The Tea Party really irritates me. Every portion of what they are built on is a lie. In the first place, the idea that it was a 'grass roots' movement was a misdirection from the same machine that created it - the money of the wealthy.
In the second place, the Boston Tea Party was a protest over taxation without representation, and the cornerstone of the foundation of this country. Whereas the present day 'tea party' represents the exact opposite - an attempt to disenfranchise the poor and the laborers.
WE THE PEOPLE believe in certain principles which, as far as we know, never existed before us. In an attempt to preserve 'the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity', the founding fathers drew up a constitution which covered every circumstance they could foresee which would erode those necessary principles.
Lincoln recognized the fragility of the system, the delicate balance on which the United States survived. In the Gettysburg Address he said, "Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether ... any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure." Because no matter what we tell ourselves, we are not all created equal. The root fact of life is that some people are born smarter, more dishonest, or luckier.
In other words, if you have a moderately high IQ, a basic work ethic, and normal parents who work hard for a living, you don't stand a chance. You have to have Clinton's brains, Rupert Murdoch's morality, or very rich parents in order to enjoy true freedom and equality.
One man, one vote is supposed to counter this truth. If every adult votes, and those votes are respected, then the Will of the People will prevail. For instance, you will have observed that we no longer have a country-wide speed limit of 55. Why not? The reasons that were given at the time are still true: accidents are less fatal, and it keeps down the consumption of oil. So what happened?
The People Voted.
Every person who drives contributed a vote. Every time a driver went over the speed limit, he was casting a dissenting vote. And the dissenting votes took it. The majority vote was respected, and the laws were changed.
It amuses me how well this works with money in a capitalist society. Some new product comes out - let's say Nabisco puts three new crackers on the grocery shelves. One of them doesn't sell as well and it gets pulled, never to be seen again. Logical - why would a company continue to produce something which isn't making as much money as they would have investing somewhere else?
And this is the basis of Capitalism, which we have come to think of (have been taught to think of) as synonymous with Democracy. (It isn't. Capitalism came later.)
There is a problem in this capitalist Eden. Why produce crackers at all if you can make more money on cookies? Why sell organic strawberries if you can make more money spraying them with insecticides? Why not, in fact, tell the prospective customer that it is organic when it has in fact been sprayed?
Why not? Why not lie? After all, the Gold Standard, the Work Ethic, the Capitalist Principles, that which we have been taught by the Great TV since childhood is:
Earning more and more money is seen completely as an end in itself, and is not simply the means for purchasing other goods. This seemingly irrational attitude towards money is a leading principle of capitalism, and it expresses a type of feeling closely associated with certain religious ideas. http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/protestantethic/section3.rhtml
'Religious ideas' indeed. In fact, money is God in America. I mean that. Consider: Those who have money have the Power. They are the priesthood. What they mandate is what is believed. Everyone spends a huge portion of the time in pursuit of money. Misuse of money is a sin, not forgiven by family, society, or the law. Giving away large sums of money is a basis for having someone declared incompetent. Responsibility with money is necessary within the law to be considered a competent adult.
But what does this have to do with Representation?
It's about that 'voting' thing. One man, one vote.
In the United States of America, everyone is supposed to have a voice, and the majority rules. If WE believe that we should school all children, then we vote that way, and our children are universally educated, to the benefit of our country as a whole. If we believe that a single mother should be able to feed her children, then as a country we provide for her. If we believe that the orphan should starve to death, we have only to vote that direction.
The problem is that only those who vote contribute to the total belief system of the country.
Since everyone spends money for food, we have an amazing variety of food types to choose from, ranging from the exotic to the common, from the rare to the prolific, from the very bad for you to the very good for you.
But most Americans do not go to the polls.
The answer to that is very complex, and I doubt that I know all the reasons. I *do* know some.
1) People believe: I'm just one person and no matter what I vote it won't influence the outcome.
2) Restrictive laws: Jim Crow laws still have lingering effects in many places. In others, meeting the voting requirements is too difficult, and not very comprehensible.
3) And in some places you even risk physical harm by showing up at the polls.
Then there are those who *do* vote. Who think, even, that they are being responsible, have done their homework, and are genuinely voting for someone who represents their best interests and will do a good job governing.
Let me present this outlook:
When you get a job, you are usually presented with a job description - a list of what is expected of you. There are two items which are never put down in print, but are the most important details to fulfill. A real job description would start with:
1) Do what is needed to keep your job.
2) Make your supervisor look good.
Originally, there was no paycheck connected to holding government office. It was intended to be a part-time thing which civic-minded people did voluntarily. Now that lawmaking is a competitive, capitalist, paid position, can you blame the politicians for treating it like a job?
Re: Point 1: I read (in Reader's Digest, I think) where a man commented that he had a friend of several years standing who decided to run for state senator. And he won. The writer said that his friend was a good man who genuinely wanted to make a difference. After about two months, the new senator called him. To talk about old times? To discuss the workings of the senate? To get feedback about what the people wanted of their government?
No, no, and no.
He called to ask for campaign donations. Two months after election, he was already totally focused on the next election.
Point 2 is necessary to fulfill point 1: In line with doing what you have to do to keep your job, lie whenever needed.
NOTHING they say is above suspicion. Only their actions and voting record count for anything at all.
So what do our Worthies do to keep their jobs? They lie and cheat to keep the people pacified, and they kowtow to their bosses, the wealthy who buy their elections.
IN SUM, who is represented?
And the answer is, who is taxed?
You and I pay a lot of money for what the government does for us. And I think it's a reasonable tradeoff. We get
A safety net for when we just can't make it on our own
Someone to make sure that the lousy good-for-nothing that knocked up your daughter pays for the offspring.
A military to protect us from enemies
A police force to protect us from crime
Prisons to keep undesirables out of the general population
Someone to bop the annoying fat man at work who wants to fondle you.
A safety net for the woman down the street who's fallen on hard times, but we don't have the time and inclination to do anything for her by ourselves.
Obviously, that's only a few of the things we get for our money.
Problem is, it isn't enough money to do all of that properly. Why not? Because the rich aren't paying. No really, they aren't paying at all.
I'm sure you've all heard by now that we - we taxpayers - give the oil companies $3,000,000,000,000. 00 per year. Because we don't pay enough for gasoline. And because they're such nice guys. And because they deserve it. And because being the most profitable business ever in the history of the world just isn't quite enough.
And do you know this one? A rich person, say an actor or a senator, can make himself a corporation. He then becomes a 'small business' and is protected by the same small business protections that your local handyman has. This is why Congress is so eager to protect the small businessman.
And these super rich are the only ones who cast a vote that counts.
Yes, they are.
Your vote does indeed not count. Because you have been beguiled by the words that were paid for. Or you have been convinced not to vote at all. Or, in the final analysis, just because no matter how good or moral your local candidate is to start out, in the end he's going to work toward the goals of his masters, the super corporations and the super rich.