The United States Supreme Court has made it official – money talks and is a form of freedom of speech. And who gets to speak loudest? To be sure it is not John Q. Public.
Our local paper covers the campaigns of the most conservative candidate. Ninety percent of that coverage is about how much money they have raised. (The same may well be true in liberal areas – the point is the same.) Very little is heard about what they think and the campaigns seem designed to not divulge positions. If a position is defined it might offend some votes – let them vote blindly.
How is this approach working for you? I do not like my little whisper. Have you tried to contact your representative or senators? Their email address contains do not reply. I have heard a dollar figure required to speak to one’s elected member of Congress, and it sure does not fit the pocketbook of a vast majority of the citizenry. A very simple dictionary defines “plutocracy” as “government by the richest people; a country that is ruled by the richest people; a group of very rich people who have a lot of power.”
A decreasing percentage of people get their news from local newspapers. Increasingly the news source is television. News is often given without attribution and the controls of what is presented are about as strict as Facebook, Twitter, and email, i.e. no control. A few incidences of journalistic discipline exist but news is inflammatory and appealing to emotions. No need to use brains when information is so badly skewed.
I am reminded of a quotation by Harry S. Truman: “Farmers have time to think, and occasionally they do.” Of course farming has changed quite a bit since Truman’s day.
The Roberts Court stuck an equally devastating blow to our self-governing when they allowed Texas to use voting rules that presented great difficulty to Afro-Americans and Latinos. The picture ID rule requires people to go through the Department of Public Safety’s offices. I was required to go through that system when there was a change in my restrictions – and it took three hours. How could a wage earner take off from work to go through that process? Since then the office has been moved brand new location not served by public transportation. Once again, low income citizens are the brunt of this policy. I have been told (but do not know the certainty of it) that Texas has had a total of eight cases of voter fraud in the last twenty years. The Court could have considered the percentage of minority voters casting ballots.
I readily admit that I have raised questions that I cannot answer. Edward Bulwer-Lytton was the first to say “The Pen is mightier than the sword.” In England the press has been called “The Fourth Estate.” Have you thought about what it costs to start a newspaper of television station?
Historically this country has addressed equally difficult situations. Conservatives do not like to think about the need for labor unions to arise, child labor laws, Social Security, the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Suffrage, and all those infringements on laissez-faire. Do we really want to balance the budget by cutting back food to children? One friend opines “If you want to cut welfare, start with corporate welfare.” Paying for misguided wars through Social Security is at best malfeasance. The conviction rate for insider trading and the sale of derivatives (major contributors to the last Great Recess-Depression) lags behind the conviction rate of robbers of 7/11s.
The society of Big Money is not working for the country. Does someone want to change the Declaration of Independence from “We the people” to “We the wealthy?”