At what point does a democracy become an aristocracy?

After a few more people recently revealed their presidential choices to me, and I have come to realize that Obama is not the shoe-in I’ve imagined, a scary thought occurred to me: If the Republicans win, this will be 12 straight years of our country being run by a single party. And I couldn’t help be feel chilled to the bone. What happens when one party has too much control? What happens when the two-party system loses its balance and one party takes over? I fear the interests and moralities of one party will completely displace the rest of us. I fear a country that becomes run by a single class–the rich, conservative, upper class.

People in the winning party like to shout at me, “Majority rules! Majority rules!” I think the days of a clear majority are over. Every election since 2000 has been won by just a hair. The majority is on both sides and won by technicality (or electoral vote–majority rules? not hardly!). Also, sometimes the majority is not right; sometimes, the majority mindset excludes the minorities to a degree that it oppresses. When a group is oppressed, they are not on the same playing field as the supposed majority and therefore do not have the ability to work themselves to the top as the Republicans love to use in defense of ever needing to send their precious tax money to help the less fortunate. A lot of Republicans–especially those of the white male type–will ignore this fact and claim there is no racism and no gender or sexual discrimination. They live in a dream world dominated by a romantic vision of history and the future as they want to see it.

So what happens to a supposed democratic country when it becomes ruled by its more successful, richer class? What will happen to people like me who strive to fight discrimination, racism, and misogyny? Will the fundamentalist right force everyone to have their unwanted babies, even to the point of where the completion of a pregnancy risks the life of the mother? Will the gay minority be forced to hide their sexuality, their love for their partner, and forfeit their accompanying financial and legal rights to joint property? Will big corporations rule everything, reaping profits after profits, squeezing the middle class into poverty, and, worst yet, allowing the environment of this planet to become so mucked up that we will not be able to prevent its slide away from supporting human life?

I know, I know. My Republican friends will tell me that I’m spouting a lot of liberal rhetoric/talking-points. But at the bottom of every talking point is a kernel of truth (or it would never have become a talking point in the first place). You can say that Roe v. Wade will never be overturned, that no one person in office can change that, but look at how close we’ve come since Bush II took office. He single-handedly stopped the progress of science by denying stem cell research legislation at every turn. He refused to give governmental funds to organizations in the world who provided abortion and birth control services and supported only those who advocated the completely fruitless abstinence-only education. (Abstinence-only is a hopeful dream. Never in the history of man, before the time of birth control when all sexual activity could result in pregnancy, has abstinence been faithfully practiced by anyone, aside from a monk or priest. Not when hormones come into play. That’s how the word “bastard” got invented.)

Is this a nation that any liberal is going to want to live in? Isn’t this how Rome fell? The democracy crumbled as the powerful just took over and corruption rotted the country out from the inside. Not to be Chicken Little, but sometimes I feel like I’m witnessing the end. Maybe it’s the end to sanity and the ability to listen to people. Everyone is so heated and angry. You can’t cut the tension with a chainsaw.

A country run by a big corporation is not the American Dream. Sure, it’s everyone’s right to work hard and build something of themselves. However, by the time something becomes a huge corporation, it has lost its ability to see its employees as anything but a number. You can lay some off and go hire cheaper labor in India or China. How do you think it views other things, such as the environment of the planet? Forget about it when it comes to the mighty dollar. A few polar bears die in Alaska for the dollars generated from oil–who cares? Suck the planet dry of resources and allow pollution to invade our atmosphere so that we’re living like the post-modern humans in some sci-fi movie, dying slowly from the poison pumped into our atmosphere.

The conservatives–those attached to big corporations–will already have you believing that global warming/climate change is a myth. We’re too busy debating whether or not it is truth to spend the time to observe some common restraint on ourselves–restraint we should take anyway because too much of anything is bad. If there is a God, do you think he’s happy about the kind of stewards we are to the planet he has given us? What if we have to pay for the crimes against the planet we’ve committed? I sure wish Jesus had said something about the environment and the care of it to motivate the Religious Right.

Everyone always likes to say that nothing will change no matter who you will vote for. Hell, I used to say this. However, a lot has changed in our lifestyle since Bush II has been in office:

We’re in an endless war that has no real point and for which the purpose has been muddled so badly no one is quite sure of its reasons.

Our economy is in the toilet.

We are in a deficit when we had a surplus during the Clinton administration.

We’ve pissed off our supporting countries and neighbors.

Gas is $3.50+/gallon.

Unemployment is rising due to outsourcing (and some of those jobs are white collar and for those with college degrees).

The Religious Right has come out of the closet to suffocate us with their restrictive morals.

Our borders are being flooded by illegal immigrants who also take jobs from the blue collar worker because they will work more hours for less pay.

A lot of scary things have already happened. How much scarier can it get? I shudder to imagine a country where only the fortunate can exist comfortably while the lower and middle classes struggle and oppression continues to prevail. I hope we can restore some balance to our country. It’s never good when one group has all the power for too long.

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8 thoughts on “At what point does a democracy become an aristocracy?

