In Defense of our Flawed Democracy

Thank you for holding. We appreciate your patience, we’re currently assisting other people and will help you as soon as we possibly can.

(repeated every 40 seconds, at 7 minutes into a short loop of insipid hold muzak with the Social Security Administration, at 16 minutes and finally, one last time, at 26 minutes, when I belatedly pulled the plug on holding for these lying, pseudo-corporate bureaucrat pricks)

Theoretically the American people are the government and the government is intended to work for us (particularly if we are in the social class for whom the benefits of life, liberty and the pursuit of whatever were guaranteed by our Founders). The experiment in democracy these wealthy white men designed in the waning decades of the Eighteenth century was revolutionary, at the time every other place on earth was ruled by a monarch who sat on the throne by Divine Right (compare: Manifest Destiny). Anyone who questioned why God would put a vicious inbred hereditary imbecile on the throne could be considered a blasphemer and subjected to the usual time-honored remedies for this sort of impiety (not to mention treason).

The Founding Fathers risked their lives, committed open treason against the world’s most powerful king, to change a system that placed a king’s arbitrary will over all of them, giving them little or no say in the conditions of their own lives. “No taxation without representation” was a rallying cry of the colonists, since there was, by then, a bicameral representative council in England below the king (House of Lords and House of powerless fucking chumps) that had a say in government policy.

It was the radical idea of representative government, based on the radical notion of the right to self-determination, that gave rise to all sorts of radical ideas (including representative democracy) during the Age of Enlightenment when discerning minds began to use Reason to question long held beliefs, practices, customs and superstitions.

We’ve come full circle, in many parts of the world, to the pre-Enlightenment vision of religious faith in an all-powerful individual leader, chosen as part of an unknowable God’s all-loving, all-knowing plan, a “strongman” who exercises unlimited personal power paternalistically, to ensure what he deems is in the best interest of citizens. Thus, even in our democracy, you can have a mentally-ill sadist, ordained by God, doing what he needs to do to rid us of hated enemies and promote his loyal followers to head every important government office to advance his vision of truth, justice and the American way.

In the US that includes, obviously, the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the US Postal Service, the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, etc. If that leader surfs to power on a wave of churning emotion, exploiting fear and hatred of an unfair, corrupt, inefficient, abusive government, well, the more unfair, corrupt, inefficient and abusive his government is, the more it proves the point that he’s the only person who can save us! Don’t worry about the argument making sense, it doesn’t need to. It just needs to keep making you angry as hell.

So we have “debates” in our deadlocked, non-functioning Congress about things like increasing the budget for IRS enforcement against wealthy tax cheats (to pay for programs to literally begin trying to save the world from accelerating climate catastrophe). Is it American, patriotic, decent, honest, to cheat on your taxes? Here is the opposition party’s position in the debate:

WHO ARE YOU TO FUCKING SAY??!!! FUCK YOU, WASSHOLE! TRYING TO TAX THE RICH, THE JOB CREATORS, IS PUNISHING SUCCESS, JUST COMMUNISM, RADICAL ANTI-FASCISM or FACISM, TAKE YOUR PICK!!!

This is literally the quality of political “debate” in a nation run by, and for the benefit of, sociopaths and unprincipled careerists. Here’s a great snarky take on that from Sarah Lazarus at Crooked Media:

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) confirmed this week that he plans to investigate Donald Trump as part of the probe, and is prepared to depose senior Trump administration officials and members of Congress who might have played a role in the insurrection—like, say, the two seditionist Jims that McCarthy tried to put on the other side of the table. Thompson also indicated that the committee is very interested in learning more about McCarthy’s panicky phone call to Trump as the attack unfolded, which probably has nothing to do with McCarthy’s panicky efforts to thwart the investigation.

Nothing to fucking see here! You’d do the same if you had supported a maniac’s insane right to send a mob to the Capitol to violently stop the constitutionally mandated certification of an election he honestly refused to accept that he lost since he is history’s greatest winner. You’d do the exact same fucking thing if you were in McCarthy’s position!!!! Repeat everything you’re told to say and pretend you love the taste of the delusional Big Guy’s crusty hindquarters.

Anyway, I believe in government, in spite of the sickening frailties of the one we have now. Democracy is better than any alternative form of government, but we need to fix ours. Several radical, common sense reforms will be needed to restore our experiment in democracy to a representative government.

No more dark money in politics (at least say your fucking name, Charles, Rupert, Robert Mercer) funding the most extreme reactionary candidates in primaries to ensure the extremist political outcomes the 1% desires (part of the proffered protection of the public in the disastrous Citizens United ruling was that unlimited funding of political campaigns would be done transparently, a transparent bit of purely transactional bullshit, as it turned out).

No more right-wing fraternity vetting and choosing lifetime federal court judges to rule, whenever legally possible, according to that fraternity’s stated far right ideology. No more (currently entirely permissible, per 6-3 Supreme Court) partisan gerrymandering and no more restrictive, partisan voting laws — whether or not “race” is intentionally implicated in these moves (the Supreme Court’s brand new standard for overturning voter suppression laws, opponents have to prove they were intended to be deliberately racist, whatever the actual impact of the on different “races” the law causes).

The Supreme Court, a 6-3 right wing juggernaut whose majority was appointed by two presidents who lost the popular vote, straight from the Federalist Fraternity’s list, must be balanced with a handful of even-handed, non-“ideological” judges. Abolish the fucking Electoral College, that vestige of slavery, while we’re at it.

Everyone who works deserves a living wage, $7.25/hr, current federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2008, adjusted for inflation (since it was instituted) it should be $24/hr. Giant corporations must not be allowed to pay workers so poorly they qualify for Medicaid, health insurance for indigents. Taxes on vast, untaxable hereditary wealth and massive corporate windfall profits could go a long way to paying for vitally important programs we needed to have started decades ago, including the preservation of a habitable planet.

There’s a pretty short list of the essential things that are broken, and need to be fixed.

So I don’t write this in any way to attack our need for government programs and agencies that help our fellow citizens. We need those things that only a determined, responsive, well-functioning federal government can do. Think of the immediate improvement in American vaccination under a new president who didn’t regard the pandemic as a Communist/BLM-antifa hoax engineered to personally hurt him. Another example: the federal government took its time about it, to be sure, but in the end it was the intervention of the federal government, enforcing federal law, that ended the custom of lynching in many parts of the country that were determined to uphold this hateful tradition. FEMA is who you call when a killer storm destroys your town. Protection of voters’ rights in federal elections also falls to the federal government, under the 14th Amendment, and so forth.

Here are a few basic human needs the federal government has to attend to in a democracy, none of which seem controversial to me:

Disabled people should get help from the government. Children should not be subjected to malnutrition and the other ravages of poverty. Decent health care should be a right of citizenship, Americans should not have to die for lack of health “insurance”. Workers should be able to afford a place to live, food, clothing, days off, a bit of security. People who retire should be able to live in dignity and at least modest comfort. All citizens should have easy access to voting. Victims of killer storms should be rescued, helped to rebuild their lives. Corporations should be prevented from poisoning the water, air and ground. None of this is controversial, until you get down to the details, which are dictated by the agenda of a tiny, powerful elite of the hereditary super-wealthy, a group that has other priorities.

For example, if a law that protects a low-income Americans from the illegal act of a corporation providing affordable health care, under the Patient Protection Act, cannot be found, even by determined lawyers, there is no fucking law.

Details HERE

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