Friday, September 26, 2008
Are You Afraid Enough Yet?
When Democracy Fails, What Comes Next?
Are you afraid enough yet? I’ve heard several reports on TV, from people who were there when Treasury Secretary Paulson initially outlined the urgency of the situation: “It was like all of the oxygen was sucked out of the room. No one spoke for at least 20 seconds.”
You’ve got to wonder what it was Secretary Paulson said, exactly. It was something like: “We just got word that a world destroying meteor will strike in 5 days. I have a daring and very expensive remedy. You must give me wide ranging dictatorial powers to implement this remedy and you must do so immediately.” Substitute the word “depression,” for the word, “meteor,” and this is close to his exact communication. Pretty terrifying. George Bush confirmed and reasserted this attack of terror when he was quoted yesterday as warning, "This sucker could go down."
We believe scientists can accurately predict the impact of an meteor, but since when do we put unwavering trust in what a Secretary of the Treasury predicts? Paulson, in this matter, is absolutely convincing and that is what is scary. His evidence must be very compelling.
Everyone wants to know the cause of our troubles. There is a lot about the nuts and bolts of our economy, and about the history of market regulations, that needs to be understood. But, the root cause of our troubles is not found by trying to understand the failure of markets, it is found by trying to understand the failure of our democracy. Put simply, if our democracy was working as it should, we would never have gotten into this mess.
What do you call a government in which 90% of the members of its House of Representatives are embedded in “safe” seats, who never are questioned by their constituency, who never are required to give an accounting of their activity? I don’t think you call such a government a democracy, because it is not.
I wrote in, For Our Future’s Sake, We Must Transform Our System of Elitism To a System of Democracy, "If big money and big corporations thought that the vitalization of democracy was in their interest, we can be sure that our democracy would be transformed. Our system of public education advances our system of elitism. Gerrymandering and the influence of big money advance the power of a system of elitism”
I wrote in, As We Accelerate Towards the Cliff: Can’t Help Thinking We Should Be Frightened About Tomorrow, “As it stands now, our democracy is corrupt and weak. We do not have a government that is of the people and we certainly do not have a government that is for the people. Our democracy is not working as it should. Antidemocratic forces are running our government .... The election and administration of George W. Bush is a warning of the even more despicable leadership that will come unless we change the path we are on.”
Ron Paul the other day said that in his judgment, at best, only 15% of Americans really care about the Constitution, about conserving the Bill of Rights, about freedom. Our democracy is already failing. If our economy fails, and when we are afraid enough, what comes next?