Tag Archives: American Democracy

Why The Brexit Matters – No Really, You Need To Read This

headshot

Most Americans, thanks to the sad state of our  cultural desire not to look beyond our shores until someone begins flying jets into our skyscrapers or slaughtering people with assault rifles  in public venues, probably have no idea what the “Brexit” is, or that it’s even going on.   But it is.   And it’s important.   And there are reasons we should all be paying attention.

There’s an amazing thing going on over in the UK, which includes England, the country we fought in our Revolutionary War so that we could break away from the tyranny of the mother country from whence our first settlers arrived.

They came here of course,  at risk of life and limb, so that they could decide matters for themselves, free of the English yoke, or as a gang of Massachusettes Yankees called it, “Taxation without representation.”   We’d have none of that.   No, our founders, God bless them,  decided it would be better to fight to the death on their feet than to live on their knees while taking orders from the British Empire, which wanted us only for the profits they could take from our sweat, toil and soil.   So our anchestors fought, and with the help of Washington, LaFayette and France, we won.   So stop your bitching about the French.   They are our oldest ally and we owe them our very existence.   Because of their assistance,  the United States of America, a Republic, was born.

Now, some 240 years later, our legislative process and position in the world relative to Britain’s legislative process and position in the world, is most interesting to ponder.

The Brits, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, are about to vote in a national referendum with regard to whether the people of the United Kingdom (also known as Britain) want to leave or remain in the European Union.   In a move that is pure Democracy,  those who live in the UK are being given the opportunity to tell their political leaders what they the people, want to do.   This is a big deal.    A wrong decision could spell economic disaster for the UK, and much of the world.   As in 2008, if the UK leaves the EU, some are predicting it could all come tumbling down again, throwing world markets into another tailspin and doing God knows what to the British economy for years to come.   But the point here, is that the decision is being made by a national referendum, by the people of the UK, and not by the dictates of their politically motivated leaders.  It is call Democracy.   With a captial “D.”   It is pure self-determination.

Our only truly national election, our only referendum, as such, is to elect a president, and even that has effective limits, with electors and not the American people, casting the deciding votes.   Meaning, in short, an elite group of political bigshots get together every four years and decide who is going to run the country.   That was supposed to be balanced off by the Congress, but since they were bought off there is no balance, only stalemate.   A broken government that does not work.   We elect a few others to run the country and then go back to our daily lives, paying no attention to what’s going on until things fall apart.

Here in the U.S., the country that shed its blood to break away from the British, we have no such thing as a national referendum.   No, here, we have no Constitutional Monarchy with a Parliment giving proportional representation even to the smaller political parties.   Here we have only two politicial parties controlled by corporations and other big-money interests with a stranglehold on the system.   Here, there is no referendum.   Not on the TPP, not on NAFTA, not on gun control, not on abortion not on national healthcare.   Here, there is no Democracy, only the best corrupted government money can buy as we veer off into a new round of gun-control legislation that will once again, go nowhere, following yet another mass slaughter on our soil.

Who would have imagined, all those years ago, that the country with a monarch would turn out to be the true democracy, while the nation that fought to break away in what appeared to be their own best interest for self-determination would sink into a corrupt system, denying the will of the people while favoring the desires of the wealthy few?

The founders would surely be incensed at our lack of sensible gun control as a flintlock couldn’t spit out more than 30 rounds a second, nor could they possibly forsee a government willing to sell itself to the highest bidders.   It’s a valid analogy.  These things need consideration.  The mother country may be able to provide some guidance after all.

America – What The Hell Are We?

headshot

France, is now complaining that the U.S.  has been spying on French President  Francois Hollande and other French leaders.  Why?  Are we worried about a terrorist attack from the French?   Do we now routinely spy on all our friends and learn about our government’s activities only because of Wikileaks?

