If Obama is defeated, we may never have a free election again.
Common Sense is the title of pamphlet written by one of our Founding Fathers, Tom Paine, and published first in 1776. It explained to the American colonists, in simple language that all could understand, why they should revolt against Great Britain. It was the best-selling publication in American history, selling more than 500,000 copies in 1776 alone. It created a tremendous change in American opinion and was largely responsible for the success of the American Revolution. It began with the famous words, “These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Paine went on to say that “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered, yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
In 1776 the American colonists were oppressed by the British government, acting on behalf of the aristocracy, which taxed the colonists without their consent--that is, without permitting them to vote on the issue. That situation is much like the situation we face in the upcoming election. If Obama is defeated, we may never have a free election again. Future elections will be controlled by the super-rich who, as of 2010, owned 35.4 percent of the wealth of this country. (No doubt that percentage of ownership by the super-rich has grown in 2011 and 2012.)
This is not an idle piece of campaign literature. It is said in deadly earnest. You will note that I do not urge you to vote for Obama because I think he has been a superior president handling extreme hard times as well as possible, although I think that. Nor do I argue that one should vote against Romney because of his numerous failings and his inability to explain his various “plans,” although I think that.
To me, there is an overriding reason to vote for Obama -- one that is crucial to the survival of our democracy as we know it. That reason is that ever since the decision of the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case, the super-rich have been able to donate as much as they wish to support the candidate of their choosing. By allowing them to do so, the Supreme Court all but insured that in all future national--and for that matter, state and local elections--the super-rich will be able to determine the result by simply overwhelming the Democratic Party in media buys and other aspects of a campaign's requiring money. In politics, donors call the tune.
There will be no relief from this situation until and unless a Democratic president, with the support of a Senate consisting of two thirds Democrats, is able to appoint judges to the Court who are willing to reverse the Citizens United decision.
It is true, of course, that some of the super-rich are Democratic supporters. Warren Buffett is usually cited as an example. But it is also true that the Republican Party, especially its most conservative wings, is supported by super-rich Republicans who vastly outnumber the Democratic contributors. If this situation is allowed to continue there is no doubt that the Democratic Party, which for more than a century has always sought to protect the middle class, will become a minor party and the Republican Party will rule unchallenged at the behest of the extremely wealthy for the foreseeable future.
I am happy to agree that most Americans do not want socialism. Indeed, I spent 1983 through 1986 in the Soviet Union making a mini-series for NBC. I saw what a disaster socialism is at first-hand. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. But opposing control of our country by the super-rich is not to advocate socialism.
The power of the super-rich is vast indeed. Unless we resist it in this election, given their control of the media, “We, like sheep, will surely be led astray.”