A LIBERAL VIEW OF THINGS: A democratic republic at risk

It has become increasingly clear that we’ve reached a political crisis in this country, but contrary to what we’re being told, the major division is no longer between liberals and conservatives.

Instead, it is between us — the American people — and those we’ve elected to represent us.

Due to apathy, voters allowed the political establishment in this country to lavish themselves with so many rewards, prerogatives and benefits, they no longer are connected to the people they’re supposed to represent.

They’ve become a class within themselves. Where they were once considered our trusted representatives, they’ve now become part of a new American aristocracy.

They now identify more closely with the rich and powerful than they do with their constituents.

Liberals and conservatives alike need to recognize that we now face a common foe that has morphed into something that is a threat to us all. We must set our respective differences aside and address this real threat to our republic’s existence.

While liberals and conservatives may disagree on their respective philosophy of governance, we must never confuse that disagreement with the belief that liberals are any less loyal Americans, or that conservatives are less sincere in their desire to make America a better place.

As different as the two groups are, both liberals and conservatives want the very same thing: That which serves the best interest of the American people. That can no longer be said of our political establishment.

The current behavior of Congress has clearly demonstrated their top priority is assuring their re-election by answering to their true constituency, corporate America.

The current geo-economic circumstances have exposed these priorities. The political establishment now openly displays their true attitude toward the American people: We are an ignorant worker class with a moral obligation to sacrifice both our families (in war) and wealth (coddling insurance and drug companies) for the comfort of the upper class.

To wit: The Wall Street bailout that sailed through Congress with only perfunctory grumbling, while health-care reform, the jobs bill, veterans benefits enhancement legislation and other actions aimed at helping the average American were met with fierce resistance (Republicans), or mistake-laden dawdling (Democrats).

It is illuminating the only effort of President Barack Obama the GOP supports is war. The "party of no" eagerly says "yes" to that, regardless of the cost of (lower- and middle-class) lives and borrowed treasure.

They don’t have a problem with that, because war enriches the military/industrial complex, part of their constituency.

Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of fiscal conservative philosophy, said:

"All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and wellborn, the other the mass of the people….  The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right.  Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second, and as they cannot receive any advantage by a change, they therefore will ever maintain good government."  (Debates of the Federalist Convention May 14-Sept. 17, 1787).

The reason that today’s political establishment is so willing to throw America’s working class under the bus is that the new world order has made it politically expedient to embrace Hamilton’s philosophy and deny lower-class Americans the right to self-government.  Since it would be difficult to take that right away through a constitutional amendment, it is, instead, being taken away through selective legislation and rulings from the Supreme Court.

The American people sense their rights vanishing. We have yet to fully realize how congressional gridlock is denying us our rights.  We have yet to recognize that the majority in the Senate is allowing the minority to abuse the filibuster rule because both parties are in collusion.

The Republican filibuster provides cover for the Democratic majority for failing to enact, or greatly watering down legislation being demanded by the people.

On Jan. 21, 2010, the Supreme Court delivered a telling blow against the people. In order to insure against repeating the 2008 election’s grassroots effort to usurp the power of corporate campaign funding, the Supreme Court passed what is essentially the modern version of Plessy v. Ferguson, taking away the rights of the people by saying that the American people and corporations are "separate but equal."

In 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson was used to undermine the rights of black people in this country. Now, the current ruling, Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee, was used to undermine the rights of the middle class.

Turner is a retired industrial engineer and teacher who lives near Marble Falls.

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