The Endangered American Democracy
April 09, 2014"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life,
Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are
instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed … "
(excerpt from Declaration of Independence)
A democracy is defined as a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent thzem. In a democracy all citizens have an equal vote to elect those representatives. And there are many questions that must be answered to satisfy whether or not we are a democracy, or some other political system. Is America in danger of losing it's democracy? Has lobbying by corporations, wealthy individuals, unions, and foreign contributors, etc. created fertile grounds for private interest groups to influence our elected representatives? Is an individual's vote really equal to that of a wealthy campaign contributor, lobbyist or foreign interest? Are the interests of the American people being fairly represented with a non partial vote? Political contributions are given for a reason someone is trying to influence a favorable outcome. An oligarchy is defined as a form of government in which all power is vested in a dominant class of selected individuals. A plutocracy is a form of government in which all power is vested in a group of wealthy members. Does the American democracy still exist
The Supreme Court, Citizens United v. FEC decision, in which the Court held that the
First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political
contributions by corporations and unions. Then on this past Wednesday the Supreme
Court struck down a Watergate era limit on political contributions. Wealthy individuals may now contribute to candidates and political committees with no limits and will increase the influence of money in our political system. Enabling a quid pro quo environment. Has the equal vote become null and void? How will the average American voice be heard and who will lookout for them? Has the Supreme Court through this decision establishment on an oligarchy? Is the American democracy a thing of the past? Has the American ideal of equality of a citizen's vote been compromised by private interests and financial gain? The right to petition Congress is guaranteed by the First Amendment it was designed as a means of protecting public participation in government. We need to safeguard that right it cannot be allowed to morph into something the Founding Fathers never intended.
Perhaps now it is time for the government financed political campaigns, the establishment of a campaign season of only 90 days. It seems as soon as our representatives are elected they immediately start raising for re-election instead of doing what they were elected for to pass legislation for the betterment of the country.
How else will the voice and desires of the average American to be heard? Term limits may be a step in the right direction. Americans grow increasingly frustrated and hopeless being witness to a do nothing Congress. We still have a vote and we can change things by reforming campaign contributions and lobbying practices. Republican,
Democrat, whatever your political affiliation we are still all Americans. We can have our differences but in a democracy we are still entitled to our equal vote. Americans must demand their equal representation, it is our "unalienable Right endowed by our Creator."
Private interests can never be allowed to influence the will or the welfare of the American people. Elected representatives must be held accountable for their legislative decisions and should not be obligated to honor pledges to private organizations and or individuals but to the American people to whom they pledged to serve and protect.
Political corruption and financial influence of wealthy private individuals should never be allowed to trump the desires of the majority. Corruption may never be done away with in its entirety, but must be exposed and rooted out wherever it is discovered if we are to continue with a Democratic America. An American's vote should never be devalued by private interest groups or wealthy individuals in any way, shape or form but must remain equal to all citizens regardless of race, creed, color, religion and financial standing or private interest groups if we are truly equal citizens of a democracy.