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December 22, 2013


I am a lifelong Democrat and have never pretended to be anything else. As with beleaguered Republicans and their tea party/libertarian faction these days, I have had my problems with some Democratic presidents and members of Congress over the years. Some were too conservative in my estimation in not favoring policies which spread our immense wealth out to all rather than only the few of those involved in creating such a national trove (though they reached out to all of us rather than just the few when bonding out costs to build roads, school and other public buildings, utilities etc.).

Others took the Republican bait of mixing social issues with running government, issues I thought (and still think) should be kitchen-table issues rather than ones to be decided in the (hallowed) halls of Congress. (Social issues never get decided, anyway, but what politician would want to deprive the howling masses of their daily red meat? Keep ‘em howling; it gets votes – and campaign contributions!) Perfection continues to elude us as we lurch from one issue to the next, pandering to the rich or the poor, the immigrant or the native-born, the Christian or non-Christian, the Israeli or Palestinian, the capitalist or socialist. There is no end to choices, and such choices do in fact affect real people, but I have found the method of selection of choices to be wanting in important respects.

Citizens United, for instance, gives corporations a newly legitimized choice in financing elections, and it is based on some of the most convoluted logic I have ever seen. We now undergird and equate such choice with unlimited quantities of money that can be donated to political campaigns, and have even equated money (or “how much” per Justice Scalia) with the QUANTITY of (free) speech one has! (Let’s see now – if I have more money than you do I have the right to more speech than you have.)

Someone tell me how that fits Athenian democracy, the First Amendment etc. Someone also tell me how the court cloaked  itself in what was formerly thought to be a divine process in the Immaculate Conception of giving corporations birth as “people” and opening their spigots to buy a (per Lincoln) “government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Shortly the despotic tide of money will totally rule America and its people unless Citizens United is reversed, and if any good news can be gleaned from this dreary and illogical decision affirming the rule of money over people, it was a 5-4 decision, so a single shift of the court’s personnel could prove a life-saver – literally! Citizens United by opening up the floodgates between huge pools of corporate capital and political campaigns virtually assures plutocracy over time. Money reigns; the people lose. The noble experiment in democracy we called America will have been concluded in favor of a brawling oligarchic state of monopoly and greed.

So against this background of concern for America’s future, what do I find addressed to me on the internet? Stickers! How shocking! Hillary’s backers want me to enjoy a free Hillary sticker. The pope’s backers want me to enjoy a free pope sticker. I am a Democrat but not a Catholic, and while I greatly respect both Hillary and the expressed views of Pope Francis in re the economy generally and of wage inequality in particular, I note that Hillary is not a candidate at this point and that the pope has no vote on corporate economic excesses around the globe. I may well vote for Hillary if she is the Democratic candidate for president, but I will not be pre-empted out front – and as for the pope, only cardinals may vote for him – and have – but rest assured I will vote for people over corporations – always.  GERALD  E


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