Watching what’s happening to our democracy is like watching the cruise ship Costa Concordia founder and slowly sink into the sea off the coast of Italy. The passengers, shorn of life vests, scramble for safety as best they can, while the captain trips and falls conveniently into a waiting life boat.
Here at home we are drowning, with gaping holes torn into the hull of the ship of state from charges detonated by the owners and manipulators of capital. Their wealth has become a demonic force in politics. Nothing can stop them. Not the law, which is written to accommodate them. Not scrutiny they have no shame. Not a decent respect for the welfare of others. The people without means, whose safety net has been shredded, leaving them helpless before events beyond their control, like those passengers on that ship.
The obstacles facing the millennial generation for example didn’t just happen. An economy skewed to the top, low wages and missing jobs, predatory interest on college loans. These are consequences of government politically engineered by and for the one percent. So is our tax code, the product of money and politics of influence and favoritism, of lobbyists and the laws they draft for politicians to enact.
So here’s what we’re up against. Read it and weep: “America’s Plutocrats Play the Political Ponies.” That’s from something called “Too Much,” an internet publication from the Institute for Policy Studies that describes itself as “an online weekly on excess and inequality.” Yes, the results are in and our elections have replaced horse racing as the sport of kings. Only these kings aren’t your everyday poobahs and potentates. These kings are multi-billionaires, corporate moguls who by the divine right -- not of God, but of the United States Supreme Court and its Citizens United Decision -- are now buying politicians like so much pricey horseflesh. All that money pouring into SuperPACs, much of it from secret sources: merely an investment, in the best government money can buy, should their horse pay off in November. All this can numb the soul, and chill the ardor of the most devoted citizen, who's exposed to the buying and selling of our democratic birthright. But there is an antidote, on our website BillMoyers.com. We will link you to a vision of hope.
Sara Robinson, a senior editor of Alternet.org, has written an essay entitled “New Rules for Radicals: Ten Ways to Spark Change in a Post-Occupy World.” Check it out. My hunch is you’ll cease to weep over our sinking ship of state, and start working to repair it.