BY SHARON MARTIN
You can call the United States a democratic republic if you choose, but as an old English teacher who excels in vocabulary, I know an oligarchy when I see one.
According to the Random House dictionary, an oligarchy is a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.
Government of the people has been undermined by organizations and corporations with deep pockets. Gulled citizens stand idly by as our rights disappear behind the smoke screen of public relations.
Politicians are shouting, “Freedom!” as they strip our freedoms from us.
Do you have the freedom to see the doctor of your choice? I do, because my insurance plan doesn’t cover doctor’s visits. So long as I can pay for it, I can see whom I want. There are millions who can’t afford to pay. But a spokesman for a free market think thank says that there are people out there who prefer no insurance to government insurance.
The outcry against public insurance is all smoke and mirrors. My medical treatment [actually, my lack of treatment] is determined by pre-existing conditions and insurance company clerks. If something catastrophic happens, I owe $10,000 a year and the insurance company picks up the rest. Until then, I can’t get preventive care to keep the catastrophic from happening. That’s the reality. I want the public option, but in the name of freedom for a handful of insurance giants, I can’t have it.
Public education is being handed to a group of education businesses in the name of freedom. This so-called freedom will strip many children of a decent education. Those who can afford elite private schools will simply have their schooling subsidized with money that should have gone to public schools.
Here in Oklahoma, a group of politicians whose pensions and health care are secure have decided to renege on promises to firefighters and policemen. “Yes, you paid into your pension. Yes, you have chosen a life of service. Sorry, but we don’t give a damn,” they are saying with their legislative trickery. But hey, if you’re living on nothing, you can pay no taxes like the big corporations do. Now, that’s freedom!
The next time someone sells you a bill of goods in the name of freedom, ask yourself who benefits from the sale. In an oligarchy, it won’t be you and me. And all it’s costing the billionaires who reap the benefits are ad dollars and campaign donations. It’s costing the rest of us everything.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer