Thursday, February 11, 2010

Do We Need a Constitutional Convention to Drive Big Money Off Capital Hill?.

Let's face it, reform and change will not come through the current big-business-dominated electoral system which serves to stifles all voices but that of the ruling class. A list of poll findings [appended to the text of Paul Street's book, Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics] suggest American citizens, on the whole, do not share the imperialist views of what Paul Street calls the “political and policy-making class” or the “Narrow-Spectrum Two-Party Money-Media Single-Member-Plurality-System-Winner-Take-All-Strong-Executive-Imperial Plutocracy”.

“Twice as many Americans back more government services and spending (even if this means a tax increase) as the number who support fewer services and reduced spending.”

“69 percent of Americans think it is the responsibility of the federal government to provide health care to all US citizens.”

“59 percent of Americans in 2004 thought the US should remove its military presence from the Middle East if that’s what the majority of the people there want.”

“93 percent of Americans support minimum standards in international trade agreements for working conditions and 91 percent support minimum environmental protection.
Our two-party system has been reduced to what political scientist Sheldon Wolin calls "a one-and-a-half party system" where,
"the parties set out to mobilize the citizen-as-voter, to define political obligation as fulfilled by the casting of a vote. Afterwards, post-election politics of lobbying, repaying donors, and promoting corporate interests - the real players - takes over The effect is to demobilize the citizenry, to teach them not to be involved or to ponder matters that are either settled or beyond their efficacy....The timidity of a Democratic Party mesmerized by centrist precepts,...points to the crucial fact that, for the poor, minorities, the working-class, anticorporatists, pro-environmentalists, and anti-imperialists, there is no opposition party working actively on their behalf." (Wolin, Democracy Incorporated, pp. 201, 205, 206).
Even the slightest, superficial distinctions that still exist between the one-and-a-half party system can mean the difference between life and death for the most vulnerable part of our population, living on, as Street says, “the wrong side of American hierarchy and policy”.

However, all is not lost. Pressure from a mobilized and organized populace has great potential to restore our democracy.

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