By Luke Hiken
We have no progressive movement in this country, and therefore, we have no viable vehicle for expressing and carrying out the will of the people. As a result, the only spokespeople on the vital issues of the day range from the far right to the right of center.
Here are some examples:
1) When General Betray-Us, or ex-Secretary of International Mayhem, Robert Gates, say that we must stay in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bahrain, Yemen, or wherever else our empire happens to be on the move, there is no viable alternative party to oppose their illegal ideology. While some politicos feel protected enough in their electoral districts to call for an end to these senseless wars, there is no mass movement they can call on to picket, boycott, march or even sign meaningless petitions demanding an end to these slaughters. Their voices and their votes are token opposition to the military-industrial juggernaut. In spite of the fact that over 75% of the American people want to bring our troops home, there is no political party or movement to speak out in opposition to the military-dominated Obama administration.
2) When the Supreme Court of the United States orders California to release 45,000 non-violent inmates from our over-crowded torturous state prison system, both the Democrats and the Republicans nod in approval when the California Department of Confinement and Rigor-mortis responds with the absurd statement that such a release will cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. How is such hypocrisy possible? Because the CDC interprets the court decision to mean that the inmates should be sent to county jails instead of released. Who are they to issue such a twisted and distorted interpretation of how to lower the prison population? Where is the party or credible group that should come forward and say: Release means Release! We could immediately, safely and easily, release thousands of non-violent prisoners who could be returned to society into viable programs so that they have some possibility of becoming productive members of the community. Instead, the only voice to be heard is that of the self-serving prison administration and prison guards union. Our police-state government is dependent on repression to finance a faltering economy, and no one speaks in the name of decency and social responsibility. Incarceration and torture are our creative answers to poverty and lack of education.
3) The majority of Americans want single payer, affordable health care. Where is the movement or party to be found that can insist on viable health care as a prerequisite to supporting a candidate for election? Nowhere! Instead, we hear the voices of the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical companies and the professional medical associations. There is no organized institutional response to the theft of our health care.
4) Oil companies, insurance companies, banks, mortgage companies, Wall Street brokers all are completely unregulated in spite of the atrocities they are perpetrating against the American people. Yet both the Democrats and Republicans bail these gangsters out, support their continued abuses, and depend upon them for financial support in the up-coming elections. The suggestion that the greedy, vicious oligarchs who run these industries should be held accountable and prosecuted for their crimes against the American people is not to be found in any serious public forum.
5) This country now has the greatest discrepancy in wealth between the super-rich and the poor than almost any nation on earth. Yet there is no visible movement anywhere that demands a redistribution of the wealth from the rich to the poor. Instead, we hear fantasies about there not being enough money to go around, and “we” should all tighten our belts so that the rich can obtain more.
6) The disproportionate impact that the neo-conservative anti-Cuban and pro-Israeli lobbyists have in Washington, D.C., is contemptible. While Americans suffer from our faltering economy, and experience growing contempt for U.S. policies everywhere in the world, the oligarchy continues to pander to these right-wing fanatics as if there is no opposition to their suicidal policies.
The answer to these questions flow from an obvious truth. We have been McCarthy’ed out of existence. The anti-communist, anti-socialist rhetoric of the 50s has come home to roost. Only the rich have rights. Those who talk about leveling the playing field are, dare I say it, SOCIALISTS. Enough said! In earlier societies, that characterization is like calling someone a witch or some equally sinister force. Socialism is now seen by the majority of the American people as Stalinism; it is equated with Maoist intransigence; Cuban and Vietnamese “aggression,” etc. The concept of a democratic government that redistributes wealth and resources for the good of the majority of the people is inconceivable in a country that applauds the obscene wealth of the Kochs, the DeVos family, the Waltons and the like. Democracy has not only lost its foothold in this country, it is 6 feet under.
We must build a movement or party that is democratic, inter-racial, non-hierarchical, and based upon equal rights and access to the body politic. There must be a process for feedback and criticism, one that ensures gender equality, and one that incorporates the needs of the many over the demands of the few. The elderly and the young must be included in the decision-making process.
The capitalist invention of a greedy, grasping vulture that preys on the weak must be addressed and opposed. Our society can no longer afford a “survival of the fittest” mentality, but rather one that is inclusive, self-sustaining, educational and nurturing. Until and unless the American people take the yoke of McCarthyism off of their shoulders, the U.S. will continue to be a one-party oligarchy, beholden to a handful of corporate billionaires - vampires responsive solely to their own needs.
The media, the religious right and both political parties are owned outright by corporate oligarchs. The repressive apparatus of the police and prison system are at their disposal. While there is a slim possibility that a homegrown resistance can grow in this country, it is more likely that the pressure for change will come from the victims of U.S. imperialism throughout the world. At that time, let us hope that true American patriots will see where their self-interest lies. Let the Kochs, the Waltons, the Rockefellers and their ilk fight for themselves; don’t protect them as if they care a damn about this country.
Luke Hiken is an attorney who has engaged in the practice of criminal, military, immigration, and appellate law.
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