Broken Political Promises & Corruption

In 2006, a majority of voters - angry, disgusted and alarmed with our country’s direction under Republican control - swept Democrats to majorities in Congress. They were then lulled into accepting the Party’s self-serving rhetoric that if only voters delivered Democrats a filibuster-proof Senate and the presidency in 2008, they would be able to restore sanity and the rule of law to our nation.

Unfortunately, this turned out to be an intentional and cynical lie in the spirit of Lucy’s duping the ever gullible Charlie Brown into hoping that just this once she might not laughingly yank the football away at the last second, leaving him flat on his back in the dust (again).

Americans were eager to dismantle the Bush/Cheney policies, beginning from when the bogus “War on Terror” was launched and used as the pretext for fomenting mass fear and hysteria, followed by imperial “wars of choice”, ethnic and religious hatred, ideological industry-beholden flacks in charge of (not) policing Wall Street and big business, unrestricted surveillance, torture, ruinous deficits, pervasive cronyism, suspension of Constitutionally-guaranteed civil liberties, and unpunished blatant law-breaking by the President and his highest retainers.

Citizens should always be wary when politicians propose the canard called a “The War on _____”.  It’s intentionally designed as an unwinnable, endless campaign declared against an intangible foe waged for the purposes of the curtailment of liberty and the long-term transfer of truckloads of taxpayer money to crony corporations and special interests (e.g., “The War on Poverty”, “The War on Terror”, “The War on Drugs” – what’s next, “The War on Hurricanes?”).

Many of their hard-working supporters and activists began to suspect the true motives of the newly-elected Democratic majority in Washington and that the “fix was in” when one of Nancy Pelosi’s first acts as Speaker was to famously declare, “Impeachment is off the table”.  As it turned out, their suspicion was justified.

When the Democrats took majority control of Congress in 2006, having committed to extricating us from our  ”wars of choice”, America was engaged in (only) two such conflicts:  Iraq and Afghanistan.  Now four years later, our nation is deep into five “wars of choice”:  Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, and agitating for a sixth in Iran.

Betraying a core campaign pledge, and building upon the foundation of unconstitutional powers unlawfully claimed by his predecessor, our Democratic President has seized further sweeping and unprecedented dictatorial powers to imprison indefinitely, render overseas, torture, try via kangaroo court, deny access to legal counsel, and/or kill by decree any person anywhere in the world including American citizens without charges or recourse.  A vast, secret shadowy government has grown its tentacles exponentially on this Nobel Peace Prize winner’s watch. Whistle-blowers who’ve alerted us to waste, incompetence, wrong-doing and corruption are prosecuted; high-crimes and treason by political elites and Wall Street are dismissed with the patronizing slogan: “We must look forward, not backward”.

What have the Democrats in Washington produced since their 2008 victory? More war, more police state, more debt; a health insurance bill that transfers upwards of $1 trillion over ten years to the self-serving health insurance industry in exchange for a few overpriced benefits that can be capriciously revoked without substantive penalty, and which forces another thirty million of us to buy their loophole-ridden and often worse-than-useless products;  a financial industry regulatory bill that’s mostly smoke and mirrors with its effective enforcement provisions hollowed out or deleted in backroom deals; and an undersized train wreck of an economic stimulus bill, riddled with one-time pork, ineffectual tax cuts and short-term local government subsidies.

Even when Washington Democrats did pass something worthwhile - student loan reform - in a craven, cowardly and shameful act of betrayal, they bundled it with an ultimately proven unconstitutional death warrant for ACORN, as the Democrats caved (again) to right-wing propaganda and lies.

As has been the case on numerous occasions over the last four years, it is also neither leadership nor courage for Democrats in particular or any elected officials in general to disingenuously claim credit for token voting in opposition to legislation, e.g., war funding or TARP, only after their leadership had already secured enough votes for passage.

Of course Washington Republicans, both before and after 2008, have been at least as destructive and dangerous to our Republic and as previously noted, perhaps even more so.  Lest we forget that it was still during Bush/Cheney’s reign in the fall of 2008 – not Obama’s – and enthusiastically supported by Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch Mc Connell, Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner and the majority of the Republican caucus in both Houses that TARP and the Federal Reserve transferred upwards of $27 trillion to Wall Street and “took over” several big banks, investment houses and insurance companies, enriching the crooks and leaving the rest of us to rot.

Experience clearly shows that campaign rhetoric to the contrary, neither Party intends to abandon their lust for empire, addiction to unrestrained military spending, growth of the security state, pork projects and vote-buying, pandering to special interests, destruction of individual liberty, cronyism, Wall Street and corporate favoritism and largesse, lawlessness and two-tiered justice, deficit spending, secrecy and executive power.

In Roman times, emperors held the support of the common people via what was referred to as “bread and circuses”.  Perhaps the only real difference between the major Parties may be that the Democrats distribute the “bread” and the Republicans the “circuses”.  Pick your poison.

Present-day euphoric Republican voters are cautioned to take note that Lucy’s sport knows no favorites among the gullible.

Perhaps it's time to cast off the unconstitutional and hopelessly corrupt stranglehold this broken "two-party system" has on our Republic. A good start might be to end automatic ballot access for the major parties - let everyone qualify each election cycle on a level playing field.

Nathaniel Gurien

Kearsarge