Saturday, October 11, 2008

Part II. What If We Dodge The Bullet?

Part I.

What if they lose? What if the crimes of the Bush regime are stopped? What if things go back to normal?

After what we've seen the past forty years, if things can go back to normal it won't be a blessed relief, it will be a disaster. Our recent history proves that we have fatal problems in the foundation of the American government.

Our elections have to be fixed, not just returned to c. 1964. We have to secure the vote, from before it is cast to counting to reporting the results to their fulfillment. No elections official, secretary of state, or judge can ever be allowed to prevent another legal ballot being cast or counted or made to count. The sleazy behavior we've seen from every level from elections clerk to Supreme Court and the Executive wouldn't be tolerated in a real democracy. A democracy needs it to be an impeachable crime for a Supreme Court Justice to say that a Citizen of the United States does not have a right to vote. That is a fundamental contradiction of the role of the court in a democracy. Anyone who believes that has no place on our court or in our government.

The media, and today that means the electronic media, have to have their self-interested biases exposed and its pollution scrubbed out of our politics. They have to be forced to perform the public service they promised, including meeting standards of fairness. Broadcast stations must provide real news, including local news, which has to be unbiased and fair as a condition for holding a license. And as a comment here yesterday said, without diverse ownership of the media, they won't serve the entire public.

The cable "news" channels have betrayed the public trust even more flagrantly than broadcast, spreading lies effective enough to start the most idiotic and dangerous war of our history. We will pay the cost of their lies for decades, in blood as well as money.

They also aided the Bush putsch of 2000 and the earlier scheme to remove a genuinely elected President on trumped up charges and lies. Pretending that a rogue cable industry isn't a danger to freedom has to stop. Anyone who defends them on their crimes against democracy is a dupe or a profiteer. Put them under the same public service requirements as broadcast media. Media passes itself off as the voice of the people, then let them show it by putting the public before their investors and owners.

Recent history proves that self-government can't depend on leaving it to chance. Laissez faire democracy dies and the death is never a natural one. It lets the powerful and wealthy swamp the Peoples's voice almost all of the time. In the same comments mentioned above, it was pointed out that the Supreme Court rulings making corporations artificial people made that all the more true.

Our government is always presented as having three branches, those are where almost all of the pitiful efforts at reform are concentrated. And that hasn't worked. We have the most dishonest government of our lifetimes. Putting patches on the process to make it a level field is unrealistic to the level of willful blindness. Powerful interests have power. They will always win when they have equal access to the process and own the media. The handful of examples where individuals or small groups win over the big guy make for sentimental TV movies, using them as proof that the system works is calculated dishonesty.

If the People are neglected then it all goes wrong. They won't even show up to vote. That step isn't a naive social studies lesson that you stop thinking about after the test in fourth grade. You don't go on to the higher study of civics and leave it behind. There is nothing higher in a democracy than the People, there is no act of government more important than their Vote. Abraham Lincoln, one of the real founders of the country we live in today, gave the formula for it. You know it by heart. He didn't mention the congress, the executive or the high church of the judiciary. He said that the enormous sacrifice of the American People in the Civil War was so that government of the People, by the People, and for the People shall not perish from the earth.

Any aftermath of the Bush II disaster that doesn't include changes to these laws will be just the beginning of the next time. Not securing the Vote, the will of the People; and forcing their own chosen responsibilities on the media, the only guarantee of an informed and realistic Vote, is a welcome mat for the next would-be dictator. Any liberal, leftist, Democrat, independent, even "moderate" Republican who lets two years go by without enacting real electoral and media reform had better beware. It's just a matter of waiting before the same coalition of corporate interests, bigots, oligarches and haters tries again. They might be as slow and stealthy as they were this time, buying up media, using it to spread lies that "more speech" can't drown out, but they'll make a come back. June 2006

Update 2008: None of this depends on theory, it depends on what actually happens in real, flesh and blood life. An uninformed vote cannot ensure that the will of The People is enacted in government, a fact that accounts for such things as the lack of universal health care and sound, reliable infrastructure in the United States. The right to full and accurate information is as much a part of securing the vote as letting someone mark a paper and accurately reporting the results. That depends on fixing the mass media. As that is an absolute requirement of the right of The People to self government, it isn’t an optional step. And those who inform themselves can’t just content themselves with the idea that the information is there for those who want it, Good government depends on an effective majority of the voters knowing the truth and that truth determining their vote.

The right of self-government, without which a legitimate government can’t exist, is superior to the right of the press to their profit and to promote their owner’s profits. The free press ultimately depends on the choice The People make. It can’t retain its freedom for long unless it informs them to the extent necessary to produce a good, democratic government. Like it or not, today, that means that the electronic media has to be required to accurately inform those it corrupts for profit now. It can not be allowed to continue to be a lie machine which it has freely chosen to be since the fairness doctrine and other requirements of public service were removed from it. The ability for those willing to mouth the lies to make enormous salaries has, I absolutely believe, corrupted almost the entire media, including print. Even some of our non-commercial media sounds and reads like an audition to work at FOX.