James Clay Fuller

Things We're Not Supposed to Say

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Another day that will live in infamy

“...and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
-- Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 19, 1863; “The Gettysburg Address.”

It's a good idea, I think, to take out a sizable piece of white paper and write on it in bold, black lettering this date: January 21, 2010. Then, with or without frame, hang it somewhere in your home where you will see it daily.

If you're clever with computers, perhaps you can get yourself a presentable printout to frame. You might want to add a simple elucidation. The piece of printer paper I've pinned temporarily to the wall in my office carries, under the date, the words “Roberts court kills U.S. democracy.”

I was angry and hurried when I did that. The date may be sufficient. The truth is that the court merely injected the final, fatal dose of poison into the veins of a representative democracy that already was critically sick. It will be a lingering death, probably with occasional spurts of what look like potential returns to health.

January 21, 2010.

It is a date as important as any we were required to memorize as school children. It is far more significant than the ubiquitous 9/11. The latter is a political expedient, a rallying cry for demagogues who lead their thoughtless followers by means of fear and lies. January 21, 2010 is a day on which, truly, this country changed drastically for the worse, and probably for the remainder of its existence.

That is not exaggeration, not hyperbole, as I trust Americans are beginning to realize.

Some people, supporters of the power of wealth and the tweedy sort of (figuratively) pipe sucking academics who want always to appear serene and ever so objective, dismiss the importance of the court decision on the grounds that corporations already have so much power a little more won't make much difference.

One answer to that is that, yes, corporations – that is, the highest level of corporate executives – have too much political power. We need to take away some of that power. If members of a gang carrying knives confront us on the street and demand everything we have, we don't immediately go to our government and plead with it to provide the gangsters with guns because they are inadequately armed.

Another answer is that the decision by the Corporate Five on the court is, without question, a signal to those whom they serve that even the thin gloves they wear now can come off. Whatever the corporate leaders choose to do to win and hold decisive power over our government, presumably short of open physical intimidation, this court will support. If representative democracy is to function in this country, we cannot allow that.

If, as I now hope, there is a rebellion – I do hope for a bloodless rebellion – in this country, that date will be the rallying cry. If, as is almost certain, there is no rebellion, it will be the date we will have to point to as the day that signaled that there was no future for government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

The next two articles below deal in more detail with the Extreme Court's decision of Jan. 21, 2010.