Recently, at the end of a far-ranging interview with radio talk show host Thom Hartmann, former President Jimmy Carter answered a question about the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling that money is “speech.” I’m not sure what Hartmann expected, but President Carter said bluntly:
It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and congress members. So, now we’ve just seen a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over. … At the present time the incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody that is already in Congress has a great deal more to sell.
America is just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery …. In all of the responses to the former president, no one has disputed this assessment. The most disturbing part is that no one seems particularly disturbed by this reality. We seem to have become inured to our country being owned by one percent but paid for by the 99 percent. We spend our money trying to feed and educate our children, while the one percent spend their money buying the professional ruling class with campaign bribes/donations.
We still get to vote, but their money determines for whom we vote. The proof is that, although 90 percent of us disapprove of the job our political leaders are doing, 95 percent of them will be re-elected. It also appears that our next president will have the same last name as a previous president, as though the office is an inherited one.
My point is that NONE of us want to live in an oligarchy, but a majority of us apparently will continue to vote for the wholly-owned agents of the one percent. So, who is to blame, them or us?
I don’t really care about blame, but I do care about responsibility. Until we take responsibility for being fully engaged in changing things, we are responsible for letting things stay the same.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of American, and to the oligarchy for which is stands.”
Rev. Michael Piazza