How did Julian Assange and Edward Snowden become international heroes of the early 21st Century?   Is it because they did something wrong, or could it possibly be because they had the courage to point to wrongdoing by the United States?

Why is the United States Senate about to pass a bill approving a massive trade agreement, the TPP,  negotiated in secret by the Obama Administration, which then demanded that it be “fast tracked,” rammed through the legislative process, before the American people could find out what was going on and have time to compare it to NAFTA and CAFTA, both of which helped to gut the American middle class?  What country is this?    Who are these guys working for?

Why is our own President going behind our backs with secret deals,  siding with the wealthy few against his own party,  forcing us to turn to Julian Assange and Edward Snowden to find the truth?

Why do we continue  paying more for health care but getting less than the rest of the developed world?   Why do we continue to accept this madness?

Why does it feel like a victory when the Supreme Court upholds one of the basic tenants of Obamacare, when we should have a nationalized healtcare system that cares for all, like the rest of the developed world?    Medicare for everybody.   Dental care, too.   Why doesn’t the government consider dentistry to be an essential part of our healthcare?    This is insane.

Why are Confederate battle flags still flying in the South?   Why is this even still an issue?   The Civil War ended in 1865.   As many as 850,000 Americans were killed settling the issue of slavery and state’s rights.   It’s over.   The Union won.  Why is this still with us?   Why did it take the slaughter of nine innocent people at a bible study meeting to awaken the country to the ongoing issue of racism?   Why is the Rebel battle flag still flying on the state capitol grounds in South Carolina, where the murders took place,  overtly marking the State’s approval of slavery?   Why don’t they just take it down and apologize for their blind insensitivity?  Who the hell are we, that a whole section of our country can still be called the former slave states?   Why are there people there who continue to celebrate the Confederacy and all it stood for?   How can they possibly fail to understand that honoring bigotry serves as an attitudinal poison going forward?

After more than a dozen years of failure in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East, we continue to engage in unending but profitable warfare.   Promises that we will withdraw are broken as we refuse  to let indigenous peoples work out their own problems.   As a people we have become conditioned to endless warfare.   Peace feels like an anachronism,  something John Lennon sang about and nothing more.  Although it feels as though it no longer has a chance.  There’s too much money in death.

With massive tax cuts for the wealthy, the gap between the rich and the poor hasn’t been so broad since the Great Depression, and still Wall Street is permitted to run amok, as the rich do all they can to suck every last penny out of a beleaguered middle America which struggles to pay for increasingly expensive food and shelter.   Forget a college education, which is now beyond the reach of most average Americans.   Your grandparents were just forced to apply for a “reverse mortgage”  so that they could stay in their house and continue buying food and supplemental health care while, by his own admission,  billionaire Warren Buffet pays a lower percentage in taxes than his secretary.

Want a car?    Take out a 7 year loan.   Want to go to college?   Fine, but you’ll graduate $80,000 in debt.   Want to stay in your house?  Take out a reverse mortgage and max out your credit cards while a reasonable rate of return on money deposited in a bank is an illusion even as CEO’s and board directors, aided and abetted by our politicians,  walk away with billions in their overstuffed pockets.

This is madness.

Our government cuts deals in secret while spying on our allies and our own people while taking orders from bankers who finance their campaigns and promise heavy funding for their families and their causes once they leave office.    A relative handful of royal families, the Bushs, the Waltons, the Kennedys, the Clintons, the Kochs, Dianne Feinstien, John Kerry, Darrell Issa, the Rockefellers and the rest of the uber-wealthy exert their influence and rake in profits while America goes dangerously off course.

Our government cuts deals in secret and spies on our allies and us while those who tell the truth about what’s happening are called traitors and lawbreakers and are forced into exile in foreign embassies and on Russian soil.

Where is the line between political and financial self-interest and America’s best interest?   When did majority rule die?   Can you even remember majority rule?   How about American Democracy?   Remember that?   Our scholars tell us it’s dead.

What the hell are we?