How Much Longer Are We Going to Tolerate This?
By Rev. Paul J. Bern
I have always strongly believed that it’s not possible to be an effective Christian without taking a stand against social and economic injustice, and against government corruption in all its forms (such as lobbyists at the federal and state levels, who give out bribe money like Halloween candy). In fact, I have been a proponent for radical change for a number of years now, and I have written and published 2 books on this very topic. Where shall I begin? In God-blessed America, the land of the free where everyone is an economic slave, our founding fathers’ sacred idea of a government “of the people, by the people, for the people” has become but a cruel joke. Former president George W. Bush has notoriously (for both Christian and secular people) called our Constitution – our supreme law of the land – “that (uses God’s name in vain) piece of paper”. The federal government is currently spending at least $60 billion per month on military excursions in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and northern and western Africa – including operating between 800 and 1,000 foreign military bases all over the world. Our country’s over-used flying drone aircraft kills hundreds daily overseas, many of whom are only innocent bystanders.
Meanwhile here on the home front, our police officers have collectively decided to go on safari, and the big game they are hunting is unarmed black men, preferably those who have their backs turned. I don’t blame any of them for fighting back or running away! If a cop shows up out of nowhere and draws his/her weapon on me, I might turn and run like crazy my own self! Moreover, one in seven American people are on food stamps, and at any given time one in four American children are going hungry today. Our country spends more money incarcerating people than it does on education. America spent between 300 and 400 million dollars prosecuting drug offenders last year, and only $3.7 million for treatment and rehab. What’s up with all that? Our political and court systems are openly rigged against the best interests of the American people, particularly those of color. A massive market mechanism is securely entrenched in our political system where political influence is openly bought and sold. Tens of thousands of highly-paid middlemen called “lobbyists” facilitate the legal transfer of billions between moneyed special interests and our so-called “representatives” in Congress. This very lucrative business of buying and selling political influence has become the driving engine of our government. Our so-called “representatives” in Congress vie for millions in legalized bribes in return for delivering billions of our tax dollars to moneyed special interests. It’s pure folly to think our current political system could possibly look out for the best interests of the American people.
Just ponder what our government has done, not for us but to us, in the last ten years alone. It’s utterly mind boggling. The best interests of the American people have been sacrificed to moneyed special interests time and time again. The Wall Street bankers paid millions in bribes for a legal license to steal billions more from the American people. When greed got them in trouble, our so-called “representatives” gave them billions more of our money, American tax dollars. In the last ten years, our so-called “representatives” shared nearly a billion dollars in bribes from the “defense” industry alone. In return, they doubled our defense budget to $700 billion (equal to all other countries combined!) and lied us into unnecessary, endless, expanding wars that will ultimately cost us trillions. This is aside from the extreme human costs of war with multiple consecutive deployments. For example, 1 in 5 returning veterans from US occupations overseas have permanent psychiatric disabilities so severe that they will never work again. Speaking as a minister and lifelong peace activist, I find this to be utterly reprehensible on the part of the US military! Be all you can be? Yeah, right.
Our so-called “representatives” are slashing social spending (excluding Obamacare) for senior citizens and the poor just when far too many American people need it most. Yet they continue to spend hundreds of billions on weapons of mass destruction to “protect us” from our enemies. But most of our “enemies” are purposely created by our government’s blatantly unjust foreign policies (that openly support oppressive military regimes) and by our violent military occupations of their homelands. Without a perpetual supply of “enemies”, “defense” industry profits would plummet. If that weren’t enough, our so-called “representatives” have worked hard to keep America the number one weapons merchant on earth. Our so-called “representatives” continue to support the sale of billions in weapons to oppressive dictatorships around the world, which creates still more “enemies”, which creates more special interests profits, etc. So we can fight wars, but we can’t have a robust space program? We can fight wars, but we can’t update and upgrade America’s dilapidated power grid? We can fight wars, but America can’t replace its crumbling infrastructure? We can fight wars, but we can’t afford to make public colleges and universities free? America can’t forgive $1 trillion in student loan debt so those of the millennial generation can get on their feet and start families and buy cars and houses?
