Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Yesterday, on NPR’s Weekend Edition, Sunday, Andrea Seabrook reminded listeners that this time last year, the “debt ceiling” battle was in full swing, which eventually saw the appointment of the bipartisan “Super Committee,” a “come up with a solution — or else” idea. The consequences of not finding a solution “would be huge cuts to military and social spending.” The committee was
… charged with finding an alternative. Remember what they did?
The automatic cuts are scheduled to begin in 2013. Congress can either come up with an alternative way to make cuts, or “scrap” the plan. Seabrook says:
‘I will go out on a limb and say there is no chance that this will happen before the election. …
‘What is wrong is that the two parties — and to some extent the American people — have gone deep into the idea that there are two teams in this country. … (I)n Congress, they would rather win than solve problems … .’
That sounds very much like the conversations we’ve been having here – and that are occurring around the nation – for quite some time, in some cases for decades. Seabrooks arrives at this conclusion:
‘As far as a way forward … until the two teams — the two parties and everyone else in America — is willing to come forward and take a look at pragmatic solutions that affect everyone, then I don’t see how we get much done.’
We’ll get campaigns, national party conventions, and the elections “done.” But then what? Simple: the clock will be reset to focus on the mid-terms, and 2016. Political campaign fundraising will go back down to non-presidential-election-year levels, for a while. Obama will, I continue to think, remain in the WH, but whichever side of the joined-at-the-pocketbook Duopoly is elected, the Democratic and Republican parties know their roles: if something good is happening, my side did it; if something bad is happening, your side did it. Wink. Wink. Electeds and Elites will continue their incestuous relationship. And the Electorate will … what?
Almost two million U.S. citizens united in signing a petition calling for a Constitutional Amendment to Protect Democracy:
… concerned citizens and organizations delivered 1,959,063 signatures calling for overturning Citizens United and related cases by amending the Constitution. The petitions were delivered in connection with hearings held by the Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee to examine the impact of Citizens United, Speech Now and related cases and the need for constitutional remedies to restore the democratic promise of America.
If any such “restoring” actions occur, especially with any substance, it will be surprising. But that doesn’t make the petition or the hearing unimportant. Another one of my “I’m repeating myself” things: advocacy takes lots of time and lots of different kinds of efforts.
Sen. Bernie Sanders was among those testifying at the hearing mentioned above. Via OpEdNews, “The Road to Oligarchy”: (emphasis mine)
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights held a hearing … on ‘Taking Back Our Democracy: Responding to Citizens United and the Rise of Super PACs.’ Here is Sen. Bernie Sanders’ testimony:
… The democratic foundations of our country and this movement toward a more inclusive democracy are now facing the most severe attacks, both economically and politically, that we have seen in the modern history of our country. Tragically, … we are well on our way to seeing our great country move toward an oligarchic form of government – where virtually all economic and political power rest with a handful of very wealthy families. …
Economically, the United States today has, by far, the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country on earth and that inequality is worse today in America than at any time since the late 1920s. …
What the Supreme Court did in Citizens United is to say to billionaires … we’re going to give you the opportunity to own the United States government.’ That is the essence of what Citizens United is all about … .
The constitutional amendment that Congressman Ted Deutch and I have introduced states the following:
For-profit corporations are not people … .
For-profit corporations are entities of the states, and are subject to regulation … .
For-profit corporations are prohibited from making contributions or expenditures in political campaigns.
Congress and the states have the right to regulate and limit all political expenditures and contributions, including those made by a candidate.
… Six states … have passed resolutions asking us to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. More than 200 local governments have done the same … .
Sander’s words were strong. Writing at OpEdNews Rafe Pilgrim makes a very good point:
On the rare … occasions when the real questions of War and Peace and of our ravaged Economy are asked of our government in such forums as the U.S. Senate, they seem to disappear into the mist that pervades the dome above a Democrat Senate-majority and the corridors of the Democrat Administration. And that appears to be just fine with the Dem boosters at the state and precinct levels.
In her report, Seabrook said: “What is wrong is that the two parties — and to some extent the American people — have gone deep into the idea that there are two teams in this country.”
Can we dig ourselves out of this easy, lazy, comfortable “two teams,” Corporate Duopoly brand of democracy? Will we? Is there still time? I think probably yes, but only if more people stop playing the Two Party Front for the Oligarchy games, including accepting the “wait until after this election, then we’ll get things done” pretense. Having only two teams means we lose.
(HOUSEKEEPING NOTE: In response to questions I’ve received – My Queer Talk pieces will continue to post at noon each Friday through the summer, returning to Saturday in the fall. While my daily posts are up at 4 PM, posting can occur most any time. All of that to say: don’t forget to scroll down to see all posts, Taylor’s as well as mine. Finally, when it works for you, clicking on “like” is always a helpful thing, and much appreciated. )
(Move To Amend flag via Occupy Marines FB Wall Photos)