In recent elections, according to my memory, Republicans captured two countywide offices for the first time in Jefferson County. Some attribute the results of the recent election to racism. Others attribute it to the rise and activity of the Tea Party. While yet others contend the Democratic Party is out of step with most average, middle-class citizens in America in general, and Jefferson County in particular.
For thousands of years common people have been duped into acting politically against their own interests. For thousands of years people sold themselves basically into slavery through the belief that God appointed the kings to rule over everyone else. Eventually, common people realized there were more of them than there were royalty and, thus, democracy as a form of government rose to the forefront.
Democracy, however, depends on the common folks recognizing their own interests and acting in accordance. America is rapidly retreating because too many Middle Americans are being duped into voting against their own interests. The Republican Party has been extremely skilled in shaping political opinion.
Cases in point are the efforts made to persuade America that the Democratic Party stands for nothing more than homosexual marriage and raising your taxes. Close examination of either of those theorems will not hold water. Republicans in Congress are currently urging the defeat of our president’s health care proposals passed by Congress, and every criticism thereof begins with, “The American people want...”
The new political god in the United States, particularly with the recent Citizens United Supreme Court opinion, is money. The Supreme Court has decreed corporations can spend whatever amount of money they choose, with or without their shareholders’ permission or desire, on politics. What’s worse, the voters of this country do not have the right to know where the money’s coming from. If you belong to the union or are a shareholder at one of these refineries--and Shell Oil, British Petroleum, Chevron or others contribute shareholders’ money to bust unions--you are, therefore, supporting a political position adverse to you and your family.
Another way you can tell whether or not a party is aligned with your interests is to check the source of the money. The biggest contributor to the Republican Party in Texas is Bob Perry–14 million dollars donated in the last election cycle. Bob Perry is a big homebuilder who was the originator of the idea of preventing people from being able to sue developers for foisting off substandard or shoddy homes on families and denying them access to the courts. Aside from cutting taxes at the expense of school children, old folks and teachers, Perry and other Republicans continue their relentless assault on closing the doors of the courthouse to middle-class Texans.
The Republican solution to the mess we had following the hurricanes was simply to deny people the right to sue the insurance company which had messed up and denied folks their just claims for their destroyed homes.
Money obviously has begun to make a tremendous difference from Washington on down. Since 2001 the amount of money spent on lobbyists has grown by almost three times. In 2001 the amount spent on lobbyists lobbying Congress was slightly over 1 billion; today it is over 3 billion. The largest chunk of it is spent by insurance companies and health care providers. Do you really believe either of these entities is looking out for your interest?
While Republicans tout holding taxes down, they are mainly holding taxes down for the richest 1% of Americans. In the time of Bill Clinton, the richest Americans were paying approximately 30% of their income in taxes; today, they are paying approximately 16% and some are paying none. General Electric, the biggest corporation in the United States, paid none last year. How much did you pay?
We can’t say we were not warned. There is a cogent quote which goes, “A blind and ignorant resistance to every effort for the reforming of abuses and for the readjustment of society for modern, industrial conditions represents not true conservatism but incitement to the wildest radicalism.” This statement was made in 1909, not by some wild-eyed left-wing Democrat but by Theodore Roosevelt. Similar warnings were issued toward the latter part of their tenure of office as president of the United States by Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, as well as Dwight D. Eisenhower, who warned society to be wary of the industrial military complex in the United States.
Billionaires continue to pay precious little to support the nation which has allowed them to become wealthy, while ordinary homeowners struggle to hang onto the shelter for their families. A recent comparison which is appropriate--with so many middle-class folks voting for the Republican line against their own interests--is the statement “There are too many mice voting to help the cats in hopes that some day they will become a cat.”