Modern Democracy, Politics, and the American Dream
Updated 2:00 PM Monday, September 29, 2008
By Dennis Knicely
Democracy and American Politics have so much effect on our lives that it is in our best interests to be informed.
What is happening? Is this truly a financial meltdown, or simply a "readjustment", putting things in proper perspective? Situations can only go so far, and we hit a "critical mass" point where it has to change. They just kept loaning money that borrowers could not pay back.
To be a democracy it would be ruled by those properly elected. Need I say more?
This article is written as a chronology, yet what happened affects in many ways what is happening or will happen. Just scroll down for present events.
American Democracy starts with the Ancients on this soil, instrumental in passing democratic principles to the newer settlers. Gayanashagowa or the Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois / Haudenosaunee Six Nations is the oral constitution that created the Iroquois Confederacy. The law was developed by a Huron  man known as The Great Peacemaker and his spokesman Hiawatha. Member Nations ratified this constitution near present day Victor, New York.
Gayanashagowa went back hundreds of years before the 1776 Declaration of Independence. For some reason education regarding this Ancient American Democracy with its inspirational effects on the Constitution of the U.S. has mostly been left out of our Education programs, at least until one gets to college or university level. Even then it is mostly a censored "short form" leaving out many vital details.
One of the biggest differences with this Ancient American Democracy related to land ownership. In the Ancient ways, one would have to be born in an area to be eligible for land proprietorship. Land was not "owned" by the individual, as all property was honored as belonging to "Great Spirit" [God]. Families were simply given rights as "caretakers" of the land.
Here are the facts: Lately, the Republican Party is nothing like many "Baby Boomers" were raised with. Democrats have taken over numerous issues mostly abandoned by Republicans, and neither are like the parties many of us were raised with. What’s going on? Life changes, hopefully better, yet not always.
In the 1940's: Most Republicans did not favor a new "Social Security" that Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt's platform called the New Deal, implemented in 1933. It aimed at short-term recovery programs benefiting the poor, reform on the financial systems and recovery of the economy during the Great Depression. These precepts have changed dramatially over the years, yet the basic principle is still used.
In the 1950's: Since the Korean War, a benchmark of President Harry Truman, our 2 major political parties have gone through a huge shake up. While Truman was President people were still recovering from the effects of World War II during the FDR regime.
Things have changed tremendously since a "War hero" Republican Dwight David Eisenhower was a 5 Star General of the United States Army and later chosen 34th President of the United States. He also served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe and was first Supreme Commander of NATO. This was also a man concerned at the end of his tenure; that we not go in the direction of a mega military industrial complex.
Because of strategic diplomatic relations established with Japan after WWII, lots of cheaper Japanese goods hit our markets, many times hurting American manufacturers and causing companies to shut down when they could not compete with prices on imports. Although hurting our manufacturing base, many welcomed the lower prices.
We had a Democracy with two major parties that challenged each other, yet kept either side from getting way out of control. Things started shifting when Republican Richard Nixon went up against Democrat John F. Kennedy, and lost.
In the 1960's: President John F. Kennedy attempted to make critical social and economic changes, many unanswered. He paid the ultimate price for it - his life.
One of the key financial situations confronting JFK was the Federal Reserve, a "Private Corporation" not run or controlled by the U.S. Government, that were releasing "Federal Reserve Notes" to replace "Silver Certificates". Silver Certification meant they were required to back up every dollar loaned out [green backs] with a 20% holding of silver. The new arrangement was loaning out currency with nothing to underwrite it, and they have never been audited by the U.S. Government, even to this day. Guess where most tax money goes, that citizens turn in? To cover our "debt".
NOTE: It is really spooky when one considers that the only two Presidents in U.S. history took an assassin's bullet when attempting to replace "Central Bank Notes" [The Federal Reserve in the 20th. Century] with U.S. Govt. issued Currency Notes. The first was Abraham Lincoln, and the next John F. Kennedy.
