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QUESTIONS ON SOCIAL COHESION – ARE WE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER?

November 1, 2015

QUESTIONS ON SOCIAL COHESION – ARE WE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER?

I often note in my blogging that we live in two different economies, one in which the paper shufflers and hedge fund operators in New York and other such urban enclaves live and one in which the rest of us in this country live (the Dow versus the real world) as ordinary Americans who (if they have jobs) work at the local lumberyard, the supermarket, the hospital, the insurance agency office etc. You know who they are; they are Democrats and Republicans and are the people who come together in their communities’ schools, churches and clubs. They educate their children, pay their taxes, lead Boy and Girl Scout troops, defend their country, and do all the things good Americans do. They are the hands-on grease that makes our economy function and its urban owners richer; they are the nuts and bolts of a social order which we are told represents America at its finest; they are an aggregation of diverse people but with a common goal of leaving a world better than they found it and opportunities for their children they did not have; caring citizens who flesh out the meaning of the phrase “We’re all in this together.”

But are we? What happens to that Norman Rockwell description of American life when it is transported to Washington, D.C., and turned loose to snarling politicians? Why can’t we work together with common purpose and a positive vision for the future there as we do in communities across this great land? Could it be because some profit from dividing us for their own selfish ends? I, for one, was an American long before I was a Democrat; my primary allegiance is to my country as opposed to any group within it, and I think it is time to call those who divide us to account for their actions and inactions while pretending to represent the broad interests of a stalled if not declining future of this once great country.

If we are “all in this together,” then why do we have segregation of our economy into two economies, one for the superrich who enjoy virtually all of its fruits and an economy of the leavings for the rest of us? Aren’t we all together in that endeavor, too, either as producers and consumers and investors and taxpayers, or have the “powers that be” selected those areas of American life in which we may meaningfully participate and omitted the fair sharing of the economy’s fruits as one such area in which we are excluded from participation, an area in which only their paper shuffling patrons may hold forth? Is this what America stands for – making the few rich at the expense of the many who labor for the few in a latter day feudalistic state? If it is, as I have often written, then stop the bus; I want off.

In keeping with this quid pro quo connection between certain elements of our political class with Wall Street, it is no surprise to me that we are seeing the rise of a Bernie Sanders and increasingly socialist youth as a response to the travesties being committed in plain view of a jaded electorate who seem to think by their inaction that such conduct is normal and to be expected. It is neither, but changing an entire political system to end the continuing economic injustice I have cited above may be an overreaction, given other areas in which the socialists might intervene if empowered.

I predict as the organized bribery of our representative process continues unabated and the jaded electorate dies off or otherwise eschews going to the polls that we will see a decided turn toward socialist principles in this country. It will have been a turn to the left that was unnecessary but felt to be vindicated by history as unrepresented citizens react to exclusion from sharing the income and wealth of the economy, income and wealth they helped produce, an outcome they properly denounce due to the toxic connection between politics and money. As a Democrat but not a Socialist, and in view of what other initiatives and prerogatives socialists might bring to the table if empowered, I am not sure that we need to install socialism as our political order merely to end the toxic (Gilded Age) connection at the hip of money and politics. Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican, showed we can end such a toxic state of affairs and a threat to our democracy within the confines of a two-party system, but time is fleeting for us to do something about it before the youthful trend turns into a tsunami that will do it for us.

Our politicians are sent to Congress to represent us and not Wall Street whether as Democrats or Republicans in a two-party system we have had since 1854. Why (other than campaign contributions from Wall Street) aren’t they representing that broad middle of Americana at its best as above described irrespective of politics in the interest of moving this country and its people to a better and more prosperous future? In short and in words of the street, why are we allowing our employees (our representatives) to boss us around in a democracy, a form of government in which we are the boss? Why do we permit the tail to wag the dog? Why aren’t “we the people” REALLY in charge of the people’s business?  Has “representative democracy” become in fact unrepresentative of a system in which the peoples’ wants and needs go unaddressed while their supposed “representatives” rake in campaign contributions and grandstand on TV? What is this? Are we the bosses or not? If we are, let’s start acting like it irrespective of whether we belong to one party or the other. It is, after all, citizens who are to be represented whatever their political views. We should tell our “representatives” to shape up or ship out.

How can we be pictured as “all in this together” when we are treated by our political class as though we are ciphers on their political clipboards as Democrats and Republicans and not caring citizens, as mere numbers to be lied to and manipulated by many of such sleazy politicians on the take from the one percenters? Perhaps as importantly, why are we as a huge majority in a democracy whether Democrat or Republican allowing this travesty to continue? Why? Are we inferentially approving such misconduct? Can it be said that we are knowingly electing people who represent interests adverse to ours? Vot iss?

Perhaps we the people should call a political convention comprised of both Democrats and Republicans for the purpose of setting new standards and protocols to objectively measure how well our employees in state and federal legislatures are representing our and only our interests in a sort of “Consumers Report” setting where advertising is rejected. No? Then let’s try something else to come up with a handbook of expectations for distribution to our legislative employees, or elect a modern-day Teddy, or something, what with the specter of a dramatic turn to the left (which poses its own problems) growing daily. We the people have to control the process of reform rather than entrust the process to those who are the subject of reform, i.e., our “representatives” (which would let the foxes into the henhouse).

Democracy is like a muscle; it weakens with disuse. It is time for all of us of whatever political stripe to put some teeth into our democracy and demand reform of a system where we elect grandstanding employees to our state and federal legislatures who then proceed to represent the moneychangers and others who put profits first and America somewhere down the line. That is or should be unacceptable to any American. It is to me. I have often written that democracy is our most valuable and important asset, gained as it was by the blood of patriots. I stand by that assessment. Let’s use it.   GERALD     E

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