Water Man Spouts

Friday, January 18, 2008

Feuds & derailed democracy

{1} feudal system: A medieval European political and economic system based on the holding of lands on condition of homage or military service and labour. Feudalism probably originated in the Frankish kingdom in the 8th century and spread into northern Italy, Spain, and Germany. It was introduced by the Normans into England, Ireland, Scotland, southern Italy, and Sicily. The nobility held lands from the crown and provided troops for the king in times of war. The knight was the tenant of the noble and a class of unfree peasants (villein) lived on the land under the jurisdiction of their lord (manoral system). Bishops and abbots were invested by secular lords with their livings in return for services and the church received produce and labour from the peasantry. It became a varied and complex system: lords built up their own military forces and power to the point where they became semi-independent of the king; from the 12th century payments (scutage) could be substituted for military duties. The system broke down in the 12th and 13th centuries as towns (commune) and individuals achieved independence from their lords, though serfdom survived in some countries for much longer. – Oxford Desk Encyclopedia of World History; 2006; page 218

When I think of President Ronald Reagan, I think of a petty, cruel and vain man who fronted for forces that re-instituted a modern form of feudalism in the United States. Some compared Reagan’s policies to those of the English crown that Americans fought to overthrow in the Revolutionary War. I think the Reaganites were more along the model of the landed aristocracy that held hundreds of thousands of people in semi-feudalism 50 years after the Revolution, which led to the Anti-Rent War. Of course, they don’t teach that one in schools today.

All of the Reagan policies, from the international to domestic level, were based upon a ruling class that could violate any law and crush any people that got in their way. A series of crimes known as the "Iran-Contra scandal" posed a more serious threat to the US Constitution than those known as "Watergate." More, in the Iran-Contra scandals, the congress failed to take the steps necessary to uphold their oath of office: both President Reagan and VP Bush should have been impeached.

The damage done to our Constitutional democracy is beyond debate. Let’s take a brief look at four areas that should be of interest to every citizen who believes in the concepts expressed in the Declaration of Independence, and the US Constitution, including the Bill of Rights.

In a healthy democracy, the legislative branch of the federal government would function properly. A book that indicates how dysfunctional congress is, is "The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America and How to Get it Back on Track," by Thomas Mann & Norman Ornstein. They trace the dysfunction back to the 1990s; actually, when the congress fails to do its duty, it betrays our democracy. Just as congress is failing us today by refusing to impeach Bush2 and/or Cheney, the congress failed this nation by giving Reagan and Bush1 a free pass.

The judiciary has been compromised. If you doubt it, read Vincent Bugliosi’s "The Betrayal of America: How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President."

What has the failure of the congress and the courts allowed to happen? Read "American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush," by Kevin Phillips. In a true democracy, there are not "ruling families" that consider the presidency their private property. (And, while you are at it, read Phillip’s "American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century.")

The 2008 elections should be about who can rekindle the democratic spirit in this country. All of the republican candidates are part of the sick system. None of the democratic candidates are perfect, or any where near it. The question is: which one has the most potential to begin to make the changes needed to move us back in the direction of democracy?


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