In addition to a CounterPunch article on just how undemocratic our democracy is, an opportunity to elect a renewable energy storage scientist to the Roundhouse. If you open but one email today, please open this.
For Popular Sovereignty…We Have A Long Way To Go
CounterPunch published a most revealing article this weekend and one quote really struck home:
The following 13 states together have a combined population of roughly 34.4 million: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Together these 13 red states send 26 Republicans to the U.S. Senate. The single state of California, with a population more than 5 million higher than these 13 states combined, sends 2 Democrats to the upper chamber of Congress.”
Ouch! Talk about disproportionate representation! In addition, CounterPunch identifies these anti-democratic features of our current government:
- an openly undemocratic Electoral College system that “triples the clout of the eight smallest states and doubles that of the next six” (Lazare). This ridiculous system for not democratically electing the U.S. president has put the right-wing Republican loser of the popular vote in the White House in 2 (2000 and 2016) of the last 5 presidential elections.
- rampant gerrymandering that tilts state legislatures and the House of Representatives far to the right of the populace.
- strictly scheduled and time-staggered elections combined with absurd propaganda telling Americans that they get real and significant policy “input” by going into voting booths for 5 minutes to select from a narrow spectrum of major party contenders once every 730 or 1460 days.
- a Supreme-Court-approved/-mandated “wealth primary” campaign finance system which helps guarantee that, in the words of the leading liberal political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, “government policy . . . reflects the wishes of those with money, not the wishes of the millions of ordinary citizens who turn out every two years to choose among the pre-approved, money-vetted candidatesfor federal office” (emphasis added).
CounterPunch goes on to site another article that dispels any illusions we might have about the Supreme Court as being our protector from injustice. As Lance Selfa recently wrote in a sharp Socialist Worker article titled “Losing the Legitimacy it Never Had”:
“Despite the mythology surrounding the Court, it has long been the most insulated and least democratic part of the U.S. government. For much of its existence, it upheld the views of the most reactionary forces in the U.S. political system…Supreme Court decisions denied citizenship to African Americans (the Dred Scott case) and legalized racial segregation (Plessy v. Ferguson), overturned laws limiting working hours (Lochner v. New York) and upheld the internment of Japanese Americans in the Second World War (Korematsu v. U.S.). And that’s just a handful of the Court’s most consequential and backward decisions”
CounterPunch goes on to point out that the only period in which the Supreme Court was at all progressive was during a brief period under the Warren Court. Aside from that, the Court has been a consistent protector of the oligarchy. The CounterPunch article does an excellent job of linking our current most undemocratic democracy to the actual intent of our founding fathers. There was never even the remotest desire for anyone other than landowners (and big ones) to have any power whatsoever in ruling the land. From CounterPunch.
‘Those who own the country,’ the leading Constitution framer John Jay once said, ‘ought to govern it.’As the celebrated U.S. historian Richard Hofstader noted in his classic 1948 text, The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It: ‘In [the U.S. Founders’] minds, liberty was linked not to democracy but to property.’ Democracy was a dangerous concept to them, conferring ‘unchecked rule by the masses,’ which was ‘sure to bring arbitrary redistribution of property, destroying the very essence of liberty.’ “
A most perverted sense of liberty and justice for all from Day One. And so this is our inheritance and this is what we must reverse. Over the next few weeks, Retake will present the flip side of our historic and current democracy, a far more inclusive, participatory and egalitarian model that will not be given to us. We will have to seize it. And a modest, but very good start on seizing an important power base is available right now by getting Abbas Akhil into the Roundhouse, speaking truth to power, and providing an alternative view from the gas and oil lobbyists as to what New Mexico’s energy future could, should and must be. If we want to retake our power, we need to work for it. And that means all of us. Including you. So scroll back up to the top of this post, pick a time you can join us in canvassing and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know when you can be canvass.
Click here to read the full CounterPunch story. I only scratched the surface at what they disclosed. A very interesting article.
Paul & Roxanne