BY VERN TURNER
Now that Mitt Romney has selected Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential candidate, then immediately gaffing, one can have no doubt any longer as to the intent of the Republican agenda: Destroy the middle class, render the poor to even deeper poverty, allow the sick to get sicker because they can’t pay for their medical bills, allow homeowners who have had their jobs sent to Asia to continue to lose their homes while having to pay higher federal tax rates than they currently pay and give still more tax breaks to the rich.
The drumbeat for dismantling our government involvement in the “general welfare” of the people is now reaching a crescendo of craven callousness, arrogance and abject hubris.
How did we allow this to happen?
In the 1970s, liberals didn’t keep protesting what the military-industrial complex was doing to our industrial base. We protested about ending Nixon’s War and were successful. Then, we took the money and shut up.
Meanwhile, we elected a Congress that began taking apart the middle class and the New Deal.
The infamous letter from Lewis Powell to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest lobbying organization on Earth, was a call to arms called for corporate/banking America to come to the rescue of the rich by buying the government.
In a spate of the most blatant acts of economic terrorism, Powell created the impetus to form the lobbying industry, now over 29,000 strong. Bit by bit, this industry purchased first one then another politician until they had enough of them and judges to change laws such that the citizen protections against rampant banker abuse was eliminated in 1999.
H.R. 1489, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, overturned the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 that would have prevented exactly what happened in 2007-08.
The kicker is that the richest got richest no matter what because they were using public money. The top 400 made record fortunes while the world’s economy nosedived.
The perfect storm of economical malfeasance was supplemented by the hopelessly inept and wrong-headed Bush Administration that couldn’t run a popcorn stand let alone the world’s largest economy.
They thought they could fight wars [after they intimidated a compliant Congress into giving the executive branch virtually unlimited military power] while cutting taxes and borrowing it all from one of our job sinks, China.
Where were the howls of protest from our liberal politicians? Why weren’t people in the streets demanding the return of their lost retirement funds and stock investments?
Nobody complained. Thieves are validated when the alarms at the bank don’t ring while they’re cleaning out the safe. Our own countrymen took the money and put it in foreign banks so they wouldn’t have to pay taxes on top of the theft.
That takes some hubris … among other things.
In the years since Barack Obama was elected we’ve had only the meager attempts by the Occupy Wall Street “movement” to protest income inequality. The rich sneered and laughed and turned on the pepper spray. End of protest.
Don’t forget, they own the police too by way of the local governments.
So, how do we reverse the trend to our own self-destruction as a people? Do we stand up and vote all the incumbents out? That might be a start, but who will replace them? More bought and paid for liars?
How do we actually secure our own representation the way a Constitutional Republic is supposed to when 30% of our eligible citizens aren’t even registered? How do we pick the right people when less than half of those registered voters turn out?
Our own sloth has allowed the foxes into the henhouse of our country and we the people are the only ones who can root them out. Action is required. Voter registration efforts are necessary to overcome election rigging. Protesting and flooding even the most backward Congressman with rebellious verbiage is necessary.
We will never get the obscene amounts of bribery out of our election process, and thus our government, unless we take charge of the elections and who the candidates are. After all, there are more of us than the top 1% who fund the graft in government.
We should be able to do something to save ourselves, shouldn’t we?
– 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.