Union leaders and volunteers in Wisconsin are scratching their heads while pondering
why Scott Walker - the representative of union-busting corporate America - walked away with his seat intact after a failed recall election, and by a substantial margin at that. Considering the thousands of hours spent knocking on doors and telephoning voters, there just may be a highly unpleasant explanation for the retention of Walker, which might be the same one as for the popularity of the Tea Party and polls showing Mitt Romney ahead of Barack Obama.
The reason the explanation is unpleasant is that evidence is beginning to pile up that the United States isn't just moving to the Right, it's galloping. The Land of the Free, in short, is more concerned with order than it is with law. We want to be told what to do. Maybe we're not a democracy any more.
There's no reason to think democracy will always be the form of government we'll see in America. I suggest that we now have a lot less democracy than we had fifty years ago. Privacy is just about gone, the victim of technology and marketing. While we have made strides in racial equality, we've got much less financial equality and, oddly, many of the same people are being discriminated against for a different reason. We're becoming a country where money is the only measure of true value and the acquisition of more is the definition of success. A society built along these lines is not a democracy: it's a plutocracy - a government of wealth.
Plutocracies generally embrace class mobility. Almost anyone can join the club if they're rich enough and people can get kicked out if their net worth drops too low. In some societies, people can't get in no matter how much money they have if they don't have the right kind of parents. Not here. Any person with a big enough bank balance is welcome. And, since corporations are persons, they're more than welcome at the table.
Plutocracies are always right wing because socialism doesn't go with a society built on huge gaps between the rich and the poor. Labor unions definitely don't belong since the goal is to keep labor cheap and the masses obedient to the wealthy's definition of what's good for them.
War is popular with plutocracies since war produces profits. Also, in most wars these days, the rich don't fight in them. The casualties are primarily from the lower and lower middle classes. The only costs are paid by the ones who fight and the taxpayers who have to pay for the costs of the wounded. So we hear the advantages of attacking Iran, bombing Syria and sending more arms to Israel. This doesn't mean some arguments are or aren't valid. It means somebody wants to make money on wars.
Can anybody say, with a straight face, that in today's United States, people are created with an equal shot at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Isn't the "American Dream" no longer about values, but only about what money can buy? Are we turning into a nation that admires the Scott Walkers and the Donald Trumps as role models? Is there a campaign against democracy under way in which the people we vote for become the enemy and people whom we don't vote for are the real sources of truth? Should we believe the government- whose goal is to represent us - or the banks and oil companies, whose goal is to make as much money as they can? At least we can kick out the government. How can you kick out a bank that's too big to fail?
The unpleasant possibility is that money is buying what millions have been fighting for since 1776. A more unpleasant possibility is that we, the people, have surrendered to the buyers.