I have been thinking about the State of the Union Address and I must say I feel uninspired. I can remember the first time I heard Barack Obama speak at the 2004 DNC and I remember saying “There’s our next President.” But now, ten years later, the illusion has faded.
I truly believe that our representatives in Washington are completely detached from reality. And while most of the Nation agrees that Congress is worthless, these people still maintain a 90% retention rate. That being said, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
One of the projects I have assigned myself this year is rebuilding a website I created back in 2004 called FireCongressNow. This site lists third-party and independent candidates running for office and links to their sites. I know that the state party is focused on local elections, as we should be, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look for alternatives to the current Duopoly.
I use the term Duopoly to lump both the National Democrats and National Republicans into the same box. As far as I’m concerned they are simply opposite sides of the same coin, that coin being contributions from wealthy donors, large corporations, and special interest groups. The Duopoly is simply the Legislative branch of the current Corporate Oligarchy that runs this country.
So what do I mean, Corporate Oligarchy? An oligarchy means “rule of the few” so a Corporate Oligarchy would be rule by just a few corporations which is what we have in D.C. And while the rich and powerful have always been a factor is American politics it has never before been so condensed. For instance, in 1983 90% of corporate media was controlled by 50 companies. In 2011 the number of corporations controlling that same 90% was down to six. Here’s a chart: Media Ownership
Is it any wonder why our politicians are so detached? These people exist in a feedback bubble and that bubble needs to burst. Gerrymander has created seats in Congress that are nearly perpetual and with information controlled by the same people who sponsor our Representatives, it’s no wonder it’s so difficult to replaces Congress with people who are actually tied to the reality of today.
There are some simple solutions to these problems but implementing those solutions is the difficult part. Districts could be drawn up by a committee of judges rather than partisan state legislatures. Party labels could be removed from the ballot, forcing Citizens to actually research for who they’re pulling the lever. Contributions could be limited to those persons, companies, or organizations of which are registered in that candidate’s district.
These simply changes to our system would have a huge affect on how we are represented and how those representatives are elected. But changes like this are hard because the people in charge would have to choose to relinquish power, and as we all know: power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
So this is the State of our Union… a landscape of disconnected Representatives, disillusioned voters, and discontented Citizens. With great power comes great responsibility. So my question is, when are the Citizens of this Republic going to take the responsibility of reclaiming their Constitutional rights and remove the Oligarchs from power? I certainly hope they begin today, because tomorrow could be too late.