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Forum Post: What we have now is government of the 1%, by the 1% and for the 1%. Let’s Occupy Democracy, Our Democracy

Posted 3 years ago on Dec. 9, 2011, 2:20 p.m. EST by EVC7 (0)
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Found a great quote from Louis D Brandeis, who was a Supreme Court Justice: “We can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth in a few hands, but we can’t have both.” This statement gets close to the heart of the problem in our country: money in politics. Vast amounts of money distort and corrupt the system. And like the unsuspecting frog in the cook-pot which is cooked gradually, we have become so inured by the money in the system that many of us are not outraged by it and do not think we can do anything about it. While some in the political class and the media wring their hands and wonder “what is wrong with politics” it does not occur to them that we must remove the money and the corruption that shadows it. I believe it is time to focus some of our energy on the money in politics, because limiting and eventually removing money from our politics is probably the most effective and quickest way to restore our political system to sanity. What we have now is government of the 1%, by the 1% and for the 1%. Let’s Occupy Democracy, Our Democracy. In light of some of the political trends over the last 30-40 years: it is clear that the government we now have is the ‘best’ government money can buy. Some examples (this is not an exhaustive list) 1. Corporate money – The Citizens United decision, the five Supremes declare that corporations have free speech and equal protection rights and removed restriction on political donations by corporations. The Dred Scott decision the Supreme Court found slaves to be 3/5s in 1857 and stood until the 13th and 14th Amendments were passed after the Civil War (it seems that Dred Scott was never specifically reversed). So perhaps Citizens United will be challenged. 2. Elected officials now spend 70% of their time every day fundraising and not on the people’s business. 3. There are over 5000 registered lobbyists in Washington, ten times the number of Congressional reps. Corporations use lobbyists because they are cost effective. 4. Most of the money spent during presidential elections is for TV commercials, so the television industry will be against any change. 5. Every 10 years after the census, the highly politicized redistricting process allows our representatives to redraw the congressional districts in their states and thereby choose their voters, rather than citizens choosing their reps. Two states have removed politicians from the process: Iowa and Nebraska and California is considering a plan. I’d like to see our movement turn its attention to the nuts and bolts of our ‘democratic’ system and “Occupy Democracy”… and this will not require a physical space.

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[-] 1 points by LSN45 (535) 3 years ago

Well said! Here's my 2 cents:

There are a lot of improvements that need to be made. The list reforms people Americans want to see is long and varied depending on who you talk to. That said, I believe there is one reform that would provide the American people the best chances of seeing other meaningful reforms actually happen - that is REAL, loop-hope free CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM! I have seen others on this site calling this the "fulcrum" or pivotal issue. Right now the current legalized bribery, pay-to-play system of campaign donations and paid lobbyists has disenfranchised the American voter. Until this is fixed, any other reform the politicians may try to placate us with (be it a change to healthcare, clamping down predatory school loans, new financial regulations, etc.) will be about as effective as a farmer putting a new roof on his CHICKEN COOP, but still letting the FOX guard it.

We need to go back to the original political currency. Instead of the current system of who can collect the most money from corporations and special interests it should be who has the BEST IDEAS to EFFECTIVELY RUN THE COUNTRY (we don't need "Wealth Redistribution," what we need is "Political Influence Redistribution")!

For the sake our our children and future generations of Americans, we need to take back our democracy from the rich and powerful who are using their vast sums of money to "speak" as if they represent millions of Americans. This "Corporate Personhood" that has crept into our laws is allowing them to manipulating our policies in their favor at the expense of the average American (the recent "Citizens United" Supreme Court ruling is a miscarriage of justice and must be reversed. The $50 or $100 a normal American may give to a political campaign becomes meaningless when corporations or other special interests are handing our millions to buy political access to the decision making process.

For decades now the corporations and special interests have had our "representatives" bought and paid for (both on the right and the left). Concentrating our efforts on getting the money out of our politics is the best way we can create an environment in which further reforms can be realized. Until we end the current system of legalized bribery (campaign donations) and paid lobbying our politicians will continue to be the LAP DOGS of the corporations and special interests. What we need first and foremost is real, loop-hole free CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM!!!! If the corruption is not dealt with first, the chance of any other meaningful reforms becoming a reality is almost zero - the special interests will just use their money to buy votes and put forward bills that create loop-holes or otherwise twist the law in their favor. If we want our children to live in a country where there vote matters, we need to get the money out of our politics, otherwise they will increasingly become the 21st century version of the "landless peasant." Spread the word - End the LEGALIZED BRIBERY!!! CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM needs to be THE main goal of the protests!!!