"The two parties have combined against us to nullify our power by a 'gentleman's agreement' of non-recognition, no matter how we vote ... May God write us down as asses if ever again we are found putting our trust in either the Republican or the Democratic Parties." (W.E.B. DuBois (1922) )
In January, after the mid-term election blowout dumped the House of Representatives into the corporate lap, the Reverend Daniel P. Coughlin opened the 112th Congress with the standard prayer, asking the Lord's Spirit to "descend upon this Chamber; that from here may come forth good news for the poor and healing for the broken-hearted of this nation."
The good Reverend then demanded of the Lord -- "Let there go forth a proclamation to the people that captivity is ended. And the action of true politics will set this nation free."(emphasis added)
There was immediate news for the poor and broken-hearted, but it was hardly good. House Speaker John Boehner, awash in tears and incoherently mumbling over and over "the American people...the American people," set about blocking all Democratic legislation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the "single most important" issue for the Republicans is to make "President Obama a one-term president."
And then there's House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who is arguably the most frightening Republican -- and that's saying a lot -- for "the American people." Cantor is adamantly opposed to anything that does not inflict further pain and sacrifice on the already suffering poor and middle classes, and struggled to shut down the government and blame it on President Obama.
Not only would Cantor and his Republican cohorts privatize Social Security and eliminate Medicare and Medicaid, but they are against all facets of health-care reform, Planned Parenthood, and any initiative that would ease the suffering of children, the elderly or those struggling in poverty.
One need go no further than the Table of Contents of Rep. Paul Ryan's grotesque Path To Prosperity budget resolution for 2012 to see the stark Republican agenda, and to realize that in no way are "the American people" on that prosperity path. Listed under . . .
Efficient, Effective and Responsible Government -- Restraining the Growth of Government by Repealing the Health Care Law
Strengthening the Social Safety Net -- Stopping the Abuse of Medicaid by Repealing the Health Care Law
Fulfilling the Mission of Health and Retirement Security for All Americans -- Stopping the Raid on Medicare by Repealing the Health Care Law
Pro-Growth Tax Reform -- Stopping Job-Destroying Tax Hikes by Repealing the Health Care Law
Once in power, most politicians can be depended upon to do whatever it takes to remain in power, regardless of the destruction they leave in their wake. In his penetrating Drifting Too Far From Shore: The Unresisted Rise of the Elite, Chris Floyd writes...
"Politicians are, with the rarest of exceptions, venal, preening, shallow-minded third-raters. Many of them are psychologically damaged, which is what draws them into the pursuit of power -- of dominating other people -- in the first place. Mostly, they like the perks (material and emotional) of power. They are not figures of deep character and solid principles. Strong political resistance -- or even a great lot of noise -- can scare them out of whatever 'principles' they find expedient to hold at any given moment. The Right has triumphed because no one has resisted it. Big Money has bought off and/or subsumed almost all of the institutional forces that once offered some resistance to its iron-fisted rule."
I have a real problem with Democrats who refuse to get off their knees long enough to stand up for what they believe in. What do they believe in? Community organizing? Democrats are not evil; they really really want to do what is right, but with few exceptions, they are timid, hypocritical little cave-inskis when it comes to walking their talk. They take the money and call it bipartisanship. I call it betrayal.
However, Republicans, for the most part, are sociopaths -- morally and politically corrupt. In her Editor's Preface to Andrew M. Lobaczewski's critically important Political Ponerology, Laura Knight-Jadczyk quotes Martha Stout, who appears to be eerily describing modern Republicans, in her book, The Sociopath Next Door . . .
"Imagine -- if you can -- not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.
"If you are born at the right time, with some access to family fortune, and you have a special talent for whipping up other people's hatred and sense of deprivation, you can arrange to kill large numbers of unsuspecting people. With enough money, you can accomplish this from far away, and you can sit back safely and watch in satisfaction . . . Crazy and frightening -- and real, in about 4 percent of the population. . . .
"The high incidence of sociopathy in human society has a profound effect on the rest of us who must live on this planet, too, even those of us who have not been clinically traumatized. The individuals who constitute this 4 percent drain our relationships, our bank accounts, our accomplishments, our self-esteem, our very peace on earth."
Keenly aware that fair elections are beyond their grasp, Republicans rely on entities such as the Supreme Court (Election 2000 and the recent Citizens United decision), corporate billionaires such as the Koch Brothers (who organized and funded the Tea Party movement as well as the campaigns of neoconservative governors), and a myriad of fawning, right-wing media.
And, as added insurance, "the American people" most likely to vote Democratic need to be kicked to the curb. According to Think Progress...
"Since taking office in January, conservative legislators in state houses across the country have raised the specter of voter fraud to quietly -- and quickly -- push through a series of bills that would make it significantly more difficult for large swaths of the population to vote, including college students, rural voters, senior citizens, the disabled, and the homeless. Proposed legislation would dramatically change how the country votes ahead of the 2012 elections, requiring Americans in some states to present their birth certificates before registering to vote and show a DMV-issued photo identification at the polls.
"These voter ID bills would not only dampen voter turnout -- depressing Hispanic turnout by as much as 10 percent -- but also cost cash-strapped statehouses (and taxpayers) millions of dollars. Yet in dozens of states, Republicans have made bills restricting voting a central part of their legislative agenda -- passing voter ID bills before they even begin to work on budgets. Conservatives have claimed their assault on voting rights is necessary to combat the threat of mass voter fraud. Yet the Brennan Center for Justice notes that voters are more likely to be struck by lightning than commit voter fraud, and the Bush Justice Department's five-year "War on Voter Fraud" resulted in only 86 convictions out of 196 million votes cast. As The Progress Report's Alex Seitz-Wald notes, 'The only fraud in voter fraud is the allegation of fraud.' Instead, like their assaults on unions, Planned Parenthood, and AARP, conservatives' anti-voter agenda is aimed at silencing the voices of those who disagree with them."
North Carolina is targeting its elderly, disabled and college students. South Carolina said too many blacks voted for Obama in 2008 and they didn't want that to happen again. Kansas is working to require a "two-fer" -- proof of citizenship upon registering to vote and photo identification at the polls.
Well, alrighty then. That pretty much knocks a hole in the Democratic voting base, but when you consider the roster of Republicans straining at the bit to storm the Oval Office, it's difficult to imagine "the American people" turning out to vote for any of them either.
Think about it. Our world -- our political world -- has been knocked off its axis and is spinning out of control. Neither party can be trusted to do anything that is not totally self-serving.
When we see these selfish, immoral, corporate-owned money changers -- both Democrats and Republicans -- being hurled out of House windows and doors, it's possible that the Lord responded to the good Reverend Coughlin, and His Spirit -- at long last -- will have descended upon the Chamber.
Then -- and only then -- will our captivity be ended, and we can get about the business of true politics which, hopefully, will set this nation free.
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.