Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Hooray For Montana!

The U.S Supreme Court decided in 2010 that corporations were people (never mind that you can't put one in jail for breaking the law) and that money was free speech in an abomination to the foundation of our country that the power of government is derived from the people. However the Supreme Court of the state of Montana says, Wait a minute here! Not in our neck of the woods! Good for them! Also, Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont has introduced a petition for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution aptly named the Saving American Democracy Amendment to nullify the Citizens United ruling. If you haven't already, please go sign it! Again that's the:

Saving American Democracy Amendment

I don't typically get much into the political debates these days because it seems that more and more anytime anyone takes one position or another on any particular issue you are automatically branded a this or a that and buried under a mountain of labels that may or may not apply and usually hurled a pile of personal insults or attacks. Robert Crandall, the retired chairman and CEO of American Airlines, a company I have worked for the past 22 years, said in a piece on his blog Bob Crandall Thinks entitled "Morons Or Something Better" that he remembers a time when things were different in America and although I am much younger than he, I too remember a different time. In his words:

"I remember political arguments too – Dewey and Truman, Kennedy and Nixon, Reagan and Carter, and other memorable contests. There were always conflicting opinions within the family and among friends, and there were lots of heated arguments – but politics was something widely and often discussed. Almost everyone read the newspapers, it wasn’t considered rude to bring up politics at a dinner party and everyone was expected to have an opinion – and some facts to support it. And though everyone felt strongly, most people wanted to be – and were -- polite. "

Therein lies the key, people used to be able to politely discuss their points of view with one another and believe me, I, like anyone else is, am much more likely to listen to an opposing view, and maybe even be persuaded to accept it, if it is presented politely and with strong arguments that are irrefutable. But as soon as someone starts in with personal attacks, name calling, etc. I, like most other people, immediately shut down and don't really care to hear any more that the person has to say because they have already insulted me, my intelligence and or my value as a human being. If you really feel strongly about an issue and you would like more of your fellow citizens to go to the polls and vote in favor of your particular viewpoint you would stand a much better chance of doing so if you can convince them of why your point of view is better for them and the nation as a whole than you will by insulting them.

Now granted, I personally believe that, unfortunately, ever since the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001 a great many pieces of legislation and policies were put into place that have undermined our constitution and democracy.  I, like many Americans, have to wonder if our votes even mean anything anymore when it seems that no matter who we put in office the agenda seems to be the same because someone else seems to be calling the shots. As some have pointed out, we have moved further from democracy (or Constitutional Republic if you prefer) and towards Fascism (No, not Nazism before that even starts). A system of government in which the powers of giant corporations and the powers of state combine to exploit the economic classes of people for the benefit of those in power. I do believe this decision in Montana and the Amendment proposed by Bernie Sanders is a step in the right direction though. Unfortunately, I am not sure if enough of the public can tear themselves away from their favorite T.V. programming and other distractions long enough to make a difference. Even among those who are paying attention and do realize there is something wrong that needs to be fixed, they are too focused on insulting one another to get together on those items they agree on to make a difference. The old, divide and conquer still works as effectively today as it did in the old Roman Empire.

I think the personal attacks and insults form of "political debate" probably started with talk radio in the 1990s. Sensationalism sells after all. But what are we buying?


Alternet Article On Montana Supreme Court Ruling

The Raw Story article on Montana Court Decision

There are other news sources out there. I know those who are very partisan in their politics only accept news from "approved sources". Go see if your news source of choice also has an article. I know main stream media is, these days, pretty much owned and operated by a small handful of people so I take most news with a huge grain of salt and try to find sources from many points of view to try to deduce some kernel of truth hidden in the rhetoric. It's about all we are left with really until more people decide to demand better.

Saving American Democracy Amendment 

Morons Or Somethings Better by Bob Crandall

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to my friend Layne B. for this comment via Facebook:

    Good read, I too, remember when people could be passionate about their views while still being civil and polite. In my opinion, some of the rudeness and lack of manners comes from the age of the internet. One can be as rude as they want and slander anyone with almost complete anonymity. When people get away from face to face conversations, manners seem to go by the wayside.