The Silencing of Democracy

van_jonesVan Jones, September 30, 2011 on Real Time with Bill Maher:

I get a chance to go all over the country. Two kind of people show up: Tea Party and folks who are hurting. We’ve got veterans coming home. These kids – as long as they’re in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Halliburton is getting a cut, we’ll spend any amount of money on them. We dump them off at the airport, with no jobs, no hope. We’ve got 17 suicide attempts every day with these troops.

Where’s the Tea Party on that? Where are any of these people, who call themselves patriots, when these kids come home to nothing?

These are the issues hardly anyone talks about amidst the arguments against stimulating recovery.

This is why you have the young coming in droves to protest in front of Wall Street and, now, across the nation. The political system gives time and space for lobbyists rich with money to stuff pockets in Washington. This system doesn’t allow for much democracy to take place. They’re protesting because they have no other recourse – politicians will not listen to them or anyone who doesn’t pay the heavy price at the door. We’re not being represented, we’re being resented and ignored.

People argue that everyone has a vote and that the wealthy have the same right, but that’s not true. The more money you have, the more influence you have; and this influence is more powerful than any vote. Corporations have a more powerful vote than any singular human being can ever have. Citizens United has given corporations an unprecedented amount of potential power to influence our body politic – even more than corporations and the wealthy did before.

These are the conversations we should be having: What about the future? What about the children? What about the freshly graduating class? What about fostering growth instead of protecting the wealth of the status quo? What about the troops who come home to nothing after risking their limbs, lives and sanity to make money for American corporations who lobbied for the wars they were sent into?

These conversations are not being had because there’s no room for discussion within media and within the political body. All the conversation is about is protecting the wealthy who are already well off. The wealthy and corporations are extracting rents from society and risking our future, and our present.

For all the patriotic talk that the Tea Party prides itself for, it’s ironically protecting the corporate class despite their namesake – the Boston Tea Party – being against even the idea of corporations and corporatism. Our founders were against corporations and the build up of wealth. They limited corporations and made sure they existed for only a few decades instead of becoming immortal citizens with the power to use their treasuries to influence policy. As a matter of fact, it was outright illegal for corporations to use their money to influence policy (Source: http://bit.ly/o4kXFJ).

Where are the patriots? Does it take a proud socialist like Van Jones to remind everyone of their duty to their fellow Americans first instead of corporations first, second and always?

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