Our country’s political system still is not functioning equitably for all participants yet its landscape has not changed in many years because too many of us have failed in our responsibility as American citizens. We can, and must be the catalyst that brings about a tectonic shift in politics that will include a shift in its primary driver. Young Americans must be the foundation of this catalyst because they are our future.
Hopefully, this change will cause us to refocus on those things that made America great in the first place. Once this is accomplished, it should help catapult America back to the number one position that we held in the world in all of those areas in which we were once dominant.
Money has long been the primary driver in our political system but, since the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, it has all but morphed into the personification of the god of reelection. As a result, politicians are relegated to all but non-stop fund raising in their effort to be elected or reelected. And as voters, we are just as responsible for this circumstance as they are. We allowed money to become king of politics by shunning our responsibility as citizens.
Because of the many roadblocks that have been constructed to either prevent or obstruct us from voting, we decided that rather than confront those inconveniences we would just stay at home and not vote. What a copout! Many of us long ago decided, “my vote won’t count anyway so, why should I waste my time?”
How sad it is that so many of us have come to this conclusion. There is no doubt that the top one percent of Americans loves this. Ironically, because of their greed, they fail to realize that many of the potential bills that have been stifled and prevented from becoming law because of this “prevent or obstruct” tactic will ultimately have a negative impact on them and, potentially, bring about their ruin.
At the same time that I accuse many among the one percent of being so greedy that they fail to realize that their unwillingness to share the wealth is charting a path to their own ruin, I must also say that I can understand why some of them are defiant. They don’t want to write another check because they genuinely feel that they are already doing their fair share.
Although they are rich they feel that they worked hard to get where they are – justifiably so, and deserve to be there. They don’t want to be forced to give some portion of that wealth away simply because they can afford to do so. This is exactly why we need dialogue in Washington instead of gridlock. Dialogue at least provides the potential to hammer out a solution.
Still, the 99% must step up and live up to our responsibility. Rather than crying in our morning cup of coffee and complaining about our situation and what politicians and the government should be doing to assure that we can prosper if we work hard, we must resolve ourselves to fulfill our responsibility as American citizens.
Something must be done to take big money out of politics; and election reform can play a big part in making this happen. Let’s not conduct ourselves as lambs being led to the slaughter. Why should one percent of the country be allowed to bully the other 99%?
The one percent should no doubt have their say and get their fair share of tax breaks in order to stimulate the creation of jobs to help improve America’s economic recovery and sustain it. But we must be aware that they are not the only ones who impact on the potential recovery and America’s ability to sustain it. We must convince them that it is in our mutual best interest for them to more equitably share the wealth. If we cannot convince them to do this then we must force them to do it by pressuring our elected officials to do the right thing through our vote.
We have to realize that the highly publicized rhetoric of politicians is the reason why the media’s main focus is on the impact that the one percent can have on the recovery. It is also important to realize that the one percent, which is virtually synonymous with big money, plays a major role in determining whether or not politicians are elected or reelected and this is why the 99% is quietly pushed aside, especially during election cycles, and temporarily ignored. It is under these circumstances that self-preservation, driven by the god of reelection, takes precedence.
Let us first step up to our responsibility as voters instead of just complaining and crying in our morning cup of coffee. After that, perhaps we will be able to figure out a way to force our elected officials to come up with election reform that will take big money out of the election process and thereby eliminate their need to constantly rely on fundraising.
Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line