Off with their heads!
by Kelvin Wade
“There is no provision for a rotation, nor anything to prevent the perpetuity of office in the same hands for life; which by a little well timed bribery, will probably be done.”–Mercy Otis Warren (1728-1814 Historian)
What’s hard to understand about the 99%? We’re at the mercy of an oligarchy that runs this country for their own benefit and the rest be damned.
The same people who can’t understand Occupy Wall Street (OWS) had no trouble understanding how mostly white conservative Tea Partiers, who never flooded the streets when Bush ran up the debt and added an unfunded entitlement, protested President Obama. These folks claimed they were ‘”taxed enough already” when Obama, in fact, cut their taxes. But don’t let facts get in the way.
The biggest financial crime in history was pulled off on Wall Street and no one went to jail. Worse, they used our money to bail themselves out and helped turn the American Dream into a nightmare for millions of Americans.
The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf wrote, “It’s wrong to create a mortgage-backed security filled with loans you know are going to fail, so that you can sell it to a client who isn’t aware that you sabotaged it by intentionally picking the misleadingly rated loans most likely to be defaulted upon.” That’s why we’re incensed.
The Tea Party and the Michele Bachmanns of the world want you to believe the problem is the government and poor people. Yes, right wing class warfare. They say the fact that 47 percent don’t pay federal income taxes is the problem. A higher percentage than that of corporations pays no federal tax, but they don’t seem to have a problem with that.
But don’t let them sell you a bill of goods that poor people did this. Poor folks didn’t force those Wall Street firms to bundle those faulty sub-prime loans together and sell them. They didn’t force credit ratings agencies like Moodys, the one that had the balls to downgrade us, to give these deals AAA ratings. Poor folks didn’t force firms to put lipstick on a pig and sell worthless securities, collapse, and then ask the government to bail them out. Those same firms are making record profits now.
What about those folks who worked hard, played by the rules, can afford their mortgages but suddenly find their homes worth half of their value because of all the foreclosures? The housing market collapse has had a domino effect on the economy. And we’re left holding the bag.
Government certainly had a role in this because of the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street. It’s a relationship that leaves us out in the cold.
We had a financial crisis like this in September 1998 that almost brought the country to its knees. You don’t recall it? Of course you don’t, because the only knees Washington and the media were concerned about then were Monica Lewinsky’s. But even after that crisis, Wall Street and Washington continued to deregulate.
This is a bipartisan problem for the most part. George W. Bush’s administration had plenty of Wall Street lobbyists and cronies to keep the gravy train going. President Obama stocked his administration with Goldman Sachs alumni. President Obama received the lion’s share of Wall Street money in 2008. Today, Wall Street is filling Mitt Romney’s coffers. And with the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case, corporations can spend unlimited funds to buy our elections.
How do we fight it? We vote out anyone who proposes to gut regulatory reform. We vote out anyone talking deregulation. We vote for people who stand with the middle class.
Term limits is another good place to start. If we constitutionally limited the Presidency and Congress to one term, it could help. The Founding Fathers expected there to be a rotation of people in and out of government. It was seen as a way of combating corruption. But now we’re enduring exactly what they feared.
Taking away the need to raise money for reelection will help diminish money’s role in politics. But Constitutional amendments are long shots. We can affect change quicker by changing the makeup of the Supreme Court. The first thing we need to do is overturn Citizens United. Elections matter.
Occupy Wall Street has to grow into a group that not only marches in the street but marches to the ballot box. We’ve got to cut off their heads at the polls. We’ve got to show the oligarchy that the votes and actions of the majority in this country, even within the confines of this rigged system, are more than a match for the money of the tyrannical minority.