FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Closing Democracy’s Doors Until the People Open Them

In 2006 a book was published called Losing Our Democracy by civic leader, Mark Green. His 21stbook, it was the usual Mark Green brand of meticulous research with memorable examples. One would have thought such an important subject would have received wide coverage and circulation. In fact, it was almost completely ignored by reviewers and the media interviewers. In 2017, the danger of having the door shut on the practice of democracy by its citizens is more important than at any other time in recent history.

Republicans prefer to use the words “liberty” and “freedom,” not “democracy.” Why? Because democracy includes these rights but adds “justice,” which holds those in power accountable and brings them down to earth where people live, work and raise their families.

Look at some ways democracy’s doors are closing. Thirteen Republican senators (all men)  are now meeting secretly behind closed doors to further deny American families access to affordable, accessible healthcare. They arrogantly (or cynically) have refused to hold a single public hearing. In 2009-2010 the Senate held over 100 bipartisan public hearings and 25 days of floor debate before passing The Affordable Care Act, having accepted numerous Republican amendments.

Today, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the dictator of the Senate, aims to jam this cruel and vicious legislation through the Senate by the end of June, a bill which would take away health insurance from 23 million people, many of whom will die or remain sick, and destroy many critical protections for vulnerable Americans. The legislation also gives a huge tax cut for the rich at the expense of America’s sick children and adults with disabilities.

This is just one example of Americans being denied access to justice in “the land of the free.”

Voting suppression and gerrymandered one-party districts exist in many states. More doors closing. Your right to your day in court against the perpetrators who caused your wrongful injuries has been rolled back in the House of Representatives and in many state legislatures, literally closing democracy’s door to your local courtrooms.

The US Supreme Court, with a 5 to 4 corporatist majority, thrives on closing doors on workers organizing through labor unions, consumers standing up for their rights and citizens demanding  environmental health and fair taxation for corporations.

Astonishingly, the Trump White House suggests that its federal agency heads do not have to respond to inquiries from members of Congress, while Congressional leaders are trying to hold back reporters’ access to legislators on Capitol Hill.

At the Federal Communications Commission, Chairman Ajit Pai is pushing to shut out or make more expensive the people’s access to the Internet and to their own public airwaves.  Of course, this will benefit big business.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, led by former Wall Street executive Jay Clayton, is moving to make it even more difficult for shareholders – the owners of publicly traded corporations – to exercise their rights of ownership.  Many shareholder rights have already been nearly stripped bare by previous corporatists. Closing doors to the owners in favor of corporate bosses in a touted capitalistic economy is what is partly meant by the corporate state – using government to further entrench the corporate supremacists.

The mass media is shutting out the works of citizen groups who are the  advocates for more  open doors for justice on behalf of consumers, families, marginalized groups, workers and the environment. See breakingthroughpower.org and ask why, over eight days last year, this historic gathering of civic leaders and justice builders was blocked out by the big print and electronic media.  In an age of narrow and sensationalized coverage, it is more difficult than ever for the civil society to participate in mainstream discourse via the media.

Doors are closing on small individual debtors. Fees for regular people to file court cases are going up and judicial procedures are reversing their historic purpose and closing doors on the powerless.

Many consumers are closing doors on themselves by not fighting for their existing rights or to create new rights  Buying from giant absentee companies like Amazon closes the doors on Main Street, with its community-binding small businesses that pay property taxes for schools and other public facilities.

What used to be heralded as our sacred right  to “freedom of contract” has been frozen by the fine print contracts that we either sign on the dotted line or click to accept.  These inscrutable contracts strip us of our consumer rights, block our right to go to court, including banding together in class actions, and often give the vendors the power to change the terms, unilaterally claiming terms buried in the fine print give them the ultimate power of control.

Third political parties that wish to give the voters more voices and choices are held down by the big two-party duopoly. Independent new parties know what closing democracy’s door is like from ballot access obstacles to exclusion from the candidate debates.

Citizens of America, the Fourth of July is coming up – the day in 1776 when American patriots rebelled against King George III’s closed doors and exclusion from  justice. Then and now, everyday people find themselves shut out by the powers that be.  Today, millions of shut out Americans face daily denial of healthcare, secretive companies repeatedly telling them to get lost and bureaucrats invoking government secrecy.

Raise your voices, Americans! Shake off the clever slogans and lies of the craven  politicians and the intricate chains enveloping your credit/debit economy. Challenge an educational system that avoids giving the next generation the citizen skills and experience necessary to open the doors of democracy and secure its many blessings.

Start with the Congress to whom you have delegated, but not surrendered, your Constitutional power. This Fourth of July, you can make your voices heard in front of your senators’ and representative’s local offices, and call on your friends and neighbors to do the same through social media. No one can stop you from opening that door, at least not yet. Visit breakingthroughpower.org for a Citizen Summons to your legislators that can start opening the doors.

More articles by:

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

September 19, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
When Bernie Sold Out His Hero, Anti-Authoritarians Paid
Lawrence Davidson
Political Fragmentation on the Homefront
George Ochenski
How’s That “Chinese Hoax” Treating You, Mr. President?
Cesar Chelala
The Afghan Morass
Chris Wright
Three Cheers for the Decline of the Middle Class
Howard Lisnoff
The Beat Goes On Against Protest in Saudi Arabia
Nomi Prins 
The Donald in Wonderland: Down the Financial Rabbit Hole With Trump
Jack Rasmus
On the 10th Anniversary of Lehman Brothers 2008: Can ‘IT’ Happen Again?
Richard Schuberth
Make Them Suffer Too
Geoff Beckman
Kavanaugh in Extremis
Jonathan Engel
Rather Than Mining in Irreplaceable Wilderness, Why Can’t We Mine Landfills?
Binoy Kampmark
Needled Strawberries: Food Terrorism Down Under
Michael McCaffrey
A Curious Case of Mysterious Attacks, Microwave Weapons and Media Manipulation
Elliot Sperber
Eating the Constitution
September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail