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Humanist Fellowship of San Diego Message Board › U.S. democracy is illegitimate. Time for the American Awakening.

U.S. democracy is illegitimate. Time for the American Awakening.

A former member
Post #: 122
These Americans Are Fighting for an Actual, Legitimate Democracy, By and For the People

U.S. democracy is illegitimate. Time for the American Awakening.

Two weeks ago in reaction to the McCutcheon decision we touched on an issue that will become central to our movement: Has the democratic legitimacy of the US government been lost?

We raised this issue by quoting a Supreme Court Justice, former US president and a sitting US Senator:

“The legitimacy of the US government is now in question. By illegitimate we mean it is ruled by the 1%, not a democracy ‘of, by and for the people.’ The US has become a carefully designed plutocracy that creates laws to favor the few. As Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissenting opinion, American law is now ‘incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy.’ Or, as former president, Jimmy Carter said on July 16, 2013 “America does not at the moment have a functioning democracy.”

“Even members of Congress admit there is a problem. Long before the McCutcheon decision Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) described the impact of the big banks on the government saying: ‘They own the place.’ We have moved into an era of a predatory form of capitalism rooted in big finance where profits are more important than people’s needs or protection of the planet.”

The legitimacy of the US government derives from rule by the people. If the US government has lost its democratic legitimacy, what does that mean? What is the impact? And, what is our responsibility in these circumstances?

We can go back to the founding document of this nation, the Declaration of Independence for guidance. This revolutionary document begins by noting all humans are born with “inalienable rights” and explains “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted” and that government derives its “powers from the consent of the governed.” Further, when the government “becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government….”

After we wrote about the lost democratic legitimacy of the United States, this new academic study, which will be published in Perspectives on Politics, revealed that a review of a unique data set of 1,779 policy issues found:

“In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule -- at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.”

And, this was not the only study to reach this conclusion this week. Another study published in the Political Research Quarterly found that only the rich get represented in the US senate. The researchers studied the voting records of senators in five Congresses and found the Senators were consistently aligned with their wealthiest constituents and lower-class constituents never appeared to influence the Senators’ voting behavior. This oligarchic tendency was even truer when the senate was controlled by Democrats....

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The entire article appears here: http://www.alternet.o...­


Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers are participants in PopularResistance.org. They also co-direct It’s Our Economy and are co-hosts of Clearing the FOG, shown on UStream TV and heard on radio. They tweet at@KBZeese and MFlowers8.

lynn
lynn-riggs
San Diego, CA
Post #: 46
This is truly the seminal issue of our time and will change our lives as we know them - politics will never be the same. My heart sank into my socks after McCutcheon, knowing that the U.S. is now an Oligarchy (http://www.washington...­) and that our individual voices have been diminished in power so as to be almost completely ineffectual. One of the most devastating findings of the study cited in the attached article is “When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose.” Greaaaat. Game over, baby. Time for the revolution.


A former member
Post #: 129
"And what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure." - Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, Paris, 13 Nov. 1787

I find it most ironic that when we are most in danger of losing our liberties, there are those who insist on gun control. Gun-control by whom and for whom?

Wilfredo P.
user 11974495
Chula Vista, CA
Post #: 250
I don't think this issue has anything to do with guns, Mike. Armed American citizens aren't delusional to the point that they think they can defeat the entire U.S. military and all the police officers in this country, right? I bet that if you asked the loved ones of victims of the recent mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado, they'd be strongly in favor of some type of gun control. It's just too easy for crazies to buy guns in this country. WE'RE #1 in mass workplace and school shootings! Woo hoo!!! This is what Europeans and others just don't get about this country: our obessions with God, Gays and Guns.

Recall that Ronald Reagan passed a gun control bill when he was governor of California when the Black Panthers started carrying guns into public buildings. That says a lot about the hypocrisy of gun nuts. They support gun ownership, open carry laws and "stand your ground" laws only for certain people (the pigment-challenged type, that is). Conservatives claim to defend the Constitution, but clearly that's not the case. When the NRA and Ray-Gun support gun control there's only one possible reason... scary minorities!

Here's a good article on the issue at hand:

Rich People Rule: Struggle Lies Ahead

http://www.truth-out....­
-rule-struggle-lies-ahead
A former member
Post #: 133
I dunno, Wilfredo. I think it has everything to do with guns and the right to protect oneself from thugs, crazies, and the government. You might want to ask the Vietnamese how they felt about taking on the U.S. (and other foreign invaders). Nobody said it would be easy. But was it worth it to them?

Imagine how things might have turned out differently for the Philippines had all the Filipinos been armed with the appropriate weapons during the Philippine - American War, the war that ended the Philippine Republic (in favor of you-know-who).

Some years ago, I read a book by Primo Levi, an Italian Jew who was held in a concentration camp during the Second World War, in which he said: "Since the holocaust, no man has the right to be unarmed".

Not a day goes by that the media isn't reporting another political or ethnic cleansing in some part of the world. In a world where you know the "bad guys" won't be without their weapons of choice, do you want to be the only unarmed citizen and have your family be dependent upon the militants' sense of fair play?

History has shown that the authorities (politicians, police, and armed services) are primarily dedicated to enforcing the will of the political elites and protecting the status quo (current power structures). I believe the article you linked in your prior comments bears out this fact.

