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Government of the people, by the people and for the people; that's the form of government we Americans thought we had. That's now a thing of the past, it no longer exists. The government that now occupies our nation's capitol has become estranged from the people of America. This is an incompatible, rapidly deteriorating relationship in which the mounting differences are becoming irreconcilable.
We might think of this government as an oligarchy with its power vested in a relatively few persons, a dominant class. Then again, we could call it a plutocracy comprised of the wealthiest of Americans. Or we might refer to it as a corporocracy that has risen to great power over decades and now, with the help of the U.S. Supreme Court, has been given free license to contaminate and corrupt the American political system; to control elections and the legislative agenda in Congress with an endless stream of money. Whatever we wish to call this anti-democracy, anti-Constitution triumvirate, the fact of the matter is that is has now replaced the government of, by, and for the people.
This government continues to head in a direction in which the people do not wish to go. Poll after poll has indicated that up to 75% of Americans think this government and this nation is headed in the wrong direction.
This is clear evidence of the division that exists between the two parties. The people want jobs not unemployment checks, they want to see American manufacturing restored, they want banks to be regulated, elimination of mortgage fraud, help with foreclosures, a vastly improved education system, help with massive student loans, universal health care, campaign finance reform, the rebuilding of the nation's infrastructure, development of new sources of energy and, last but not least, an end to America's endless, costly wars.
So how many of these important needs are included on our government's list of highest priorities? Absolutely none, not even one. This government's priorities are entirely different; they are totally out of sync with those of the people. Banks are shielded from effective regulation, Wall Street remains untouchable, the 1% are not asked to pay their fair share of taxes, campaign finance is a dead issue, there is no attempt to reign in corporations' outsourcing of jobs; Congress will not appropriate funds for energy development or infrastructure improvement, and education and the scourge of student debt is never discussed. The highest priority and funding continues to go to maintaining the military machine and its associated defense industry corporations.
We have this massive gulf that has developed between the government and the people. Many millions of Americans are greatly disillusioned and they feel this government is letting them down. As this gulf widens there is an increasing feeling by those who monitor conditions in America that this nation may be arriving at a crisis point in the year 2012; a point at which the continued refusal of this government to address the nation's most critical domestic problems is going to collide with the despair and frustration of the mass of the American people.
Take a look at this list and see if your senator(s) were among the 86 unpatriotic politicians who sold out the people of American and the U.S. Constitution. These 86 senators, by their shameful and disgraceful affirmative votes, deserve this nation's contempt and scorn. They are no longer qualified to represent the people of this nation and they have just violated their oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. They occupy the lowest rungs of this nation's corrupted political system and each of them should, at the earliest opportunity, be voted out of office.
Then there is President Obama who had threatened to veto the legislation because of its evident constitutional conflicts; he suddenly changed his mind and signed it into law on New Year's Eve when everyone was busy with celebrations and holiday cheer. He did add a signing statement, one which has no constitutional effect on this law, in which he stated: "I want to clarify that my administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation."
That statement is simply mind boggling. What he should have said is that this legislation is unconstitutional and it has no place in a nation that values it freedoms and follows the rule of law. And then, instead of a meaningless signing statement, he should have vetoed the legislation. But he signed it and allowed one of the despicable pieces of legislation to ever be enacted in the Congress become the law of the land.
To add to this dilemma there is a report that is more than shocking. A recent column by Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune reports the following: "Obama pledges he will never use that power to hold an American. But Sen. Carl D. Levin, D-Mich., said the bill originally applied only to noncitizens. Citizens were included, he said, at the request of the White House." And "Even if Obama doesn't plan to use the power, it will be sitting on the shelf for Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum." If that report proves to be true and this president requested that American citizens be included, then he will have dealt this democracy a grievous blow, one that will shake its foundations.
To declare that citizens of this nation are, in the eyes of the law, to be treated in the same way as any suspected terrorist, without any right of habeas corpus, is an insult and a national disgrace. What this president did when he signed that legislation is beyond belief; an act that will be recorded in history as one that put the dismantling of the Constitution on a fast track and brought this nation one step closer to military rule. Now the people must clearly understand the magnitude of the danger that exists, the threat to our democracy and our Constitution, and strongly demand that this law be rescinded.
Time is rapidly running out and this government and the people must find some way to get back on the same frequency and work together to take this nation in a new, positive direction into the future. If this massive gulf that currently exists between the two continues to widen, then this deteriorating condition will become irreparable and irreversible. That must not be allowed to happen.
Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist who writes articles about social, economic and political matters as well as American foreign policy. He is a U.S. Army veteran. His major goal is to convince Americans that our perpetual wars must (more...)