the end of President George Washington’s presidency. For even though the term “Federalist” originally meant anyone in favor of the ratification of the new U.S. Constitution, Hamilton’s Federalist Party was driven by the goals of bankers and businessmen. And they were against Thomas Jefferson’s and James Madison’s Democratic Republican Party in the 1800 election.
Even though Jefferson’s and Madison’s Democratic Republican Party defeated the Federalist Party in 1800, the Plutocratic seed had been planted, and it was germinated further by Hamilton’s notion that America should be a “Christian Meritocracy.” And that seed then sprouted and has been like noxious weed that keeps coming back, time after time, even though it violates the intent of the majority of America's Founders, as well as Article 6 and the First Amendment which prohibit any religious test or requirement to hold public office, and forbids any law respecting the establishment of religion..
But Hamilton's idea flourished in the 1920s in America, and again during the last several decades under Reaganism. That is why those seeking profit and wealth as they thump their bible have gained power and the forces of greed and self-interest rule, while during the same time everyone else has become worse off financially and the quality and quantity of their education, as well as their ability to afford and pursue higher education, has decreased substantially.
Thus what is supposed to be the democratic United States of America is neither united nor democratic, and America is ruled by the wealthiest few who have bought the kind of government that suits them. The U.S. Government is ruled by Plutocracy, not Democracy, as the companion article on Real Democracy vs. Plutocracy reveals.
Yet, even though the partisan political economic system in America perpetuates conflict and division, we've been led to believe it is "civilized" and results in "Democracy." But it's not, and every election cycle we see what it really is --- a dirty two year long fight for power that tempts corrupt partisans to be misleading and even deceptive in order to get what they want and gain or maintain political power.
That's why this article is a companion article also to The 21st Century Declaration of Independence, which suggests an evolutionary idea that can actually reform and alter the U.S. Government, as is our right and duty to do, so that it will no longer be a Plutocracy ruled by the wealthiest few, but instead will actually be of the people, by the people, and for the people.
The idea is based on basic truths which are the same as they were when Thomas Jefferson wrote them, even though our problems are much more complex. After all, as has become self-evident to most Americans, the corrupt forces of greed and self-interest have been very deceptive. To gain power, the corrupt who seek wealth have depicted their greed as if it were healthy “ambition,” and as if their wealth were ordained by God.
In fact, they have turned Christianity up-side-down to gain power, while during the same time everyone else has become worse off financially and the quality and quantity of their education has decreased substantially.
This is a huge problem, and it was created not by accident, but by deliberate design.
The Right-Wing Conspiracy
It was according to a plan conceived in the 1950s by right-wing extremists who wanted to subvert and destroy progressive President Roosevelt's New Deal. They didn't succeed immediately, of course. Their plan was squelched for a while in the 1960s by the “New Left.” But their plan began to be implemented in the 1970s by the infamous “Powell Memo” and by the resulting Business Round Table which changed the nature and impact of corporate bribery in Washington, D.C., and things have been going their way ever since.
As is explained in the article on The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, it gained tremendous momentum in the 1980s. Then, to get elected, President Bill Clinton had moved to the right of center out of political expediency, and he went along with Reaganism in most respects. By 2000 it was in full gear with the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) for global domination, and little or nothing has been done to stop it. The commercial network news media simply turned their back and said nothing while America was pushed down a slippery slope that led to where we are now.
Politically, a series of ongoing steps since 1971 have increasingly enabled the wealthiest few to rule with the power of their money. And even worse, the basic choices we have are limited to candidates from organized partisan political parties that divide us. We have no choice but to take sides, be pitted against each other, and buy into the polarizing battle for the throne. And, regardless of which partisan warrior wins the battle for the throne, the wealthiest few win and the vast majority loses.
The result of this divisive partisan political game is a divided nation and a divided government -- a government that doesn’t even have the consent of half the people it governs. (After all, about 40 percent of eligible voters don’t even bother to vote, and less than half of those who do vote can elect a president.) So it is certainly not government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Instead, it has government of, by, and for the wealthiest few who act as if their wealth entitles them to rule.
We the people should not accept this as the status quo, especially since it has proven to be to our detriment, to the detriment of the environment, the infrastructure, and the world.
Why the Real American Dream Has Not Yet Come True
Americans need to make the Real American Dream come true, because it is in our power to do so. The U.S. Government at least still operates by the consent of the governed. We can still vote, even though the political-electoral system has been rigged to favor, enable and entitle the rich. And we, the people, awakened and acting in concert, can bring about a peaceful, legal Reformation utilizing provisions in Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution.
After all, the real American Dream is not about individual fame and fortune. The fulfillment of the Real American Dream would be having a government that is truly of the people, by the people and for the people --- government that promotes the general welfare and uses the common wealth for the common good, and ensures domestic tranquility, liberty, freedom, and justice for all the people — so that each individual has equal rights and opportunities, and may live up to their full potential.
America does not yet have that, because America does not yet have a real Democracy, and America is not a Democratic Republic as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and other Founders envisioned and intended.
America has failed to live up to Jefferson's principles, which Abraham Lincoln said are "the axioms of a free society."
Of course, part of the problem is that the general public is not fully informed because corporate-owned commercial news media has not been diligent, and investigative journalists have failed to keep politicians honest. And, because so many people are so uninformed, they are easily misled by wealthy special interests that have been given free license to spend all they want in television and radio ads to mislead and deceive the public, bribe politicians, sway voters, and buy elections.
It is much like it was in the 1920s, because the wealthy few have been given the power to rule, and power has corrupted too many of them. Consequently, the U.S. Government treats the wealthy few with favor, privilege and entitlement while not caring that everyone else suffers, especially the working poor and the poor.
One horrible consequence, according to a UNICEF report on child poverty, is that 23.1 percent of American children live in poverty, giving the United States the second highest rate of child poverty out of 35 developed countries. In 2010, 20.5 million Americans were living on less than half of the federal poverty level. And about 79 percent of the children in poverty live in households where there is at least one adult working full time!
It is no wonder, then, that there is a partisan political battle dividing and polarizing Americans. And we should understand clearly what it is about.
The Basic Partisan Political Conflict
It is basically waged by those who represent the wealthiest few, as opposed to those who represent and advocate for the average citizenry, the working poor, the elderly, the disabled, and the poor. And in that respect, it is much like the partisan political battle that was waged in the debates during the Constitutional Convention from May to September in 1787, and again in the debates from 1790 to 1800 between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.
It's really the same old basic argument we still have because, like Jefferson, the majority of us want our nation to be a Democratic Republic in which all the people have equal rights and equal opportunities, and we reject our opponents' notion that their wealth or their professed religion entitles them to rule.
What most Americans do not realize is that this argument was actually settled by America's Founders in 1776, and especially during the Constitutional Convention in 1787. And, by 1801 it had become very clear that the majority the Founders and the majority of citizens agreed with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. They favored a Democratic Republic, and they rejected the Hamiltonian Federalists for being too wedded to a wealthy British-style upper class elitist aristocracy.
But, despite the fact that the winner from the beginning was Democracy over Plutocracy, right-wing forces of greed and self-interest have never accepted defeat. They have persistently fought to gain the upper hand, and they've succeeded many times, claiming that they most deserve the seats of power. They believe wealth is the true measure of a man, not understanding the divine reality. They serve Mammon, not God, and yet tend to wear their religion on their sleeve.
The same battle has been fought repeatedly throughout American history, and the battle is more bitter now than ever before because during the last several decades the wealthiest few Republican and Libertarian Multi-Billionaires have been enabled and empowered by all three branches of government.
So now, since right-wing partisan political extremists have been and are even now attempting to invoke the names of America's Founders as well as invoking the name of Jesus Christ trying to justify themselves, it is time to set the record straight and reveal the truth.
