The Most Critically Important Issue in this Election; Taking our Country Back

United States presidential election, 2016

Nothing is more important than the need for the American people to take their government back; to once again make this a government “Of, by and for the people.” Sadly we have seen our democracy transformed into an oligarchy in which the rich and powerful, together with the masters of Corporatism, have taken control over this country and its government.

Over the past several decades this ultra-powerful entity has placed a vice-like grip on this government. It, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court in the Citizens United decision, is now being allowed to flood our election process with unlimited amounts of corporate money in order to elect those to Congress who will bend to its dictates and facilitate its special interests. Estimates indicate that it will spend as much as $5 billion in this presidential campaign. That’s obscene.

Let’s see how this corporate grip on our government is damaging this country. What we have here is a powerful alliance between Corporate America and the government that is without question, determining the direction of this country. The people of America have no voice, no say in these matters, and their needs, their wants and what they may think are irrelevant to those who are in command of this alliance.

For example, in poll after poll, Americans are quite clear about what they believe that their government should do. First, they badly want this government to create millions of more jobs for America’s workers; to see new industries developed and jobs returned to this country from overseas. The corporate/government alliance wants no such thing and job creation is not even on the table. Anyone recall when they last heard of a comprehensive plan by this Congress to create jobs? Even one?

Americans are sick and tired of constant war and watching massive amounts of taxpayer dollars pumped into the military machine. Iraq and Afghanistan were disastrous and now the U.S. government is caught up in another quagmire in Syria. Check out this article, one of a great many that give the details of the massive U.S. military presence all over the world, with elite U.S. special ops forces existing in some 147 countries.

Here is one of the major conclusions that this excellent article presents: “Investing in enduring bases rather than diplomatic, political, and humanitarian efforts to reduce conflict across the region (meaning the Greater Middle East in particular) is likely to do little more than ensure enduring war. Wise words to be sure but they will fall on deaf ears of those who continue to facilitate this government’s agenda of war.

This controlling corporate/government alliance places an enormous emphasis on expanding U.S. military presence across the world but at the expense of America’s many other critically important needs. It’s as if everything of importance in America has been put on hold because of this ongoing pursuit of military objectives. It is serving to suffocate America’s creative and innovative abilities that once produced great achievements and made America the envy of the world.

The people want to see an appropriate portion of those funds shifted from the military into domestic needs, for example, those such as repairing and improving our crumbling national infrastructure and our education system.

Americans want to see steps taken to lessen this country’s dependency on petroleum and begin the process of developing alternate sources of energy, primarily solar power. That’s not going to happen anytime soon because the giant petroleum corporations who are a major part of this alliance; they say NO!

Bernie Sanders continually talks about the massive inequality of wealth and income   between those at the top and the rest of Americans, which is hurting this country and this society in so many ways. Congress clearly has the power to deal with this inequality in many different ways but chooses to totally ignore it. And why? Well, because the wealthiest Americans and the masters of corporatism don’t want any part of it and so the Congress does what it is told.

The majority of the people are not pleased with the sad state of the electoral process in this country. They see politicians continually elected who then go to Congress and, instead of representing the interests of the country and its people, they answer only to those who control the campaign funds that determine the outcome of most elections. That’s deplorable but it’s how the system operates and the people are helpless to do anything about it.

So what in the world can the American people do to deal with this situation; how can they reverse this direction, what measures can they use, what process can they follow to turn it around?

The most effective way to deal with this situation would be to determine how to reverse the Citizens United decision and ban those massive corporate campaign contributions. The best one would be through the Supreme Court reversing that decision. The other would necessitate a Constitutional Amendment, a virtually impossible endeavor. However, neither of these options will ever materialize as long as the current court is controlled by five Republican-appointed justices who will block any attempt to do it.

So what to do? Simply this; that court’s makeup would have to be reconstituted into one that would be very receptive to taking the steps to initiate that reversal.

Let’s look at the ages of the 9 justices on the court to determine how long it could be before one or more would retire or might die in office.

Antonin Scalia – 79

Anthony Kennedy – 79

Ruth Bader Ginsburg – 82

Clarence Thomas – 67

Steven Breyer – 77

John Roberts – 60

Samuel Alito – 65

Sonia Sotomayor – 61

Elena Kagan – 55

That indicates that there are 3 or 4 of these justices who would probably need to be replaced in the next one or two terms of the next president.

Of all the current candidates running in the presidential primaries in both parties how many of them even consider this to be a deep and serious issue and problem for this country? The only one that consistently brings it up is Bernie Sanders as one of his main talking points. Hillary Clinton does not emphasize it as much but indications are that she would make this reversal of Citizens United a prime objective in her administration.

Therefore, we can conclude that of all the candidates of both parties who are currently in the running to become the next president only two, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, would appoint new justices who would, undoubtedly, be favorable to reversing Citizens United.

As far as the Republican candidates go, the idea that any one of them would ever even consider initiating steps to reverse that decision is unthinkable. So, the natural conclusion for those who are very intent on taking their country back and restoring its democracy will call for them to think deeply about voting for either Clinton or Sanders. While I certainly am not a supporter of Clinton I would, in fact, vote for her if I believed that it would result in taking our country back.

Bernie Sanders talks about the major banks that are “too big to fail”, those who were the primary cause of the 2007-2008 recession, who are masters of using clever scams and schemes to fleece the American people. Banks that have been receiving ongoing huge loans from the Federal Reserve Bank at near zero % rates and who have not appropriately used the funds to make loans to businesses; and, instead, have used a good portion of them for their own purposes, including buybacks of their stocks.

The collusive nature of these banks and the government was evident when these banks who largely caused the 2007-2008 recession cried out for government to help them when they were in deep trouble. Thereafter the U.S. Congress and the president did not hesitate to provide the huge funding to bail them out. Did the powerful banks learn from their near catastrophe and change their ways? Absolutely not.

In this upcoming presidential election it’s imperative that the vast majority of Americans join the movement whose chief objective is to take our government back; to make it “A government of, by and for the people and to restore our democracy. And the only way to accomplish that formidable task is to break up the powerful corporate/government alliance that stands in the way.


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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process; all which are leading this nation down the road to eventual financial ruin if the conditions are not reversed. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran.