I have a number of friends, intelligent all, who are quite dumb about democracy. They think separation of church and state extends to the voting booth. That folks who want their religious values incorporated into public policy are wrong and that such advocacy/implementation undermines the nation. Arguably, certain religious values do undercut individual rights (freedom) but, hey, majority rules, yes?
If the brain dead, say, of Tennessee want “creationism” taught in the public schools and elect a majority of state representatives of that persuasion (Republicans) to achieve that objective and actually do so, how is that not “pure” democracy in action? Salute it.
Actually, Tennessee is, perhaps, the perfect example that evolution is not a hoax. One might think that a state with a motto of “America at Its Best” would have moved on from the embarrassing carnival of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial. Evidence is being offered that certain families of monkeys in Central Africa have evolved more in the past 87 years since the Trial, than today’s typical state legislator of Tennessee. Good news for monkeys, a bit less so for their cousins in the Tennessee legislature.
I argue—and defy anyone to offer a more eloquent defense—that the ignorant and the stupid have just as much right to elect their candidates to office as anyone else. My learned friends think that when the uninformed vote in large numbers, America inevitably ends up at war, oh, in Iraq or cutting preventative healthcare for women.
The fish I wish to fry in this column do have something in common with an ignorant or uninformed electorate—God must surely love’um all because He made so many of us. NO, I pose the following concern to every thinking American concerned with the course of our democracy. In the presidential election of 2000 it became crystal clear that not every vote was equal – the candidate with the most votes did not take office. One man does not equal one vote. Some votes in America are worth more than other votes.
And that undeniable fact is best illustrated by asking yourself the following question: Are “ALL” voters equal? When walking into the voting booth do two typical voters have the same “opportunity” to influence the course of our democracy? We want to believe as much, yes? Think again.
Folks, we need to understand something. America, from its inception, skewed the game in favor of “certain” interests. I get that. I understand the philosophical and historical underpinnings of our democracy. But what has happened with the 2010 Supreme Court “Citizens United” decision is that the individual with a million bucks (or $50 million) to invest in buying his legislator (to secure his agenda) has more influence—undeniably—than the average Joe Schmoe voter.
Oh, you say, that has always been the case. I do not disagree. All voters are not equal. Does it then follow that the über-rich should receive, carte blanche, our approval as they purchase our government? “Citizens United” has unequivocally illuminated, for all to clearly see, who owns America —part the curtains— (we are in their back pocket, right next to their wallet). No more facades, no more talk of equality within the voting booth. It is unnecessary. The emperor has no clothes. America is being bought, lock, stock and barrel.
The redcoats are coming! The redcoats are coming!
Danger, Will Robinson! Indeed.
What are we going to do about it? Will the real majority ever speak up? Have you?
Jepson is a 24-year resident of Florida. He’s fiscally conservative, socially liberal, likes art and embraces diversity of opinion. Reach him at Jepson@MEDIAmerica.US