The True Intent of America's Founders
The Founders of the United States of America intended to establish and maintain freedom, liberty and sovereign independence. Most of them wanted a Democratic Republic, and they were against hereditary royal monarchy or aristocracy, oligarchy or plutocracy based on wealth. They were particularly against religious Theocracy, ensuring that there be no religious requirement for office, and no law regarding the establishment of religion. They wanted average people to have equal opportunity, and they wanted the people to be free and able to choose leadership that they deem wise, virtuous, and knowledgeable.
Of course, there were a minority of Founding Fathers, especially the banker Alexander Hamilton, who had a different world view and a different interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, because they preferred the British traditions of aristocracy and the British banking and economic systems that catered to and enabled the wealthiest few. In fact, Hamilton founded the Federalist Party to fight for that partisan political ideology.
Hamilton did that around 1794, when he was Secretary of the Treasury when George Washington was president, and he did it specifically because he disagreed with and fought the democratic republican ideas of Thomas Jefferson, who was the Secretary of State at that time. So Hamilton formed the first partisan political party in America, with the cooperation and collaboration of other bankers, businessmen and right-wing aristocrats.
That prompted Thomas Jefferson to work with James Madison to form and organize the Democratic Republican Party to oppose the Hamiltonian Federalist Party. And by 1801 Jefferson's and Madison's Democratic Republican Party was able to defeat the Federalist Party. And by solidifying Jeffersonian ideals, Jefferson and Madison honored the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and took another huge step forward in human evolution.
However, America has been pushed backwards many times, especially in the 1920s (which led to the 1929 economic crash and the Great Depression), and again during the last 32 years because of Reaganism and Reaganomics (which led to the 2008 economic collapse and great recession from which we still suffer). That is why we must now take another step forward and amend the U.S. Constitution. We must do so for many reasons, to clarify, update and improve it, but we must do so especially because Article 2 of the Constitution maintains the European idea that there must be a chief executive head of state and commander in chief, and the U.S. model is really just a presidential form of monarchy.
Granted, the Framers of the Constitution did establish a balance of powers between the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government. At the time that was the best they could think of to try to establish government that represented the people, with the consent of the people. But we need to progress and advance beyond that, because the divisive partisan contest for the throne is what perpetuates conflict and division in America, and it is now constant. It amounts to a winner-take-all fight for power over each other (through presidential and congressional leadership), and Americans should realize that such a system cannot possibly establish government of the people, by the people, or for the people.
Besides, America's Founders realized we would need to alter our government. They realized that even though they believed they were doing the best thing at the time, the time might come when the people would need to alter or reform their government, if and when it no longer served our interests. And that is why they wrote Article 5 of the Constitution, to provide methods to revise and amend the Constitution as needed.
As yet, Article 5 still has not been used for its ultimate purpose, which is why partisan politics still divides us and the government still serves the interests of the wealthiest few to the detriment of everyone else. That’s why the American people’s consent is flimsy, at best. After all, in presidential elections from 2000 to 2012 nearly half of the eligible voters in America didn't even bother to vote.
Since this message was first published in its original form in January 2002, many people have learned or realized that the U.S. Government has not yet lived up to the actual intent of its Founders, and the American Dream has been distorted into the misguided idea that government should enable and entitle individuals to gain great personal fame and fortune, and simply forget about promoting the general welfare and ensuring domestic tranquility by establishing equity and justice for all the people, as the Founders intended.
A false right-wing ideology has produced a culture of greed and self-interest, especially during the last 32 years, and it has caused many of our young people to be obsessed with material things, like fame, fortune, and superficial image. Yet, at the same time, most young people no longer trust any politician and see "the democratic process" of partisan politics as dirty, divisive, and rigged to benefit the wealthiest few, regardless of which partisan political party wins.