The situation became brutal when JFK was killed and Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson, a rich “oil man” from Texas, became President. His administration smelled profit as well as power, and supported a ploy to get us into the Vietnam War using press releases of U.S. submarines being destroyed off the Vietnam coast. Later it was uncovered that this never happened.
In the 1970's: Republican Richard Nixon came after Johnson and maintained a presence in Vietnam until public opinion forced a retreat.
Toyota and Honda, as well as other imported automobiles made a major impact on our domestic auto manufacturers, as imports were often much cheaper or manufactured better.
American companies complained that unions kept prices too high to compete with imports, yet administrators would not back down on their escalating incomes either.
When Democrat Jimmy Carter became President before Reagan, beating Republican President Gerald Ford, many aspects of Government were in turmoil. Ford had inherited the seat from a disgraced President Richard Nixon. Nixon had resigned after impeachment proceedings resulting from the Watergate cover-up.
President Carter was exceptional on many levels, especially Interior issues. When it came to foreign policy platform Carter was especially weak regarding the Nicaragua / El Salvador situations with huge arsenals being supplied to the conflict by the USSR through Cuba. American interests in that region were in jeopardy.
In the 1980's: Up until Ronald Reagan, Republican Presidents had painted themselves as strong on military, yet keeping or getting us out of War. Their position had been a high tariff on foreign imports to protect American manufacturers, while limiting the power of unions as well as supporting free enterprise and giving more profits to administrators.
A strong military platform gave Ronald Reagan great impetus in the 1980 campaign for President that he later won. It was a grave situation that needed addressed, as a huge military build up by the USSR during the 1970's indicated Russians were seriously advancing causes favoring an invasion of America through Cuba and Central America. We desperately needed a deterrent, pushed by Reagan.
Reagan maintained diplomatic relations with Japan, a position that basically allowed Japan to out maneuver us in trade and manufacturing, while building up to having the largest banks in the World. The U.S. went second at that point. This problem started back in the 1950’s and 1960’s when our country began seeing huge amounts of Japanese manufactured goods hit the markets.
U.S. interests supporting a Trillion dollar military build up gave many in this country a superficial economy. Imported goods kept increasing, creating huge deficits. Large amounts of financial dividends were transferred to other Countries, allowing them to start buying huge amounts of American real estate and other Interior interests.
In the 1990's: Both Presidents, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton supported NAFTA and the WTO, basically undermining American manufacturers while allowing a record high trade deficit to start escalating. They said it would help the economy while major Independent contestant Ross Perot was vehemently against this, as well as stopping the severe influence of lobbyists with big bucks for our legislators.
A huge lobbying effort by China, and other countries, as well as improved diplomatic relations, caused enormous amounts of imported items to drastically change buying habits in the U.S.A. They were often a fraction of the price paid for American manufactured goods, and systematically caused even greater numbers of American jobs to be lost.
Making tremendous profits for the importers of foreign goods, U.S. manufacturers were not protected with higher tariffs on imports. Numerous politicians were financially rewarded for allowing this. Our American manufacturing base was fractionated, and this situation keeps getting worse.
Democrats, on the other hand, traditionally supported a strong union, rights for laborers, equal rights for the common man, government spending for social programs funding education, infrastructure, and other issues affecting the Interior. These positions have benefited the financially challenged middle class.
The Democratic principles of protecting and supporting our own was greatly compromised under President Bill Clinton, yet a rising tech business helped shelter the losses of other American jobs. Under Clinton, a very diplomatic President, the Federal Budget was balanced for the first time in Modern History. However, an unchecked increase of imported goods from China undermined our manufacuring base, causing many more important positions to be lost to foreign interests.
The influx of high tech industries and media saw one of the biggest shifts in where money was spent ever seen.
In the 21st. Century: Although supported by many in both major political parties, profiteering by highly paid administrators and huge corporations have now greatly fractionated our traditional base of American manufacturers. Outsourcing caused a huge majority of goods to be imported, with American factories closing down all over, to facilitate larger profits for the "chosen few".
