Progressive talk show host and author, Thom Hartmann asks, "Is America past the point of no return?"
Have corporate/billionaire control of our republic reached such a point that it’s no longer reversible? Have we passed the tipping point where democracy dies?
A few years back, on my radio show, President Jimmy Carter said that America, in large part because of Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United, has become “just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery.”
He’s right. It’s the elephant in the room that everybody, particularly our corporate media, completely ignores.
While Republicans are doing the will of their oligarch owners, replacing real scientists with industry lobbyists and shills everywhere from the White House to congressional science committees to the EPA, the media stubbornly refuses to report in depth on it, preferring instead to following the Worldwide Wrestling moves of our tweeter-in-chief.
Yet in the face of all this, enough to provoke revolution in countries like Egypt and Ukraine, our press instead focuses on the oligarchs’ unproven and well-debunked claim that “illegals” are voting to help Democrats.
“They [the super-wealthy] claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest.
“Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.”
Have they finally reached that goal which, in Wallace’s day, they could only hunger for?
In 1944, the dream of the oligarchs to once again control America the way they did during the Gilded Age of the 1880-'90s was just that, a dream. Wallace’s president, FDR, had called them out, repeatedly, calling them “economic royalists” and damning their efforts to corrupt American democracy.
But, he thundered in that speech, “Our allegiance to American institutions
requires the overthrow of this kind of power!”
It's been a long time since any American president rode to the defence of democracy, possibly as far back as John F. Kennedy. The United States has been on corporatist cruise control ever since, gradually picking up speed.
This is all fine rhetoric but there's a good deal more to it. Two professors, Martin Gilens (Princeton) and Benjamim Page (Northwestern), produced an analytical study of the decline of democracy in America published by Princeton in 2014. Their conclusion - the American government no longer operates in service to the American people. It has been hijacked.
The Gilens and Page study was dutifully challenged in The New Yorker by staff writer, John Cassidy. The authors didn't take that lying down and fired back convincingly a month later in The Washington Post.
Perhaps the only meaningful question remaining is whether rank and file Americans will every rally to depose the "economic royalists" from whose ranks Trump has heavily larded his own administration or instead succumb to a new form of illiberal democracy blended with neoliberal feudalism. The latter is the default choice.