The rise of the Arab spring and the great American fall
by Jesse Loren
If the Arab Spring is our term for an awakening toward liberty and democracy, the counter is the American Fall, a dark turn away from liberty, equality, and human rights.
Why are we losing ground? Who is gaining from it? One way to find the answer is to follow the money. Who benefits from preventing disenfranchised people from voting?
In the name of “voter fraud,” several states have crusaded for state-sponsored voter identification as the only way to have the right to vote. Instead of citizenship giving the right, the right goes to the portion of the population that has a state identification card. Large percentages of people, including minorities, college students, and elderly voters don’t have valid state-issued identification cards. To get one as an adult takes time, money, state certification of birth, and a process that might not be affordable or timely for many people. It’s funny, but many members of this group vote democratic.
It’s easy to see who gains from disenfranchising a portion of the population. The Republicans. Not only can they control access to the polls, but they can establish new laws once their numbers swell to majority positions in those states. With large numbers, they can advance their agenda. This erodes democracy. It erodes the constitutional right of citizens to vote. While the Arab Spring fights to have elections, our states are undermining the fairness of elections.
Like the thematic rules from the book Animal Farm, instead of being created equal and having equal rights and access, some people are more equal than others, and some have more access.
On a small scale, Newt Gingrich’s Republican entitlement provides framework for those that are “more equal.” After admitting to having (HYPERLINK: http://www.indecisionforever.com/2011/12/30/newts-virginia-ballot-fail-he-claims-fraud-jonathon-moseley-sues/) 1500 falsified signatures, he hired Tea Party attorney Jonathon Mosely to attempt to overturn the ruling that Newt lacked enough qualified signatures to get on the Virginia ballot. The rules don’t apply when you are rich; this too erodes democracy. A wealthy entitled class who controls the money and the rights of others is exactly who the Arab Spring is trying to oust. Why would we move toward that direction willingly?
On a larger scale, Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission provides a framework that corporations are “more equal” than people. Corporations were historically barred from making political ads, but after the 2009 decision, large PACS and private wealth can purchase unlimited commercials on television, radio and internet. These ads are aimed at crippling the character of a candidate and the money often comes from outside influences. They don’t have a dog in the fight, but the do have the ability to play the race like puppeteers. Big business can now anonymously influence the success of candidates without the candidate’s permission. The “voice” of the Corporation is louder and has more forums than people do. It is an erosion of democracy never seen before 2009. It is as corrupt as robo-signing loans. It undermines the integrity of our very country.
With corporations influencing races without any spending limit or having to put a name to the ads, there is no way to fight fairly. Our republic becomes a corporate Plutocracy. It’s “America brought to you by the Koch brothers.”
While the Arab Spring flourishes and fights for self-determination, Americans are letting their rights dwindle. The American Fall is happening because corporations gain power and money while the middle-class slips far and away. It’s a dangerous turning point in our history; one that we must rise up against.