Thursday, October 25, 2007

Political Activism: The Discreet Charm of The Ruling Class

By Deepak Chopra:
Elected officials are sent to Washington to govern but not to rule. This may sound like a question of semantics or at best a fine distinction. But rulership isn’t a legitimate part of democracy. When a governing class develops in a democratic society, it loses contact with the people who elect it. In many ways America is burdened with such a class, which has amassed power over the past fifty years, until it arrived at a place where its right to rule goes almost unchallenged.

Who belongs to the ruling class? One might start with the wealthy lawyers who form an inordinate percentage of senators and congressmen, then move on to the corporations whose lobbyists write the very laws that are supposed to regulate corporations. Working hand in hand, these two blocs form a privileged class that feels free to ignore what the American people actually want.

An unexpected benefit of the Bush years is that the ruling class may have gone too far. A culture of corruption binds Congress and lobbyists to an unheard of degree. Bill after bill, earmark after earmark, has blatantly served special interests. Both parties are guilty of kowtowing to money and the corporations that dispense it with shameless abandon — the buying and selling of political favors has never been so outrageous. Influence peddling, once a crime, has become the norm.


The betrayal of democracy hasn’t escaped notice, and the Democrats have promised, once they gain the White House, to sweep away the distorted policies of the right wing. Yet we can only watch and wait. The end of neoconservatives won’t end the war. Nor will it depose sitting judges or weaken lobbyists or bring in a new class of congressmen who aren’t beholden to moneyed interests. The entire government has become entangled in the problem, and it will take an awakened electorate to undo the harm that has been done already. The key to an optimistic, progressive America — the America that threatens to turn into a dream of the past — lies in a renewed belief in an open society and trust in the principles of democracy. Do you want to be governed or ruled?
Read the rest of the story here.


Bob Hoeppner said...

I agree, except that I don't see Democrats as the solution. Both parties except money from special interests. A rough breakdown might be that Republicans accept corporate money and Dems accept money from lawyers and the Chinese. I think one reason I might have been linked with Mike Gravel is that his campaign has something like less than five hundred dollars in its "war chest".

But this is the roots of our Constitution. The Articles of Confederation were abandoned because it was too easy for the states to renege on their war debt. It's been about $ from the very beginning.

Dana Herbert said...

It's unfortunate that a candidate from any other party has never won a Presidential election.

Unless you count Federalist (1), Democratic-Republican (4) and Whig (4) - but those parties disappeared two centuries ago.

We've never had a Socialist or a Green in power.

But I think Deepak is right on....this time the Republicans have gone TOO FAR. That can be a really GOOD thing if it means change or revolution.

Bob Hoeppner said...

One thing I like about Joseph Biden is his insistence that one of the solutions for Iraq is to institute a federalized system, with semi-autonomous states that sound more like our old confederation than what we have now.

This from the Wikipedia article on The Articles of Confederation, on their replacement by our current Constitution...

Patrick Henry, George Mason, and other antifederalists, were not so eager to give up the local autonomy won by the revolution. Historian Ralph Ketcham comments:

Antifederalists feared what Patrick Henry termed the "consolidated government" proposed by the new Constitution. They saw in Federalist hopes for commercial growth and international prestige only the lust of ambitious men for a "splendid empire" that, in the time-honored way of empires, would oppress the people with taxes, conscription, and military campaigns. Uncertain that any government over so vast a domain as the United States could be controlled by the people, Antifederalists saw in the enlarged powers of the general government only the familiar threats to the rights and liberties of the people.

Bob Hoeppner said...

Biden describes his Iraq plan, and compares it with our Articles of Confederation, here: