Saturday, February 06, 2010

Democracy: Slip, Sliding Away (part 1)

"We, the people..." those are the first 3 words of our constitution which underline the principle that we are a democracy...

Unfortunately for We, the people that democracy that we so value--the principles, rights and freedoms that we enjoy--has been eroding from under us.

The government that we put in place via our votes (we are a Republic) to protect our country, our rights, our democracy has been privatizing their responsibility to do so. The moral and legal mission of the government has been outsourced. These private corporations are paid for by public dollars, yet are not responsive to the needs of public, nor accountable to the public (or even our Constitution. Governmental functions have been transferred to private corporations, via deregulation or privatization--from military and intelligence functions ( Blackwater, now known as Xe Services is the largest State Department private security contractor, they are also under contract to the CIA) to allowing pharmaceutical companies to verify the safety of their drugs (think: Vioxx, for instance).

While some private-public partnerships are budgetary and mission positive. For instance, many federal and local parks have "friends of.." or not-for- profit organizations to help maintain the park, provide programming, etc. The Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill (ERVK) is a partner with the National Parks Service in Hyde Park, in fact without ERVK's work, Val-Kill would have been sold to a developer for senior housing.

We need to remember that the primary function of our government is to uphold the Constitution--protecting and empowering the public; the primary function of corporations is to maximize their profits. Protection of the public and our rights are subordinated to profits.

Now with the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v FEC, corporations (for profit and not for profit) are going to be able to hold (more) $way over our election$ and our elected official$ because there will be no limit on the amount of money corporation$ may directly $pend to $ell their brand /candidate. [Our elected officials have long relied on the expertise of lobbyists to navigate specialized bills.] $o much for free elections.

We still have a Faith Based Initiative that still channels public monies to religious organizations to carry out programming and "to ensur[ing] that these groups are a part of the government's disaster response efforts. So much for separation of Church and State.

"We, the people" need to be paying attention and demanding our government be responsive, responsible and Democratic.

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