Why Partisan Politics Has Failed, and How We May Advance Beyond It
In spite of the reality, many Americans still believe that their partisan political economic system is the best in the world, and the best that we can produce. They believe that the people must be faced with a choice between partisan political candidates who are sanctioned and sponsored by an official partisan political party and its supporting interest groups. And, even though Independents are allowed to "run" for office, the system is rigged to enable the two major official parties to be the main competitors, and one of their candidates always wins the winner-take-all contest for the presidency.
They were winning even before the Supreme Court gave banks, corporations, Political Action Committees (PACs), foundations, groups and individuals unlimited financial power to influence and buy elections. Before that happened, the wealthiest one percent of the population had already been providing 80 percent of the funding for the campaigns of both Republicans and Democrats.
If you read the article on Partisan Politic: A Corrupt, Failed System you may see how and why our partisan political system has failed. And while there are many reasons for that failure, perhaps the biggest one is that the partisan political system is based on a deep lack of trust in the people to make wise choices on their own. And that lack of trust is demonstrated especially by self-important, self-righteous rich people with superiority complexes, who think that their wealth entitles them to rule.
What we the people need is free choice, because we can trust that if we are given total freedom of choice and equal opportunity to freely choose who we want to represent us in government, the vast majority of the people will make good choices, especially if and when we have an educated, informed public citizenry.
Unfortunately, during the last several decades the forces of greed and self-interest have waged a very cunning and very successful propaganda war to mislead and deceive Americans.
Certain Republicans or Libertarians or Federalists have even claimed that Thomas Jefferson was against Democracy. in fact, in 2004 one of them even fabricated a "quote" they attributed to Jefferson saying he wrote "Democracy is nothing more than mob rule."
That, of course, is absurd. If you read the writings of Jefferson it becomes obvious that Jefferson was a champion of Democracy. And, as is explained in the article on Jeffersonian Democracy, experts have said there is absolutely no evidence that Jefferson wrote that quote. It is contrary to his actual words and actions, which make it clear that Jefferson, like most of the other Founders, wanted America to be a Democracy and a Democratic Republic. But the forces of greed and self-interest have been whittling away at Democracy to the point where we now have a Plutocracy ruled by the wealthiest few.
That is why we should alter and reform our government peacefully, as the Founding Fathers knew would be necessary at some point.
Thomas Jefferson wrote: "I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times."
“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men. Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require.” -- John Adams
The 21st Century Declaration of Independence proposes how we could utilize Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution, which the Founding Fathers provided so that we may establish Constitutional amendments to ensure our full and equal rights, and have truly representational government.
As the Declaration and the article on How the Meek Shall Inherit the Earth suggests, we can prevent the buying of elections by the wealthiest few. We can eliminate the long, divisive partisan campaign process. We can eliminate paid political advertisements. We can put an end to the divisive partisan political competition for the "throne" of chief executive power, and instead adopt a way to better share the power in a more representational and fair way.
We can, by write-in ballot, nominate and ultimately elect an executive council of six women and six men for an Executive Council, and we can be free to choose whoever we want as members -- people who we think are the most wise, the most fair, the most conscientious and the most admirable people, who are well known for their good works in behalf of all humanity and our world. And we can choose them from any walk of life, because it is the content of their character that should be of utmost importance and the most important qualification.
Of course, it is quite possible that not all those citizens who would be nominated as the most popular choices made by the write-in ballot process would accept the call to serve. However, the twelve men and women who are among the most popular choices who do accept, would be elected and become real representatives of the people in an executive council in the executive branch of government, replacing the chief executive.
There is a danger, of course, that there may be enough right-wing extremists in the country to nominate and elect a few of their leaders to sit on the council, and even though they would surely be overruled by the majority, they could cause conflicts and divisions just as they do now in the legislative and judicial branches of government. However, there is a high probability that when this message is well known and widespread, and when the right-wing extremists are faced with its truth and righteous judgment, many will realize how and why they have been misled. Therefore, the remaining hard-headed, die hard extremists will be a small fringe minority, with little or no power.
