Thursday, January 14, 2010

An Epidemic of Re-Democratization

Over at The Nation, Chris Hayes reported on the state of the nation in a 3-page post entitled 'System Failure.' Here's his conclusion:

What the country needs more than higher growth and lower unemployment, greater income equality, a new energy economy and drastically reduced carbon emissions is a redistribution of power, a society-wide epidemic of re-democratization. The crucial moments of American reform and progress have achieved this: from the direct election of senators to the National Labor Relations Act, from the breakup of the trusts to the end of Jim Crow.

So in this new year, while the White House focuses on playing within the existing rules, it's our job as citizens and activists to press constantly for changes to those rules: public financing, an end to the filibuster, the breakup of the banks, legalization for undocumented workers and the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, to name just a few of the measures that would alter the balance of power and expand the frontiers of the possible.

Hayes points out that journalists from the right and left are condemning the corporations, banks and other special interests for bogarting power away from the people who need the real help. This 'corporatism' is the state of the nation and people are awakening to this reality, but feel impotent to do anything about it, as Glenn Greenwald said in a recent interview with Bill Moyers.

...there gets to be a point where citizens look at the government, and they look at both political parties, and they conclude that the system itself is so radically corrupt and the political parties are so fundamentally nonresponsive that no matter what it is that they do, they aren't going to be able to achieve any change. They feel a sense of learned helplessness. And they essentially accept whatever it is that's done to them and simply hope that it's not too bad. And I think that's the population. It's not that they're apathetic. It's that they've come to believe in their own impotence.

We the people must resist these very real feelings of impotence and apathy and do every little thing we can to move Obama and the rest of the political elite away from the oligarchy that the US has become.

Followers of Jesus know full well what impotence and apathy feel like. His original disciples would just as soon flee than watch their Master be given the death penalty (except for the women, of course). But the mustard seed revolution will not be harvested by those looking for a quick fix or a compromise with corrupt, profit-seeking power entities. We must advocate for those 'left out' of our over-glorified capitalist system. And, let's be honest, there are a lot of left out folks right now. Martin Luther King spent the last couple years of his life fighting the triple-headed monster of racism, militarism and poverty. The monster is still alive and well. Let's prepare to celebrate King's holiday this weekend by embracing the same vocation.

--Theological Autopilot

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