By Kwame Salter
Too often we honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others.
Robert F. Kennedy
'We the People" was supposed to be a definitive statement that made it clear who were the guardians of our democracy. Our elected officials should represent us, the people — not the monied class or special interest groups with their army of highly paid lobbyists.
Public service is both a right and responsibility. A diligent public servant keeps his/her ear to the ground to stay in tune with both what the people are saying and what their government can do to address their concerns. Ideally, our political parties may differ on strategies but should always agree on protecting our fragile democracy.
Unfortunately, we have come to a place where "We the People" are little more than cardboard cutouts, who, every two or four years, are given the opportunity to choose someone to distort or ignore our demands and wishes.
The two dominant political parties have encased themselves in impenetrable bubbles. Their aim is to keep power at any costs — the people be damned. So if the politicians are not working for us, the people, who are they working for? The short answer is themselves and their puppet masters — the so-called elites of our society. These elites are the rich and powerful whose only aim is to get richer and more powerful.
According to Bloomberg Wealth, "the 50 richest Americans are worth as much as the poorest 165 million." The monied class needs the political elites to rig the government via laws and executive actions that keep massive infusions of cash coming into their coffers. To the monied elites, government is a big shiny ATM machine.
Take for example Trump's much ballyhooed tax-cut legislation that saw 83 percent of the money doled out to the richest individuals and corporations. And what do We the People get? Table scraps? So much for "trickle-down" economics. Our government has not been overthrown; it has been taken over by the political and monied elites. Empathic politicians are viewed as weak and or disloyal partisans.
Are we seeing the emergence of fascism wrapped in the American flag? Symbolic patriotism is the opiate that keeps the masses in line. 2020 has ushered in serious challenges to our fragile democracy. Still, the current administration is hell-bent on using any means necessary to gain and keep power; to punish and, if they had their way, to jail their political opponents and to promote a cult of personality that looks to replace the POTUS with a King or Fuhrer. However, We the People may be slow but we're not stupid.
This year's election cycle is of critical importance. This is our chance to send a message to the political elites. Put simply, if Joe Biden wins, the Democratic Party should be put on notice that their victory will be more of a rejection of Trumpism than a vote of confidence. For the Republican Party, now is the time to re-evaluate its course, going forward. As a country, we need the insights of true conservatives — not the insults and bullying that currently characterizes the party under Trump.
Finally, We the People need to wise up and stop being manipulated by empty calorie platitudes, slogans, and divisive race-baiting tactics. We should never forget what Abraham Lincoln said during his Gettysburg address: "government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Answer Book 2019
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.
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