That is why it is so important to spread the word about this message, and to discuss it in every way possible. For a reformation of government would produce a far greater and more representative democracy than we have now. The council could operate by consensus, and choose their own facilitator, spokesperson(s) and cabinet members, which could be from among them, or chosen in the traditional way according to education, expertise, and skills.
Furthermore, as is explained in How the Meek Shall Inherit the Earth, we can change and improve Congress, State Legislatures, City Councils and other similar bodies. We could choose people who we think would best represent us, as described in the declaration – people who seek to collaborate to further a just cause and a positive constructive agenda, rather than fight for and win power over others.
We could choose wisely and elect legislative, policy-making bodies made up of fair-minded people who simply want to put their heads together and serve as equals to create truly good government, with good policies, rules, regulations and laws that will benefit all of us, protect all of us, and serve all of us.
In other words, we can, and we should, establish a Real Democracy, with good government that will serve all the people, promote the general welfare and use the common wealth for the common good in order to ensure domestic tranquility.
We should consider that the early Greeks established a pretty good form of democracy 400 years before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The word Democracy comes from the Greek word meaning "rule of the people." One Greek wrote that "power should be in the hands of the whole people," rather than in the hands of one monarchical chief executive or an oligarchy of a relative few, and many agreed. Some even had the idea was that all citizens must have an equal voice, and there was recognition that in a democracy the poor have more power than the rich, because there are more of them.
Unfortunately, before long that idea was ignored. In fact, the idea about the poor having more political power than the rich died out pretty quickly, and it was replaced by the idea that political leadership should rightfully be in the hands of a deserving, superior, virtuous aristocracy.
The problem is, as it has often been throughout history ever since then, that true virtue has often not been the hallmark of political leadership. In fact, very often political power has been in the hands of a corrupt wealthy few who have been able to impose their will by hiring paid armed guards, police forces and armies. And most nations and states have been ruled by the richest few who have considered themselves royalty, nobility, aristocracy, or the upper class.
Americans, of course, are not comfortable talking about class, unless it’s about the "middle class," because they don’t want to admit there’s an upper and lower class. But, whatever the wealthiest few Americans consider themselves these days, even now they are the privileged few who hold and control 95 percent of the wealth and power.
Of course, Thomas Jefferson called such people "pseudo-aristocracy,"and he thought political leadership should not be determined by wealth, but by education and true virtue. That's why he and other Founders tried to plant the seed of real democracy in America in 1776, believing that government should exist only by the consent of the governed, and that all citizens and all religions should be regarded as equal in the sight of the government.
But it did not really take hold. The wealthiest few have always figured out how to make it appear as if the government had the "consent of the governed" by giving the people the choice between candidates for office who are presented and authorized by opposing partisan political parties. But, those opposing partisan parties have been financed by the wealthiest few, now more than ever.
Of course, this is not just an American phenomenon. Most people in most nations are in the same boat. But, while some people think partisan party politics will do the trick if only they can achieve victory over the opposing party; while some other people think the only answer is in some form of Communism (which Karl Marx came up with in the mid-1800s); and while still other people think that Religious Theocracy will establish good and righteous government, they are ALL wrong.
First, partisan party politics only perpetuates conflict, division, and instability, and while it may create the appearance of having the "consent" of the people, that is a stretch. Secondly, while Communists were justifiably angered at the European capitalistic nobility and aristocracy, they were wrong in calling for violent revolution to overthrow and destroy the capitalists, and most subsequent Communists have been even more wrong in advocating and perpetuating totalitarian rule. And thirdly, "good theocracy" is an oxymoron, because true servants of God do not seek to rule the people. Instead, true servants of God seek to counsel, liberate and empower the people.
Now is the time for all good, conscientious people to come together, to stand up and demonstrate your will and be counted, to bring about a peaceful, nonviolent revolution and reformation and establish government that is truly of, for and by the people. For the average people who are the humble and meek of this world shall indeed inherit the earth. But it will not happen unless and until we make it happen.
Even Though Money Now Rules, the People Can Have the True Power
We will not have true democracy until we stop and prevent the power of money to influence political campaigns, or to influence politicians, law-makers and policy makers, and fool people.
Americans need to realize that in that regard, the U.S. Supreme Court decision to allow giant corporations to invest as much money as they want in political campaigns and political advertisements is an atrociously wrong and bad decision.
Deceptively known as "Citizens United" v FEC, it was actually Corporations vs The Citizens, and it wound up that corporations won because the Court dictated that private businesses, including for-profit corporations, have a right to spend as much money as they want to elect or defeat candidates in political campaigns at all levels.
That Court decision reversed numerous Supreme Court precedents and dozens of long-standing campaign finance laws at the federal and state level. And the incredible thing is that they didn't stop there.
In early April 2014 a 5-4 Court ruling struck down a previous law limiting overall campaign contribution limits. The former law that the ruling wiped out had previously prevented individuals from contributing more than $123,000 per election cycle to candidates and party committees. But ,the conservative ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission No. 12-536 enabled Billionaires to have unlimited individual power to influence elections and try to buy elections.
The Court in the 2010 Citizens United v FEC case had already given corporations and Political Action Committees free license to flood the broadcast media to buy elections. But the McCutcheon ruling gives the wealthiest few total, unlimited power. So, if you think the political television attack ads have been bad so far, get ready for them to get much, much worse.
Of course, the five right-wing justices claim it’s a matter of "freedom of speech,” but that’s a very transparent and obvious rationalization. Freedom of speech is not the issue.
Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to buy elections and buy the United States government. The issue is that the court is legalizing unfairness and damaging and destroying equal opportunity, because you and I cannot afford to make our voices heard. But now the greediest of Billionaires have unlimited power to flood the electronic, print and broadcast media with their corporate propaganda and deception.
It should be noted, though, that in his dissent in Citizens United, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens pointed out the truth:
"When citizens turn on their televisions and radios before an election and hear only corporate electioneering, they may lose faith in their capacity, as citizens, to influence public policy. A Government captured by corporate interests, they may come to believe, will be neither responsive to their needs nor willing to give their views a fair hearing. The predictable result is cynicism and disenchantment: an increased perception that large spenders call the tune and a reduced willingness of voters to take part in democratic governance." -- Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens
Justice Stevens added that: "To the extent that corporations are allowed to exert undue influence in electoral races, the speech of the eventual winners of those races may also be chilled. Politicians who fear that a certain corporation can make or break their reelection chances may be cowed into silence about that corporation."
Increasingly during the last four years we find that Justice Stevens was absolutely correct.
Billionaires are free to buy elections and buy the government. For example, the Citizens United vs. FEC ruling allowed a record $7 Billion to be spent by corporations and PACs in the 2012 election cycle. And that and the newer ruling will further enable the wealthiest few and their corporations, banks and financial institutions to further establish what amounts to a Plutocracy and Corporatocracy (even more than they already have).
Some saner heads in the Senate are attempting in Senate Joint Resolution 19 to rectify the problem, but members of the billionaire Koch brothers’ Tea Party are fighting tooth and nail against it.
For example, on May 23, 2014, Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz deceptively accused Senate Democrats of trying to “repeal the First Amendment.”
Cruz was speaking at a gathering of leaders of the “Christian Right” sponsored by James Dobson’s “Family Research Council” when he said:
“When you think it can’t get any worse, it does. This year, I’m sorry to tell you, the United States Senate is going to be voting on a constitutional amendment to repeal the First Amendment.”
Cruz said, “Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has announced the Senate Democrats are scheduling a vote on a constitutional amendment to give Congress the authority to regulate political speech, because elected officials have decided they don’t like it when the citizenry has the temerity to criticize what they’ve done.” And further, Cruz said: “They don’t like it when pastors in their community stand up and speak the truth.”
The truth, however, was that Cruz was very misleading and deceptive, because he was referring to Senate Joint Resolution 19 which of course has nothing to do with repealing the First Amendment free speech rights.