  1. Amen, sister. It's like you read my mind. I am really scared as to the direction this country is going, too. So far my husband & I haven't been hit too badly – we're still able to maintain a relative middle class lifestyle in this economy, but we see what others are going through, and some of those issues are creeping up on us, too. Right now we're DINKs, but I'm wondering if we would be able to make ends meet if we were to have children (DINK = double income no kids). And don't think that we haven't made some changes to ensure that we can maintain our comfortable lifestyle a little bit longer. The issue with the "people can work their way up" philosophy has to do with the way that wealth is distributed. There's only so much money in the economy, and as the rich get richer, that leaves less for the rest of us, and that gap between the upper class and the poor turns from just a gap into a chasm. And how is someone in poverty going to be able to work themselves up if there's not enough money left to pay them to take care of even their basic needs. It pains me, all these people who say they're Christians and forward emails decrying the government if it's even suggested that "In God We Trust" be removed from our money, but then balk if they're taxed for programs to help the less fortunate. I don't recall where in the Bible it says that ensuring that religious sayings not be removed from money will get you into heaven, but I DO recall one of many passages in the Bible where it says that helping those less fortunate will: Matthew 25:31-46

  2. If you even bring up the government stepping in to help people, you’re accused of being a communist right away. Especially when you speak of removing “In God We Trust” from the dollar, which was put there in the first place during a fear of the communist lifestyle… or maybe that was the “Under God” in the Pledge. Either way, having God explicitely mentioned on these government things indicates a justification because God is “on our side” and he is, logically, not on the side of those “other heathens” in the rest of the world. We used the name of God in vain to justify our actions, good or bad. I wonder just what God would think of that. Supposedly, we are all children of God, not just us sitting pretty in the US.The conservatives say that helping others should be in the hands of charitable organizations to which people are free to contribute without being forced. Yeah. If that worked so great, how come these charitable organizations are <>always<> starving for money and volunteer time? It’s because the people with money are not <>choosing<> to contribute to them. The greed is so thick, these rich people are sitting in there dark corners, counting their money, and not letting any of it go to a good cause.I dont have millions. I have a comfortable lifestyle like you. And I contribute where and when I can, even in small amounts, cuz I believe every little bit pays it forward and helps. But I cant do it alone.Let’s go to your plan where every corporation must contribute money to a fund of their chosing or be forced to pay higher taxes that will go to government-funded assistance program.Oops. I think I’m a red-headed commie now! I hope McCarthy is not rolling over in his grave.

  3. Furthermore, liberal does not equal godless atheist. Many liberals are also religious (probably more liberals practicing religion than, especially Christianity, than there are atheist liberals).Communist countries do not allow their people to freely practice their religion. I would hope the US would never get to a state where it would seek to banish religion. On the contrary, liberals seek to remove the trendils of religion from goverment (separation of church and state) in order to avoid a theocracy. We should always uphold to our principle of religious freedom. The US should be a nation where the persecuted can seek refuge without becoming further persecuted in a Christian-dominated society. We would not ever be communist as long as we recognize the diversity of religions that comprise our country and seek not to oppress those who are in the minority (Jewish, Muslim, UU).We just ask, for the most part, that religion and religious judgement be kept out of the government arena.True, your actions in politics is always somewhat determined by your spiritual and religious practices. But you should always ask yourself if the rules you are seeking to put in place are really for the good of the many. For example, abortion. If you do not agree with abortion, then you should do what you can to encourage others to not have one. Talk about the moral issues surrounding this kind of choice with people and get involved in a problem that advocates choosing life. DO NOT enforce a law that makes EVERYONE adhere to your personal choice. Do not close the door on others who do not think like you and demand that they follow the same moral code as you do. You can call it murder, but everyone knows there’s a huge difference between expelling a coupling of cells in your body and outright shooting an alive, able adult.

  4. I think it should be pointed out that both houses of congress are currently Democratic majorities. It is hard to say that Republicans have all the power when they do not have control of both houses. It is congress that makes laws. The president can introduce legislation through a sponsor in congress. However, unless the president’s party controls the majority in congress he/she will have to make compromises to the legislation or it will not pass. The president only has the power to approve or veto legislation. I think this should be considered if you are concerned about either party having too much control. If Obama is elected he will have more power than McCain would. The democrats are expected to maintain control of both houses. Thus, Obama will not have to compromise. That may be what you are hoping for.

  5. I did not watch McCain’s speech last night. Household duties to the house that has decreased in value over the past five years came first (yes, that’s a snarky jab at the current administration and economy). However, I’ve been reading articles on Yahoo! News this morning to find out what I missed. Evidently McCain stated, “I don’t work for a party. I don’t work for a special interest. I don’t work for myself. I work for you.” I find it hard to believe that he does not work for a party, however, when he’s running as a Republican. Even though I lean liberal, I am one of those Independents that Obama and McCain are fighting for. If McCain TRULY believes that he doesn’t work for a party, he should own it – why isn’t he running as an Independent?

  6. We’re struggling here in Seattle, with the economy. I recently had to raise rents on almost all of the apartments in my building, Bus fare just went up, gas is $4+ a gallon, and this morning at the grocery store bread was $6.49 a loaf, and pears $2.49 a pound! Never thought I would, but I’m going to be baking some of our bread myself!

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