Voices from the past continue to haunt us, to this day, reminding, those of us who care to review, of the results of not listening to those who came before; I must now apologize to my parents. Abraham Lincoln’s attempt at alerting about the potential power of corporations, Arthur Miller’s hints of the chasm always threatening to engulf us, and Eisenhower’s concerns regarding the burgeoning military-industrial complex, to name but a few. Our founding fathers’ warnings about the ways our democracy could fail and ways they tried to avert those have been ignored by those, too many, who would forego education for more immediate physical pleasures, or too prone to be accepted, as gospel truth, by these same intellectual crickets, the calculated, deceitful, misinterpretations of such by politicians.
I will not attempt to explain the ideals that our system of government was founded upon, but, it is vitally important that every voter study our history and not accept, verbatim, all whom you are most inclined to listen to, but hear both sides and judge against the context of prior choices and decisions.
Abraham Lincoln was one who foresaw the calamity that must follow the granting of such powers to business entities:
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”
—U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864
(letter to Col. William F. Elkins)
Ref: The Lincoln Encyclopedia: The Spoken and Written Words of A. Lincoln
Arranged for Ready Reference, Archer H. Shaw (NY, NY: Macmillan, 1950)
This in a time when the conservatives, especially in the south, were democrat. This conservative democrat persuasion continued until the 1960’s and 1970’s when the new conservatives finally joined the reformed Republican party as at least the second time in our history that these two parties swapped ideals.
Dwight Eisenhower, when the oil tycoons, and many of the growing military-industrial complex, were still conservative democrats and who are all still conservatives (albeit of the Republican party), gave this warning in his closing speech as President of the United States of America in 1961, three days before the inauguration of John F. Kennedy:
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
As Ernest Hemingway wrote in the late 1930’s, over eighty years ago, in his novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, about the fear, of the more enlightened, about the rich depriving the less fortunate U.S. citizens; of concern, even then. Hear his American protagonist, Robert Jordan, try to explain this to the Spaniards that he was fighting with:
“Do you have no big proprietors?” Andrés asked.
“Many” (Robert Jordan)
“Then there must be abuses.”
“Certainly. There are many abuses.”
“But you will try to do away with them?”
“We try to more and more. But there are many abuses, still.”
“But there are not great estates that must be broken up?”
“Yes. But there are those who believe that taxes will break them up.”
Robert Jordan, wiping out the stew bowl with bread, explained how the income tax and inheritance tax worked. “But the big estates remain. Also there are taxes on the land,” he said.
“But surely the big proprietors and the rich will make a revolution against such taxes. Such taxes appear to me to be revolutionary. They will revolt against the government when they see that they are threatened, exactly as the fascists have done here,” Primitivo said.
“It is possible.”
“Then you will have to fight in your country as we fight here.”
“Yes, we will have to fight (work to defeat it).”
“But are there not many fascists in your country?”
“There are many who do not know they are fascists but will find it out when the time comes.”
“But you cannot destroy them until they rebel?”
“No,” Robert Jordan said. “We cannot destroy them. But we can educate the people so that they will fear fascism and recognize it as it appears and combat (work to defeat) it.”
Understand, now, how our elimination of corporate taxes has further endangered our freedom? This increase in corporate power has led to further degradation of our democracy as the ‘corporative’ controlled Supreme Court has dealt two recent defeats (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission) to attempts to prevent the rich from controlling our elections.
I wrote of my interpretation of Arthur Miller’s message concerning the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ in my essay, ‘The Crucible-- Demons or Demagogues?’ and how our political system, our country, depends on the decisions we make, today, to avoid our next costly ‘Crucible’, that I feel is around a coming corner. Please read ‘The Crucible-- Demons or Demagogues?’, which is available at the below-listed website.
Our immediate efforts must be to regain control of honest elections, where every vote counts and the dollar does not. In the future, we need to strive for a self-represented government, where the true majority decides every vote; read my novel Dreamview Two— The Kamikaze Candidate, available on the link provided below, for an idea how this concept could work. This ideal will be even more attractive after our youth are given much greater opportunity for furthering their education, thus ensuring a more informed electorate, i.e., voting population.