In fact, the Resolution would simply undo the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the highly partisan political 5-4 decisions in the Citizens United and McCutcheon cases, which reversed precedents regarding campaign financing laws and enabled the rich to spend as much as they want to try to buy elections. To counter that, the Resolution calls for a Constitutional Amendment that would grant Congress and the states the power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to federal and state elections, respectively.
Senate Joint Resolution 19 is badly needed, because as the good Justice Breyer in his dissent in the McCutcheon case wrote: “Taken together with Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U. S. 310 (2010), today’s decision [on McCucheon] eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.”
How and Why Republican Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court
Fail to Understand the Constitution
The five Republican Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court fail to understand the intent of the large majority of the Framers of the U.S. Constitution, and they also fail to understand that the Constitution was so progressive that it is still ahead of our time.
If one studies the debates that occurred at the Constitutional Convention from May 29, 1787 to September 17th of 1787, that conclusion becomes very clear.
Those debates began with a minority of members of the Convention assuming its purpose was merely to improve the existing Articles of Confederation, not replace it with a Constitution. And they also assumed that the confederation of sovereign states would continue, rather than be united as one nation.
However, over the course of the Convention, that minority was overruled by the consensus of the great majority who understood that their purpose was to replace the failed Articles of Confederation with a Constitution that would give the central government the power to regulate interstate commerce and to ensure the integrity and ethical principles of the Union.
When the Convention began on May 29th, the first speaker, who turned out to be in the minority, put forth an argument about the right to vote, and while he voiced the opinion of many in proposing a House of Representatives to be elected by the people, he argued for a Senate whose members would be the most wealthy and powerful, to be elected out of the House of Representatives by Electors, not by the people.
Consequently, from the very start of the Convention there was tension, because while a minority of the landed and wealthy aristocracy wanted to exercise power over the public, the majority believed the power should be with the people and according to the vote of the people. So the argument then was significantly similar to what it is today, and the argument is perpetuated because wealthy Republicans and Libertarians today do not realize, or refuse to admit, that the argument was settled by the writing of the Constitution.
Of course it took some serious debate to settle the argument. But by June 4th, 1787 it had become very evident that the proponents of a powerful aristocracy were actually supporters of the traditional European hereditary principle of aristocratic rulership, and even Monarchy. But James Madison and others were quite ready to point out that a ruling wealthy Aristocracy and Monarchy was the very thing that the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War had intended to overthrow and eliminate in America.
The debate went back and forth for a while, because the minority of wealthy aristocrats believed in the superiority of aristocrats. And some of them wanted to place the authority of the states above that of the national government, even though that idea actually violated the original purpose of the Convention.
Madison then stated that their purpose was to form a national government and they must therefore abandon the ideas in the Articles of Confederation, and his statements in favor of Democracy squelched arguments against Democracy.
Fortunately, Madison spoke for the great majority, and thus the transition from the former aristocratic order into a new, innovative democratic order was established. And the Constitution that was produced was intended to ensure that there would be no superiority of wealthy aristocrats over the poor, which was a unique advancement and improvement over all prior governments throughout history.
From June 8th onward, the whole focus of the Convention was upon how to prevent the new nation from becoming like the European nations had been and still were – aristocratic and plutocratic, and not democratic. And the crux of the U.S. Constitution that was produced is reflected in the Constitution's Sovereignty Clause:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
That is why the U.S. Constitution was and still is a revolutionary, progressive document. And yet, in spite of the truth and the facts, modern, wealthy, conservative Republicans and Libertarians have been and still are persistent in claiming that the Constitution is a conservative document designed solely to protect and benefit the wealthy. But they are simply wrong, and they are blinded by their own self interests.
We, the people, should take the words of the Founders to heart, because during the last 30 years the U.S. Government has steadily become destructive regarding our civil liberties, rights and opportunities, while enabling an "upper" aristocratic class of incredibly wealthy people to profit far beyond what is reasonable or fair, at our expense, at the expense of our nation, and at the expense of our earth and environment.