I'm not against intelligent and effective gun control. We have gun control laws on the books already. I may be mistaken but most of the gun-related massacres in the U.S. were perpetrated by murderers and/or psychopaths who could not or did not legally own the weapons they used in the killings. Correct?

I challenge you to prove that the gun control laws are intended to be racist. It seems to me that there are a plethora of weapons in the hands of minorities. Many are law-abiding citizens. Some not. The sensationalized reporting in the media doesn't show the entire picture.



Wilfredo P.
user 11974495
Chula Vista, CA
Post #: 251
Mike, apparently you don't know about the blatantly racist past of the NRA. So please read these three articles.

http://www.newrepubli...­

http://www.rawstory.c...­

http://www.nraila.org...­

Just a couple of years ago, these Tea Party types--conservative, older white guys--were protesting in San Diego by openly carrying their firearms at malls and public gatherings. How do you think that would have gone over had young black men did the same thing? Somehow, old white guys can get away with this.

Also, there is definitely a different standard for black people when it comes to "stand your ground" laws. Evidently, these laws were made for whites. The black woman in the second article only fired a warning shot at her abusive ex-husband, who wasn't injured, and yet she received a prison term of 20 years! She was released after a lot of outrage about her case.

http://www.salon.com/...­

http://colorlines.com...­

You're wrong about most mass murders not legally owning their guns. The Virginia Tech shooter was one example--he easily bought guns in Virginia despite a history of mental problems.

It's a romantic yet naive and invalid idea that guns are beneficial because they protect you. The reality is that a gun in the home is FAR more likely to kill someone via suicide, accident or murder. Guns turn shouting matches into shooting matches. They also make it a lot easier to commit suicide. I bet Junior Seau bought his gun intending to protect himself and his family.

I know a gun nut who had a huge collection of guns. Last Sunday, he got into a drunken argument with his girlfriend, then committed suicide with one of his own guns by shooting himself in the head. The guy had three young daughters. And just last week, a San Diego man was sentenced to four years in prison because a friend of his son found his gun and accidentally killed himself with it. Sure, once in a while someone legitimately defends himself with a gun. But the stats show that a gun in the home is far more likely to kill the owner or a loved one than an intruder.

This isn't "sensationalized reporting." People die as victims of murder, accidents and suicide by gun every day. It's just a reflection of our gun-crazy, violent culture. It's interesting that Canadians own about the same number of guns as Americans do, yet Canada typically has less than 500 deaths per year via guns compared to our 10,000+.


A former member
Post #: 134
Wilfredo:

You are correct in that I have not read the articles referring to the blatant racist past of the NRA before. In fact, I know next to nothing about the NRA. However, I have now read the articles you provided and I think a quote from the third article you listed is telling: "Conspicuously, the race-oriented history of "gun control" laws has escaped the attention of many in the civil rights community."

After having read the articles, I concluded that the race-oriented history of gun control escaped them because it hasn't been substantiated with any hard facts. The provocative commentary I read in the articles appeared to be built upon conjecture and innuendo.

Yes, I too suspect that race has played a factor in gun-control, as it has in many aspects of our culture. However, it seems to me that you are making it the primary reason for gun control throughout America's history. That I have to question.

Based on the brief articles you provided, it seems to me that the politicians were responding to real world problems in their cities and gun control was one piece of the legislation they passed to address the problems. In some cases it was apparently against other European immigrants. I don't know the specific history of the issues cited, but I do know that there was much political and economic unrest due to immigration and violence resulted. I am not surprised that gun laws were instituted. Even then, can one conclude the laws were primarily racist in nature or aimed at curbing violence?

Regarding "Stand Your Ground", I don't think there are enough histories to prove that it a "Whites Only" defense. And as sensational as the media is nowadays, I am always skeptical when the reporting seems so out of balance with reality. Generally-speaking, juries are not composed of blithering idiots. Sometimes they are called upon to make tough calls, which could go either way depending on how the case is presented to them. It may not be the call that either you or I would make, but nonetheless, it is often cautious and methodical.

At any rate, I don't expect to get the truth from the media, internet or corporate. At best, I expect to be entertained.

Gun death stats are one of those "facts" which are twisted to "prove" whatever the current spokesperson wants to support. Why are suicides included in gun deaths? If this country had a responsible euthanasia policy, I am certain that would help in cleaning up the stats. Many gun-related accidents could be interpreted as suicides as well, if not for the cultural stigma attached to suicide.

As for the number of mass murders committed by registered gun owners, you only cited one. If my memory serves me correctly, he was an aberration, not the rule.

None of this addresses the issue of how many crimes have been prevented because criminals are wary of home owners with guns. Why? How would you track such statistics, and who would collect and compile this information? Would a potential victim even be aware that fear of a gun in the home stopped a potential home invasion?

Your point about Canadians and guns, I think, suggests that the real issue isn't gun ownership, but goes much deeper into the American experience. I recall coming away from the Michael Moore documentary "Bowling For Columbine", where he makes the same comparison, but fails to make the point that Americans are more violent because we live in a perpetual state of fear and hate. Solve those issues and you have solved the gun control problem. In my estimation, Universal Health Care would be a good start.

And I stand by my gun-philosophy: When society reaches the point that it is no longer necessary to arm the police, then I will consider giving up my guns.



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