Get big money out of politics for the benefit of all

By Carl Homstad, Decorah

What I hear from the Progressives and the left these days is, “We have to defend Democracy,” and, “What is it that motivates some people to vote against their best interests, or not vote at all.”

We don’t have a Democracy. We have an Oligarchy. The one-percent rule this country. They own the media, many politicians, and now the Supreme Court. They have hollowed out public education, nearly destroyed unions, and gerrymandered much of the country, Meanwhile, they use their media empire to distract us with useless polling, culture war nonsense, racism, and xenophobia.

Why would the poor think our government has their best interests in mind? They have likely come up against a health care industry where it can be literally “Your money or your life,” and a justice system that appears to exist only to levy fines and fees and that administers incarceration instead of justice. They have to live where access to banking happens through payday loans, and grocery shopping is only possible atexpensive convenience stores. For a person of color, a minor infraction can begin a chain of entanglement with the law that may have fatal consequences.

Not so long ago the big banks drove the economy into the ground. Unscrupulous corporations kill tens of thousands with craven drug marketing, destroy our ground water, rivers, lakes and coastlines with agricultural pollution, and continue to accelerate climate change. Corporations are people when it comes to speech, but somehow they never seem to go to jail. There are bank bail-outs, subsidies for huge farms, oil subsides and exotic tax breaks for the rich, but even a modest safety net for those in need is considered “socialism.”

There are many thousands of good people working hard to get our government back, but the oligarchy has used its power to insure that a handful of bought-and-paid-for politicians can stop any progress. They only have to play defense, and they can afford it.

This is not a partisan issue, and it isn’t about ideology. It’s about money. The one-percent isn’t loyal to anything but their own wealth and power. Before the Supreme Court Citizens United ruling our government mostly worked. Many dictators started out by being elected and Russians still go to the polls. We must concentrate on getting big money out of politics for the benefit of all, and the sake of our country. If we don’t, the cruel farce that many now perceive our government to be will become a permanent reality.

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