I’ve been experiencing a strong sense of helplessness lately.
Our political system is no longer “our” — as in “the people’s” — political system. It now belongs to a cabal of ultra wealthy individuals and multinational corporations who regularly buy house and senate members and send lobbyists to crawl all over Capital Hill like maggots feeding on a corpse.
We have no control over what government feels it can do in our name. Revelations of spying by the NSA and other government agencies makes it clear that those who supposedly represent us are actually fearful of us, enough so that they are willing to shred the Constitution to keep tabs on our every word. Civil protests are treated as terrorist gatherings. Peaceful protesters are beaten, maced and arrested. Those who dare expose government malfeasance are locked away in prisons or forced into exile. Drones are sent in our name to execute people who have never had a trial or been convicted of a crime, and in many cases, innocent civilians are collateral damage.
You can still vote, can’t you? Yes and no. Republican statehouses are doing everything they can to keep minority citizens from voting. Then there’s gerrymandering. And when we do vote, our choices are limited to corporate lackey A or corporate lackey B. Voting machines are highly susceptible to manipulation and there is strong evidence they have been secretly tampered with in past elections. And, if a national election is close, we can count on the Supreme Court to step in and choose a winner based on the political preferences of the majority.
Finally, there is the corporate propaganda machine that some still refer to as the American media. Under the control of a handful of companies, our media works at the behest of its masters, conveying corporate friendly news and entertainment designed more to mesmerize than inform, distract more than engage, while it continually reassures the masses that everything is under control as the world burns around them.
I see fewer and fewer avenues for citizens to realistically exert their will. That’s a bad sign in a country that calls itself a democracy. We elected Barack Obama on the promise of change, but that promise turned out to be a blatant lie, and the last six years have seen us move inexorably closer to an oligarchy rather than away from it.
So where do we go from here? How do we make our voices heard? How do we return the balance of power to the people of America? The unfortunate reality is that the list of possible responses to these questions is growing shorter and shorter with every passing day.