Santorum aide backtracks after stating Obama administration pursuing “radical Islamic policies…” … Santorum compares Americans’ sentiments in mulling second Obama term to what US faced during rise of Adolf Hitler in Europe … follows comments questioning Obama’s spirituality & earlier incident with supporters claiming Obama is “avowed Muslim” … changing conversation from anti-Gay, anti-women’s health rhetoric to xenophobic hate language … GOP disintegrating into fundamentalist, extremist paranoia … commentators cite hate-filled talk radio and conservative echo chamber …
Monthly Archives: February 2012
As a youngish person – perhaps defined as a “Millenial” – I don’t think one has to look much beyond the immediate circles of friends and family to conclude that the social contract has been shattered in the United States. It is truly a contract – and it used to say something like “work hard, get an education, follow the rules, and you have a high probability of being successful in your pursuit of happiness.” But in relative terms, I think the promises of success and happiness are no longer valid…or at least not as valid as they were for our parents and their parents before them, and members of their various generations.
Nowadays, many people my age pursue higher education and work hard. Yet they emerge from their University, Law School, or Business School with little more than limited prospects and a massive, crushing debt that hangs like a noose around their collective necks. They find that the deck has been stacked against them. Among the worst of their corporate shackles are taxation and banking systems that protect the wealthy while exacting out-of-scale income taxes and interest payments from people struggling to join the middle class.
Many young Americans will soon become aware of the fact that their plight is directly linked to a broken political system that no longer represents common interests. Instead, it is carving out special-interest protections in the tax code and regulatory frameworks. Its efforts bleed valuable social programs and allow monied interests to subject the citizenry to wage slavery, poke Swiss cheese-like holes in the social safety net, and destroy our air, land, and water with oversight-free natural resource extraction.
Normally we look to our political representatives to protect us and pass legislation that favors our interests and contributes to the common good. But in an environment of outsized corporate speech powered by unregulated and massive campaign contributions and lobbying akin to political anabolic steroids, this former bastion of protection for citizen interests is crippled, and unfit for being tasked with righting the ship.
Faced with conditions like this – whether in the the American Colonies, the Deep South before the Civil Rights Era, apartheid-ridden South Africa, the interior of the Iron Curtain, and, most recently, the Middle East and North Africa – people universally resort to popular action in the form of protest, civil disobedience, and popular action. Americans, blessed with generations of prosperity and a relatively effective representative democracy, have found it unnecessary to resort to such action, for the most part.
But the inescapable conclusion is that this existence is ending or has already ended. Left without traditional recourse, the paradigm must shift. In the face of corporate-dominated, special interest-beholden government, the only real solution is popular demonstration and protest aimed at marginalizing corrupt elements in our institutions, once and for all.
When will this position emerge as the consensus? I think the glaring erosion of our quality-of-life, opportunity, and overall happiness and well-being will soon tilt sleeping citizenry into popular action. It is true that our citizens naturally believe in our country, its democracy, and the promise of the American Dream. That’s why they traditionally look to the political system for recourse. But human history tells us that such beliefs are not perpetual. Confidence in the inherent good and benevolence of our democratic institutions will gradually melt away as individual liberty and economic freedom are destroyed and replaced with corporate oligarchy and economic serfdom.
The only question we’re left with is this: exactly how much humanity are we willing to sacrifice while we hold out for relief by our neutered political representatives and agents from our largely-compromised social and cultural infrastructure? That is anyone’s guess…but hopefully not too much, so that justice comes sooner, rather than later.
The legal basis for arguments against the federal rule mandating Catholic institutional employers provide insurance coverage for contraception doesn’t pass muster, legally or logically…except as a wedge issue designed to rally voters to flawed GOP presidential candidates.
Statements that Obama is somehow violating religious freedom are bunk, and here’s why: despite the rising crescendo of stupidity, Catholic citizens still have the right to practice their religion. They can still refuse to use contraception.
And no, by mandating coverage of critical health services, the federal government is not establishing one religion or discriminating against another. Denying employers the right to impose their views upon employees of Catholic schools and hospitals through denying coverage for widely available health services is not a Constitutional infraction. On the contrary, it has a strong foundation in current federal law and legal precedent.
If you don’t want an abortion or don’t want to go on The Pill, fine, but keep it to yourself, and stay out of the health decisions and private matters of your fellow citizens…especially if you’re not willing to give up the massive tax credits you receive for each expenditures on employee insurance coverage.