I just got one of those “Surveys” from the Democratic National Party, asking my opinion about the Republican Party and Obama’s record. It also asked me to prioritize my top issues. The issue it did not include is the undermining of and attack on democracy itself in our country.
These attacks come in many forms. While the Republican party and corporate America has led these attacks, the Democrats and Obama have been complicit in most of them as well.
The influence of money on elections and the ludicrous protection of Corporations as “people” are a couple of the most blatant. The attack on public institutions in general is another.
There are the attacks on the public aspects of public schooling—topics I have written much about— such as NCLB and Common Core undermining the democratic running of our schools. The charter school movement (charter schools select their own boards of governance) and vouchers, and the privatization of public schooling in a myriad of other ways is another way public schools are being undermined as public democratic institutions.
The U.S. Postal Service is another public institution being undermined. The supposed fact of the post office losing money is a complete hoax. If the post office was allowed to use the accounting methods of its competitors it would be in the black, but they are required by Congress to use accounting methods that make it appear to be losing money. The purpose—to reduce the services of the post office, slowly eroding it—as well as to undermine the union—an issue I will discuss more in a bit.
Part of the attack on the public sector is that corporations and the Republicans truly want to replace democracy with a complete “free” market economy (free meaning those with the most money and power are free to do what they want, with no one to rein them in). To do this they are undermining the main organized force against them—unions. And the only really large unionized force left is in the public sector. By undermining this force in both public opinion and in law, they leave themselves with almost no large force to oppose them. Teachers are demonized. Public employees are blamed for being greedy and ruining the economy—such a blatant falsehood, yet when repeated often enough it gets believed. As anyone who remembers our latest, and virtually all, of our economic collapses, they came directly from corporate greed and the lack of corporate and banking oversight.
One way the unions are undermined is through privatization. By privatizing public schooling or many of their services\, the teachers union is demolished. (Very few charter school teachers are in unions—and even less in private schools.) Destroying the Post Office as another major source of unionized employees goes along with this.
Where they cannot destroy public employee unions outright, they take away their bargaining power, as was done in Wisconsin and Ohio.
Then there are the attacks on voter rights, making it more difficult for students and minorities and the poor to vote. The claim is a voter fraud that there is no evidence exists. We have one of the lowest voter turnouts of any democratic nation, and the strategy is to make it even harder to vote? (Where voter fraud is most likely is in vote by mail—which the voting suppression laws do not affect—and is a population that in general is more conservative).
This is not even to mention the attacks on our civil liberties—spying by the government, changing rules on search and seizure, and on advising us of our rights being just a few of them.
The struggle for democracy is ongoing and we can never rest on the victories of past generations. We either exercise what power we do have, or lose it.
Whatever it is you do, and wherever you are, you need to join organizations that are countering these trends and to let your representatives know how you feel!