Melissa Etheridge, speaking from California on Saturday, January 5th was asked what she thought of Dennis Kucinich being shut out of the ABC News/Facebook Democratic Debate this evening in New Hampshire, just days away from the primary election.
In a voice that rang clear as a bell she enunciated a list of her concerns about what is happening to this country's democracy. What struck this interviewer the most about her comments was how impassioned she was about how corporate control has shut out sincere political discourse. As she said, "The consequences of this action is we see infomercials rather than a debate. The system is infected and pressing down on those who are progressives. Look what they did in Iowa," she said when I asked her about Dennis Kucinich in New Hampshire.
"I have been reading definitions of fascism and the ways in which the corporations are excluding those who threaten their industries--health care, war machines--is a good definition of how fascism works.They don't want to let anyone who will jeopardize their interests gain any visibility. This is an important election, they will be manipulating us for their own ends. They have been at it for the last 8 years with the Bush administration." And then she added, "It was the Clinton administration that first opened the door to these corporate interests."
When asked why she thought everyone was asleep when it came to these issues, she provided another long analysis of how television has altered our sense of what is real and what is actual. She said, "If I hear one more person say that Dennis has good ideas but he is unelectable or that this country is not ready to elect a black man or a woman, I will scream. The sad part about these statements coming out of our television set is that people believe them. I don't want my country's future to depend on the comments about Dennis' height."
"As a cancer survivor, as an out lesbian, I am a firm believer in intentional survival. We can change the world and make things better."
But then her thoughts turned to the consequences of living in California where the feeling is live and let live. "We have a blue state with a Republican governor. We don't feel the same things you do out east. Our biggest fear is that by the time we get to vote, all the decisions will have been made for us."
That ended our talk and was truly her biggest fear: If the corporations are allowed to say who can and who cannot speak to us, then they are saying what kind of democracy we can or cannot have.