The Citizens United decision has catapulted America in a direction that, if left unchecked, will inevitably result in a post-modern brand of feudalism. The worst part is that Americans are actively participating in their own disenfranchisement. When we fall for the billionaires' tactics that skewed Tuesday night's elections, we opt for an America with no collective bargaining rights. With no unions, not only will workers lose their rights and options on a drastic scale, but Democrats will have no money to compete in elections. With no Democratic money to balance out the competition, we could eventually get an all-Republican government from the local to the national levels -- which means a couple of billionaires choosing our country's direction as suits them.
Imagine the current Republican agenda running uncurtailed: no choice, intrusion on women's bodies, more unequal pay and violence against women, no health care for the non-rich, no benefits, low pay, more unemployment, no social programs for those who need it, old people fending for themselves, a decimated environment, unchecked health hazards, no free speech, unregulated corporate criminals, uneducated masses, an even more unjust justice system than we already have, and the working and middle classes subsidizing the rich. But plenty of bread and circuses, in the form of fast food and the Kardashians, to intoxicate the populace into forgetting we are losing -- no, giving away -- our democracy. An Orwellian world.
Heartened by Scott Walker's victory, other Republican governors -- not to mention Mitt Romney and the Republican House of Representatives -- will feel they have been given a mandate to squeeze unions to nothing.
And why shouldn't they feel that way? With the 2010 Citizens United decision allowing corporations "personhood," which affords them the same freedom of speech as you or me and, furthermore, protects unlimited anonymous donations to Super PACs as "speech," the conservative-majority Supreme Court handed our democracy to the highest bidder, as exemplified in Mitt Romney's primary campaign raising enough money to "carpet bomb" opponents with expensive negative ads, and in Walker's victory in Wisconsin on Tuesday. Republican Governor Walker won with $30.5 million in donations, two thirds of which came from big, out-of-state donors. Compare that with his opponent, Democrat Tom Barrett's $3.9 million dollars, of which only a quarter came from out of the state.
Lest you think the conservative Justices who effected Citizens United did not have a Republican government takeover in mind and were just deliberating impartially, consider that Justices Scalia and Thomas have been known to attend "strategy coordination meetings" in luxurious locales with the very billionaires who back Walker and Romney and bankroll the Tea Party movement. The overtly stated goal of these meetings is to "advance our shared principles" of prosperity -- for the prosperous, that is, rather than for "the State" (read: the rest of us poor schlubs). These self-proclaimed "doers" masterminded the 2010 "shellacking" that gave us a Tea-Party-controlled House, as well as a vast swath of states controlled by right-wing governors and state legislatures.
And as they themselves say, this is just the beginning. We artsy-fartsy, tree-hugging, science-loving, kumbaya lefties and centrist rationalists need to start having a few strategy coordination meetings of our own. World-renowned evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson states in his book The Social Conquest of Earth, "Individual selection tends to favor selfish behavior. Group selection favors altruistic behavior and is responsible for the origin of the most advanced level of social behavior, that attained by ants, bees, termites -- and humans." In other words, selfish individuals do best, but altruistic societies do best. We must use our creativity, our reason, and our very "99-percentness" to prevent our society from becoming a feudal one in which we all serve a few billionaire masters who use money and what John Kenneth Galbraith called "superior moral justification for selfishness" (i.e., a cynical use of religious and ideological "freedom" terminology) to garner the support of people who will vote against their own interests -- which, believe it or not, are best served when we support our collective interests. If our unions are to crumble and billionaires have unlimited freedom to buy our elections, we must devise new systems that enable our society to evolve for the common good.
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