Well, I learned a lot this year….
They say a cynic is a disillusioned idealist. To be honest, I suppose I have qualified on that score for some time now.
For starters, I learned that liberal Democrats are just as prejudiced, biased, dishonest, disreputable and corrupt as the extreme Right Republicans. I always thought my party was better — more honest, more caring and supportive of the “common” man, more concerned about this planet and its inhabitants, etc. And that the Republicans were the “bad guys.” This year, I found out that lust for power trumped ethics and decency hands down — no matter which party you were talking about.
I also found out that the integrity of the Constitution could no longer be taken for granted — that it was not a document on which we common Americans could depend to protect us unless we had money, power and influence — at least, not so long as our governmental branches all agreed to ignore it when it was convenient [for them] to do so. I learned that my rights were not as ‘guaranteed” by the Bill of Rights as I thought they were. I learned that my vote did not always count and my voice was not always heard, particularly if the media did not agree with me.
I learned that journalism as I knew it and studied it in graduate school was DOA. Truth was passé. No more who, what, when, where, why. The new questions were “how will it sell” or “how does it test” (AdSpeak) and “how will it benefit the corporation.” No more journalistic ethics. No more publication standards. No more professional respect and professional distance. Now our journalists can call female candidates they disagree with c*nts, bitches and hos. Now they listen to the “tingle down their legs,” not the facts and the truth of the argument. No more courageous editors and publishers who backed their reporters when the “consequences” of an article spoke truth to power arose. Not anymore. At least, not if it was not good for business as interpreted by the corporate executives that controlled the conglomerates that now controlled broadcast and print journalism. Ratings are now more important than truth. And it is now apparently sufficient to cry “mea culpa” after the fact when blatantly distributing or broadcasting propaganda for your candidate, masking it as “news.” It’s OK to be “in the tank” for a candidate so long as you admit to it after the votes are cast and your mea culpa can no longer influence the outcome of the election against your interests.
I also learned that rules do not apply to all of us. Apparently election fraud is now OK. Citizens who have the audacity to demand proof that a candidate meet the constitutional requirements for an elected office somehow cannot actually demand proof from anyone that demonstrates this, and no state or federal office (including the Secretaries of State who control the ballots of each state in elections), no court, no party and no candidate is responsible or can be held accountable for providing said proof. Apparently, publishing a fraudulently “doctored” birth certificate or draft card should be accepted as proof without question.
I learned that political corruption has become so rampant and accepted that political parties and election officials no longer even try to hide election manipulation anymore. And that caucuses are the easiest election vehicles to manipulate simply by creating rules that eliminate any voting group that is not .likely to support your candidate.
I learned that a DNC Chairman is no longer required to maintain a professional distance from all party candidates during the primary. That he can cut a deal with a candidate before even the first primary is held to move the party office to his preferred candidate’s home base without anyone so much as batting an eyelash or questioning at least the appearance of impropriety.
I learned that elected officials and party appointees can start a drumbeat during the primary season for the opposition to their candidate WITHIN THEIR OWN PARTY to drop out of an election without the media finding it outrageous and contrary to the old-fashioned “American” way of democracy and open government.
And I found out that the corruption I suspected of the Bush administration — the lies, the deceit, the outright criminality — was all pretty much exactly as I had suspected.
That was one time I was hoping to be proven wrong. But I wasn’t.
And here we are now. The first day of 2009. What will the future hold?
Well, it is clear to me that no matter who is in power, the American people are in for some hardcore suffering at the hands of the cowards we have sitting in Congress and in the White House. The economy, the war, virtually every aspect of government has been corrupted by undue corporate influence that is the result of MONEY from PACS, businesses and other special interests that have the resources to cause Congress to act in their best interest instead of ours. And with Obama’s successful fund-raising without using public funding, we can now consider public funding — our last, best hope of removing money from politics — dead in the water for decades to come. Now accepting public fundings will be considered an act of political suicide. As it proved to be for McCain.
So, how do we fix the mess we’re in?
I hoestly don’t know, but I know sitting back and being silent in our misery is guaranteed failure, so I will continue to speak out, because rewarding bad behavior is a sure-fire guarantee that it will continue.
And I am becoming increasingly more convinced that Ralph Nader is right in saying that we need more political parties to bust up the two-party monopoly that has a vice-like grip on our power structure. “More voices and more choices” is not sounding nearly as radical and insane as the Dems, bitter from Gore’s defeat, wanted us to believe.
And I have also found that we cannot trust our regulatory agencies to curb the unethical and criminal behavior in any of our industries — not even the so-called “grown-ups” in the banking industry. That we can now depend on imports from China to be uninspected, drugs to be approved based on political ideology and influence, scientific reports to be fraudulently tampered with to protect political ideology, and all the environmental protections to be rolled back because they were “bad for business.”
And I learned that the bailout has proven to be welfare for financial giants, not one dime has apparently made its way to purchase risky mortgages or free up the credit market as promised. But CEOS can rest soundly knowing their unearned, outrageous salaries and bonuses will be paid in full — even as the corporation they were charged with leading failes and the taxpayer is left holding the bag for that as well. And if they defraud clients in the tens of billions of dollars, they can rest assured that they will be sleeping in their $7M NYC apartment, not in jail like the rest of us would be if we committed fraud in the tens of dollars.
I look forward to your thoughts…. And, once again, I pray that my suspicions will be proven wrong. Unfortunately, I have an annoying habit of being right about these things.
Great Depression II, here we come!