. . . a money class fleeces the banking system, while the very trunk of the national tree is permitted to rot and crash.
A long time ago, someone handed me a fire extinguisher, doused and lit my English saddle, and suggested I aim at the base of the fire if I wanted to save it. Details aside, that’s what I thought of this morning when I re-read Vanity Fair‘s article by Christopher Hitchens, America the Banana Republic.
When it was reprinted all over the world in 2008, this article was not just a wake-up call … it was an alarm: a dire warning for the people of America, and its undeniable truth smacks even harder today. Nearly three years later, what have we done to reverse the course of a trend that was threatening “to put the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave on a par with Zimbabwe, Venezuela, and Equatorial Guinea”?
Corporations still own the media and are now taking over the Internet. Free access to information, ideas and opinions is essential to Democracy, and the Internet was our alternate source.
The rule of law, a hallmark of Democracy, still doesn’t apply to persons of wealth and power or our government officials.
The Citizens United decision has corrupted the democratic process with corporate personhood.
We are still using electronic election equipment without verifiable results.
As I see it, the media, the rule of law and election integrity are so fundamental to democracy that without them, we are no longer a Democratic American Republic – and if we can’t maintain our own foundation of principles, it’s beyond arrogance to be forcing our system on other nations. It’s not enough anymore to say “our system isn’t perfect, but it’s the best there is to offer”. We’re dangerous. The world’s grandest banana republic also has the most powerful military in the history of the world and the people of America have lost all control over its expansive use.
Some simple truths need to be stated in every venue left for the people to see, and we need to heed the warnings and act now to change the course of history and the future of America.
Where do we go from here? If it were up to me, I would aim at the base of the fire and try to hit some of the above failures. One of the surest ways is to align ourselves with a grass-roots organization willing to work for American values.