In Brief— According to new research, American democracy has been replaced by an oligarchy of the wealthy and there’s very little that can be done about it except a public push for concessions.
Oligarchy is defined as a government run by only a few, often the wealthy or a state ruled by such a government.
Democracy is defined as a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting, or an organization in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights.
American Democracy is Dead—
With the definitions above—accurately stated, by the way—which do you think best defines the United States? Well, there’s some good news and some bad news. The good news—for the oligarchs—is that according to new research the oligarchs are now in charge. The bad news for the rest of the citizenry is that the democracy you thought you had is deader than the proverbial doornail.
Those few of us who have paid attention to the accumulating evidence have seen it coming. In fact, although I have been accused of being a pessimist (which I call ”reality”), a Casandra (look it up if you’re not sure) and anti-American by pointing out the national problems that exist, it is now official: America is an oligarchy, not a democracy.
It was a great experiment while it lasted, but Benjamin Franklin was right when he cautioned an inquiring citizen that it was fragile and would depend on the citizenry for protection. In my lawyerly inclination toward caution, I have urged blog readers to vote while privately telling friends that voting alone does not mean America is democratic. It’s simply a way to make one’s voice heard. From time to time, my honesty has led me to refer in this blog to America’s fading democracy.
The Research Confirmation—
All that said, the latest research from Princeton University reports that America’s fragile democracy has succumbed to the Big Money of the wealthy oligarchs. Though the Supreme Court conservatives’ decisions in the Citizens United and McCutcheon cases was a thumb on the scale in favor of the wealthy oligarchs, the power of the oligarchs has been building since the Reagan era. To read the research findings, click on the link below to read the official acknowledgement of democracy’s demise in America.
Alternatives to Surrender—
So what can be done about this disastrous turn of events? The choices are few. Reality says that the vote will be largely ignored, but I still maintain that it’s worth the effort. Alternatives are to petition, to take to the streets in peaceful protest or to resort to violent forms of protest like arson, kidnapping and murder. Aside from the fact that the latter are criminal and severely punishable as such, the police and even the military will quite certainly put down such actions with vastly superior fire-power.
In the end, the citizenry will have to rely on the good will of the oligarchs who have their own selfish interests uppermost in mind. It is wise to remember that corporations have no morality and are in existence solely to make a profit. That may be the oligarch’s point of vulnerabilty: if profits are threatened, the oligarchs will give only as much as will still assure the profitability of their portfolios and Wall Street.
Other than that, I believe that, like it or not, the American experiment in democracy is dead and the people will have to take what they can get. After all, besides the vote, you have a surfeit of entertainment: your toys, your Smart Phones and computers, the latest films and TV, your mortgaged homes (if you haven’t lost your home) and all the gadgets that are the envy of the world. You have free speech…if you don’t mind being ignored or confined to a caged ”free speech zone” away from where your speech would be heard. Freedom of the press if you don’t mind whistleblowers being prosecuted and the mainstream media being owned by corporate oligarchs. Freedom of religion if you don’t mind having the religion of others forced on you. Inequality if you don’t mind the widening gap between haves and have-nots.
Who needs democracy, right?