I’m writing this a day after election day. I’ve been hauling manure so have been listening to the radio. It has been interesting to hear the various takes on the election results. The polls were wrong again. Republicans have done better than expected.
This column will be in the paper on Veterans Day. Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the fighting stopped in World War 1. The war was an unimaginable horror. President Woodrow Wilson had pledged neutrality, yet German hostilities involved American civilians to such an extent that Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war in 1917 to “make the world safe for democracy.”
Our “democracy” needs a good hard look. Theresa Greenfield and Joni Ernst spent a combined $234 million dollars defending and promising policy that is explicitly forbidden by the Constitution that they would or do take an oath to uphold and defend. With the increasingly popular opinion that money grows on trees, this might not seem like a big deal.
But it is a big deal. Not only is this capital that could otherwise be spent on products and services that enrich peoples’ lives, it polarizes. It makes enemies of friends and family who without it get along fine. People steal yard signs, scream at each other and even burn hay bales and machinery as a part of these elections.
The importance of the elections is based solely on a goal of using other people’s money to do the things we don’t care to do ourselves. Would you go down to a small oil refiner and force him at gunpoint to blend ethanol into his product, with the knowledge that he could go broke doing it? Would you give unlimited cash to foreign governments who indiscriminately murder their opponents? Would you donate to people who choose unhealthy lifestyles, or fake job applications, or do unnecessary scientific research?
Promoting the vote and democracy assumes that we have the knowledge to vote intelligently. Glenn Greenwald, who has exposed numerous unethical and illegal programs by the U.S. and British governments, recently resigned from The Intercept (a news site he co-founded) so he could publish his findings regarding Joe Biden’s connections to the Chinese and Ukrainian governments. Editor, Betsy Reed refused to publish his article as did most of the rest of the news media.
The murders of Michael Hastings, who wrote of Barack Obama’s firing of Stanley McChrystal as commander in Afghanistan and Gary Webb, who investigated U.S. government involvement in crack cocaine distribution are telling. Information that is necessary for an informed vote simply does not exist for a wide swath of Americans who wish to have a say in policy.
Woodrow Wilson was wrong to defend democracy. A system like “two wolves and a lamb voting on what they are going to have for lunch” (Ben Franklin) is working against the people who demand it the most; minorities. The “democracy” lie is so pervasive it has become heretical to deny it. A vast propaganda machine controlled by a tiny minority has convinced us that democracy is freedom. The propaganda is more powerful than a truth that we can’t access.
The signers of the Constitution (none of whom ever uttered the word democracy in a favorable light) would be appalled at this shredding of the work they sacrificed so much to produce.
Devotion to democracy is devotion to theft.