Inflation is out of control, and prices are escalating much higher than most people can afford, causing financial defaults like have never been seen in Modern American History. Huge banks and other financial institutions are coming "unglued" as people run out of money from escalated fuel costs, causing prices of everything to go up, with less money to pay for anything.
As a result, a "broken Government" is required to step in and borrow huge sums more from the "Fed", notes that are basically "worthless" unless someone accepts them.
Properties have been priced way beyond actual values for too long, and what was a "speculators market", buying and selling real estate for profit instead of personal residence, are now caught owing on deeds that will never return their investment. This will be a hard situation for many spoiled by greed.
Technology Age has replaced the Golden Age as the preferred new way of the masses.
There has been a War involving the majority of Presidents in the 20th. Century, and since 2001 BOTH parties are entrenched in this heinous activity, voting to put troops in harm’s way. For some reason this practice seems to boost the economy in superficial ways, while suppressing the needed goals of an ecologically sustainable lifestyle.
It seems nowadays, most Americans are glued to their TV’s, have a newspaper in front of them, or are online getting all the latest truth or gossip, depending on which site, station, or journal they believe. The mass majority of folks could not even tell you what positions a “candidate of choice” even support. Many more are simply withdrawn, thinking their vote is insignificant.
It must be difficult for editors of top news networks, as it might mean millions of dollars difference if companies purchasing advertisements have their “toes stepped on”.
This is being written the last half of 2008. How many people do you think are really up on issues? It’s hard to say, since so many depend on their favorite talk show or commentator for their position.
It would be nice to think all media hosts and politicians are honest, yet when looking close it is common practice to “flip flop”, depending on how many votes your side can garner, or even worse, how much PAC money one can get.
It’s hard to tell where many politicians and media really stand, as common practice means they pander on issues more than they value deep convictions. Pandering means they sell positions, advertising space, or “band width” to the highest bidder, achieving their desire – lining each other’s pocket books with money.
This is a problem in both major parities, and with few exceptions minority parties are under-funded or not popular enough to be elected. It is common practice to “black ball underdogs” by media and high-powered politicians, simply because of money.
Reforming the political base would mean Government funding of election campaigns, not allowing politicians to accept or utilize PAC money, as well as greatly limiting the amount of campaign contributions a candidate can accept. This will be difficult to accomplish, as most Congressmen, Senators and Administrators are deeply entrenched in status quo – more of the same.
It is time for a new political party to step forward, replacing the corruption of the past with a fresh approach to American Democracy. The Progressive Platform, the "modern" form introduced by Theodore Roosevelt in the early 20th. Century, is a good model to start from.
Dennis Kucinich and other intelligent individuals have helped anchor this shift in the 21st. Century. Kucinich remains in the Democratic Party to keep his seat in Congress, where he introduces needed legislation, like calling for the Impeachment of George W. Bush / Dick Cheney as well as creating a new branch of Government called the "Department of Peace.
Right now Democrat Barack Obama is the first President elect with recent African American ancestry. He claims to be the “campaign for change”.
To overcome his “lack of experience” as many Republicans have professed, he chose a decades-long DC insider named Joe Biden for his Vice President. This makes many wonder how much change is possible with so many “Status Quo” Democrats surrounding him.
Obama’s recent voting indicates he might change his position on issues, depending on concessions made. This can be interpreted in vague terms but Obama is, by Democratic principles, the elected representative for President by the Democratic Party.
Republican John McCain, another DC insider for decades, calls
McCains's VP candidate Sarah Palin is a total new comer, with virtually no viable political experience outside the State of Alaska. Many in the Republican Party would prefer another candidate for Vice President.
Other major parties compete for votes, yet are sometimes referred to as "spoilers" by the "big boys". Many go for those parties when they feel neither Democrat nor Republican adequately represent their ideals.
I will be refining this article in coming days, so check back.
A day must come when most Americans will be so concerned about how this country is run that they take their voting privilege seriously, get informed, and start making safe guards to protect U.S. Constitution rights as intended.
-Editor at RootsofDemocracy.com