It didn’t start with Reagan’s war on non-existent welfare queens or his shameful battle with the air traffic controllers union. But he had his foot on the accelerator. He, and every Republican president after, engineered tax cuts for the wealthy!
Do you know what you get with tax cuts for the wealthy? A transfer of even more wealth up the wide, curving staircase!
Labor creates wealth, and for decades now, laborers are slowly being starved to death.
When labor dies, democracy dies with it.
Tough on crime laws targeted the poor and minorities. Mental health issues were treated as crimes at the same time that mental health facilities were being closed. Jails and prisons became warehouses for the chemically dependent and others with mental health disorders.
Tough on crime became the mantra of political candidates. It was a euphemism for “let’s get the undesirables off the streets.”
Imprisoning people who need treatment is costly and ineffective. It doesn’t address the root issues, and it casts its shadow on the next generation. As for being a conservative issue, it costs much more to imprison than it does to treat. And it destroys families.
Healthcare became too costly for a large portion of the population. Nixon, who was a champion of Medicare, was also responsible for HMOs and the push to make health care a for-profit venture. We know how that turned out.
The Moral Majority came along and pushed against the rights of all believers and nonbelievers to feel at home in our country. And they bought into the prosperity gospel, into the idea that some people are just more deserving than others, including more deserving of tax breaks and a living wage.
Then came the debacle of 2000. The prize, won by hook and by crook, was the right to redistrict. The Bush administration and governorships down ticket won.
As Brian Klaas said in 2017, legislators are “tasked with drawing district maps, allowing the electoral foxes to draw and defend their henhouse districts.”
Legislators, no matter who and how they serve, are almost always assured of re-election.
Add to this the amount of money required to run a campaign. Top that with the Citizen’s United decision that lets dark money and corporate donors command the conversation.
The takeover was almost complete. All it took was a powerful senator who refused to bring issues to the floor for a vote unless the issue benefitted his party. Oh, and the gutting of the Voting Rights Act!
If your party’s economic ideology favors the top 10%, you can’t win an election when everyone can vote.
It’s not a democracy if the top 10% gets most of the benefits.
It’s not a democracy if you make it hard for citizens to vote.
Between dark money, COVID-19 pressures, bots and trolls, and data manipulation, democracy is in a dark place right now. It is time for Democrats and Republicans of conscience, for all of us who believe in the Constitution and a government of the people, for genuine patriots to stand up and say we are not OK with this assault on democracy.
Enough with the cheating and the lying and the backroom maneuvering! Enough with self-serving politicians who don’t represent the will of the people! We want our democratic republic back.