This is How a Republic Falls
Tue Nov 06, 2007 at 06:29:39 PM PST
This Is How A Republic Falls
November 6, 2007
I sat on the steps of the Supreme Court on a hot, humid day in Washington D.C. this past summer, staring in disbelief at the protest developing around me. The most putrid character participating had to be the tax-exempt televangelist who had arrived in a new-model Mercedes blasting the godless liberals who "have brought ruin to our great country, murdering our babies, inviting God’s terrible judgement." I took a look at the hate-filled faces of the people gathering in anger and volume, and I thought: This is how a Republic falls.
Americans like to think of Washington D.C. as a city that does not represent the "heartland" of America, but in reality it exemplifies exactly what America is, and what it has become. Washington is a city whose geography invites corruption: the eastern boroughs are filled with office buildings that are hard to see from the main roads making it the ideal place for business of a sordid nature to be conducted. Congressmen gather with the lobbyists of defence firms, oil companies, investment banking operations, and media organizations to discuss exactly in what orifice these Congressmen will be willing to take the shaft in exchange for campaign dollars. In return, these cartels have extorted billions more dollars of taxpayer funds from the public coffers, or have killed the progress of legislation meant to reform a system that has long ago surpassed the corrupt and has now entered the obscene. This is how a Republic falls.
As Matt Taibbi recently wrote, "the United States is a massive militarized oligarchy patrolling half the world on borrowed money. Most of the country is dead broke but voting for candidates who campaign on keeping those uppity women in the kitchen, gays in the closet, and Arabs in Guantanamo. Once elected, these people serve their real masters by voting to massively subsidize an American war machine that long ago bought and paid for the federal political system, promising to continue massive tax loopholes that let millions of financial industry types avoid paying any taxes at all, and working to spread disinformation to kill the development of any alternatives to the multi-trillion dollar oil industry. For any candidate to get elected into any federal office, he has to swear by these machines or risk himself be targeted by these forces. Mounting any campaign for a Congressional or Senatorial district requires millions of dollars that can only be raised by cozying up to the aforementioned industries, or risk being destroyed by million dollar ad campaigns."
This is how a Republic falls.
The numbers are staggering: $800 billion a year for the defence budget, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. $9 trillion dollars in debt, mostly to foreign investors. Personal consumers, normal individuals, corporations and families, borrowing almost $1 trillion a year to buy consumer goods that they desperately need to keep up an appearance of affluence. A population that tells pollsters that illegal immigration is their most important concern, yet an open border with Mexico remains, for an open border is needed by the Captains of Industry to recruit cheap labour and keep wages down. This is how a Republic falls
All of these problems can be fixed, for they are problems of legislation and habit, and these can be surmounted by a population that is determined for reform. That will not happen, because the corruption is in the bone marrow now, spreading to the vital organs even if it remains undetected on the surface by a country that remembers brighter days that they once experienced. Days when they were strong, and proud, and honourable, and free. The days before an entire generation of sociopaths rose to seize control over the levers of power in the most important country that the world has ever known.
This tragedy has to come to a climax, eventually. It may begin with international investors demanding higher interest on the massive loans currently keeping the United States afloat triggering a run on the banks and a collapse of the dollar. Two things will then happen: either the people will turn to genuine reformers who pledge the hard but necessary work to rebuild the country into what it was always meant to be, or a clever political leader will manipulate the fears of the people, manipulate their anger at what has transpired, and turn what was a beautiful Republic into a despotic Empire, with terrible consequences for the entire world. These are the days that we are living in, this is the fate of the Rome of our time. This is how a Republic falls.
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The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.