BY VERN TURNER
… in 2001 I was teaching school in Colorado Springs, CO. I had my planning period the first hour of the day. When I went down to the office for something I noted a hush and everyone crowded around TV screens. That’s when I learned what happened on 11 September 2001. All faculty, staff and students were in complete shock from those horrific events and normal lessons were abandoned for discussion and venting.
My wife and I had tickets to see Yoyo Ma, the great cellist, that evening in the city concert hall. As show time approached and everyone was seated, the accompanying orchestra broke into a rousing version of The Star-Spangled Banner. The entire audience leaped to its feet and SANG it. There were few, if any dry eyes that night. I don’t even remember the concert.
On this day in 2014, the Republicans in the U.S. Senate refused to vote for an amendment to overturn the egregious Supreme Court “decisions” that allow corporate corruption to poison the election processes in our “democratic” republic.
In Scotland, 97% of the electorate turned out to vote on independence from England. NINETY-SEVEN PERCENT. We will struggle to get to 50% this coming November.
Great Britain doesn’t allow corporations to overly influence the voice of the people. We do. The most impactful organization favoring corruption is the Republican Party. Oh, the Democrats dip their snout in the trough sufficiently to create a Congress that refuses to do anything favoring the general public. This is what not voting gets us.
Yesterday, our president announced that we would be taking on yet another terrorist group in the Middle East, the leaders of which came from Sadaam Hussein’s former military hierarchy. You might recall that it was the Bush/Cheney lackey Paul Bremer who was ordered to “de-Baath” Iraq as part of the disastrous “occupation” after our unprovoked invasion. Nice work, guys. Now the old generals are leading more crazy killers to create more instability in the region. Will the gifts from the Bush Administration ever stop giving?
No, isolationism won’t work, the oil price stability is too important for that. Instead we will expend even more treasure, resources and lives to ensure that those “American interests” are preserved. Since our military uses almost as much oil as the rest of our society, it’s almost like our soldiers and airmen have to protect their source of mother’s milk.
It’s not that I don’t get all that, it’s just that the terrible, horrible, incompetent foreign policy of the Bush years has led the world to this blood-stained place with no end in sight.
Then there are the other reasons for our citizens to absolutely get out and vote:
1. If you are a woman and want to be paid less than a man doing the same work, vote Republican.
2. If you are a woman and want your reproductive rights to be dictated by politicians, vote Republican.
3. If you want to see Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and education become privatized and more expensive, vote Republican.
4. If you want still more tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations so that they end up paying almost no tax, and allowed to send more jobs overseas, vote Republican.
5. If you accept offshore tax havens for the rich and corporations, and don’t mind paying higher tax rates than they do to make up the difference, vote Republican.
6. If you are a woman and don’t want legal protection from domestic violence, vote Republican.
7. If you have children, can’t afford private schools and continue to send them to deteriorating and unsafe schools, vote Republican.
8. If you are not a Christian, but don’t mind having Christian dogma thrust upon you by your representatives and your children’s school systems, vote Republican.
9. If you want to lose your deposit insurance, unemployment insurance, food assistance and minimum wage, vote Republican.
The point is that if you’re not paying attention or are too lazy to learn about your politics and candidates, you deserve what you get.
When enough people eschew their civic duty in this way, the society is left to the oligarchs who want it ALL … including your job, house, health care, and any hope for improving your lot in life. They fail to understand that in a consumer-based economy where the consumers have no money, the economy – and the country – fails.
If you don’t like how things are going, VOTE. THIS YEAR. IN NOVEMBER. GET REGISTERED if you are among the 30% of eligible Americans remaining unregistered. Do these things, because the viability of your nation depends on it.
– Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. He lives in Marble Falls, TX, where he writes a regular column for the River Cities Daily Tribune. He is the author of three books – A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools, The Voters Guide to National Salvation and Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status – all available through Amazon.com.