Gerald Staack | The Roots of Disenfranchisement

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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Only when a strong government mandates to serve society, serve the average American, will the unrest of social injustices be eased. Our government’s focus on corporate profits, rather than on social well-being, has spawned much misery for the average American. Taking advantage of this misery, the president easily prodded and incited a motley crew of diversified, disenfranchised, angry citizens, among them “The Proud Boys,” to affront the Capitol. Who saw this coming? Our government, seemingly, has only been obsessed with receiving contributions while wholeheartedly serving the profit-seeking desires of the wealthy. It has been ignoring the wishes, the necessities, of Main Street U.S.A.

Thomas (Thom) Carl Hartmann, the radio personality, author, former psychotherapist, businessman and progressive political commentator, reminds us how America’s troubles all started. He proclaims:

“(Ronald) Reagan and his rich buddies set out to destroy government, and it’s nearly worked.”

“Today, however, following 40 years of Reaganism and the GOP’s media arms’ constantly repeating the mantra that ‘government is the cause of our problems,’ the Republican Great Depression of 2021 is playing out quite differently. This crisis is far from over precisely because there’s a huge disinformation industry cranking out anti-U.S.-government propaganda daily across America’s airwaves and on social media. They’re doing it intentionally and specifically to benefit themselves in ways that go well beyond Fox News’ advertising revenues. There’s a method to their madness.”

Thom states, “There’s only one force in the world powerful enough to constrain the behavior of rogue billionaires or rapacious corporations. You can’t stop them from raping the Earth or ripping off workers and consumers. Neither can I. Only government can do that. Which is why America’s oligarchs began, in the 1980s with the Reagan Revolution, promoting the idea that government had gotten ‘too big’ and was a ‘threat to liberty.’ It had gotten big enough to regulate their behavior, to limit their greed, to prevent them from creating another (very profitable for the uber-wealthy) Great Crash, and they wanted government out of their lives.”

So, corporations and billionaires got together in the 1970s, following the plan laid out in 1971 by Lewis Powell in his infamous memo “A Corporate Blueprint to Dominate American Democracy,” and started the process of taking down government, replacing civil servants with yes-men and toadies for the right-wing billionaire agenda. (He documents the process in his new book, “The Hidden History of American Oligarchy: Reclaiming Our Democracy from the Ruling Class.”)

Forty years of billionaire-promoted Reaganism, in other words, set up today’s crisis. Thom states that today “the same philosophy — that we should just let the philanthropic billionaires and efficient big corporations run everything, and ‘big government’ shouldn’t play a role for good in our lives — is actively working to cripple President (Joe) Biden’s efforts to bring this country out of our current crisis.”

This is extraordinarily dangerous. 

There’s a joke (sorta) going around: “What do you call a failed coup attempt?”

The answer, it turns out, is: “A rehearsal.”

The cancer of Reaganism and the boosters of that worldview are alive, well and stronger than ever.

If Republicans succeed in preventing the Biden administration from proving that government can make Americans’ lives better, buckle up: The coup of 2024, already in post-rehearsal planning, isn’t going to fail like it did in 2021.

Come what may, the ruling class, the aristocracy in both the conservative and neo-liberal parties, have managed to seize state power and rule those groups who are taxed and regulated by those in command. State rule, with its taxation and exercise of power, controls, and conferring of subsidies and privileges, is the instrument that creates conflicts between rulers and ruled. This simmering conflict has brewed into a serious “two-class” struggle. The highly profitable ruling class continues to exploit the poorer American working class as it capitalizes on its government-sanctioned legislations and cheap foreign labor.

Enter Bernie Sanders, the far-to-the-left advocate for social change for the marginalized working class. Wrongly maligned by the ruling class for being a socialist and ridiculed by the rich for wanting to use their tax dollars to build a kindlier society, he and his cadre are waiting with remedies that can cure the American working-class problems. Can Biden be swayed to administer them? Or, would a new progressive party movement possibly be in the wings? 

Either way, it sure could bring new life-changing incentives to the many disenfranchised American workers now steeped in defeatism who recently challenged our democracy.

Gerald Staack

Santa Clarita

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