Our current political system guarantees our so-called “representatives” will continue to pass and sustain legislation that transfers billions of our hard-earned tax dollars to moneyed special interests. That’s because members of Congress who oppose moneyed special interests are promptly punished, ostracized, or replaced (if their offense is great enough). President Kennedy paid the ultimate price for opposing the elitists. Moreover, our current political system guarantees moneyed special interests and our so-called “representatives” must participate in this influence-peddling scam against the American people, mainly because it’s so lucrative they’d be stupid not to. Big corporations could be at a competitive disadvantage (and would likely resort to cheating their shareholders to replace lost profits) if they refused to buy political influence. Likewise, our so-called “representatives” would be at a competitive disadvantage getting elected or staying in office if they refused to sell political influence. Another “problem” as these elites as I see it is that, if corporate influence were to decline, it would open up windows of opportunity for start-up businesses and entrepreneurs, and there’s no way Wall Street will tolerate that. Anything that puts money into the hands of ordinary folks – such as owning a business no matter how small – is seen as a potential threat and gets treated as such. Just ask any of the American merchants who lost their businesses because they couldn’t compete with Wal-Mart.
The upcoming national elections in 2016 are merely melodrama for the masses. Our “choices” have all been pre-chosen for us by moneyed special interests pumping millions into the process. Besides, whoever wins will be forced to play by established political rules that guarantee moneyed special interests will always come ahead of the American people’s best interests. For weeks before the elections, the lackey mainstream media, using colorful pundits who talk smart and know little, entertain us with political melodrama. They arouse us by pitting one segment of the American people against another. They make millions bombarding us with empty, emotional, 30-second TV ads that are little more than name-calling or patriotic platitudes. Congressional elections are sheep fighting among themselves for their favorite pre-chosen wolves. Congressional elections merely determine which segment of the America people gets screwed by which moneyed special interests group.
Trying to reform our current political system using that very same corrupt system is just an exercise in futility. It’s like trying to fix your broken arms using your broken arms. It’s like trying to start a car that is out of gas. Our current political system is designed to be reform proof. It has well-established mechanisms to protect and maintain the status quo. That’s why “campaign finance reform” and all other such efforts to “reform” our current political system from within are doomed to either fail outright or be so watered-down as to be nearly useless. All these outrageous government actions are exactly what we should expect from a government openly for sale to the highest bidder. “We the people” are just government-controlled fodder for moneyed special interests. Moneyed special interests paid for these outrageous government actions, and they got what they paid for. How much longer are we going to tolerate this? We, the people, got screwed. I have the solution to this problem, and it can be found in any English dictionary.
rev-o-lu-tion (Dictionary.com) 1. an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.
Our country’s elections amount to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. We can’t vote our government back to us. It was deliberately taken away from us, so we will deliberately take it back. A peaceful, people’s revolution is the preferable way we can take back our government. But, like the saying goes, “Use your first amendment rights and protest! If that doesn’t work, use your second amendment rights and get a gun”. The multi-billion dollar business of buying and selling political influence (currently the driving engine of our government) must be overthrown, repudiated and thoroughly replaced if democracy is to survive in America. This massive influence-peddling scam must become our number one political issue because it underlies and thus greatly affects all other issues. If we don’t get all the dirty money out of our politics, our democracy and our standard of living will continue to decline and surely we’ll take the rest of the world down with us.
We can’t afford to sit by like sheep meekly waiting for slaughter. The police are already shooting us like rabid animals! We must find ways to hinder and harass the corporate state at every turn, and to control the violent tendencies of the police who protect them. Nothing will change unless we, the people, begin to organize radical acts of civil disobedience to disrupt our current political system, upping the ante until this massive influence-peddling scam is thoroughly exposed and eliminated. For example, in Iceland in 2012 when the entire country went completely bust (you know, like the US is about to) the people had arrested and jailed over 100 bankers after throwing the old government out of office peacefully but effectively. The citizens stood in the streets and banged on pots and pans, and they didn’t stop until they got what they wanted. Then they (the people, not the government!) wrote a new constitution and passed it into law. It’s been reported all over the European press but largely censored here in the US. Is it any wonder? If there were enough people inspired by what happened in Iceland, it could happen here next. Well, what do the elite capitalists want? They can either allow what happened over there to happen here, or America will turn into another Greece, Spain, Ireland, Italy or Portugal. Or maybe even another Egypt, Yemen or Syria. The only way to prevent this from occurring here is that “we the people” must take back our government by peaceful revolution because it will never be given back voluntarily. Remember what President John F. Kennedy said: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”