We have become an Oligarchy, a Plutocrcay, and are under an Authoritarian Rule. We know this. Democracy as we knew it and as we learned it in school is dying.
What can we, the American people, do? First, recognize that the Democratic and Republican Parties are a democracy-destroying political duopoly, which has joined forces in shafting the vast majority of Americans, who are struggling every day to just get by, while serving politicians' campaign contributors, including Wall Street bankers, for-profit insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, hedge fund managers, for-profit colleges (many of which are owned by investment banks), and anti-union forces. These Democrats and Republicans deregulated the financial industry and looked the other way while financial institutions and their officers engaged in wholesale fraud -- all of which led to the economic melt-down from which we are still reeling, while the perpetrators are still lining their pockets with multi-million dollar bonuses, derived from government bail-outs.
They are the same duopoly that has become so craven that President Obama even vetoed the EPA's effort to reduce the emission of ground level ozone and has now paved the way for the southern leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline and vastly expanded offshore oil drilling.
They are the same duopoly that thinks so little of our democracy that they have made it almost impossible for any new party or independent candidate to get on several states' ballots -- and, through their total control of the Presidential Debate Commission, which hijacked the presidential debates from the League of Women Voters, have prevented any non-plutocratic voices.
In short, each of us can say: "We're not going to take it any more. We have drawn our line -- and won't budge from it.
We won't support anyone who disregards our Constitution and the rule of law.
We won't support anyone who tortures, authorizes torture, or opposes accountability for those who torture.
We won't support anyone who targets U.S. citizens for assassination.
We won't support anyone who will not work to stop the insane and inhumane incarceration of 2.3 million people, many of them for non-violent offenses -- an incarceration rate far greater than any other nation on earth and which is applied with a vengeance toward African-Americans and Latinos.
We won't support anyone who fails and refuses to face up to the need for rational, compassionate immigration reform.
We won't support anyone who will not commit to provide our students with an equal opportunity to obtain a higher education and equip themselves to be competitive globally with students and employees in other nations.
We won't support anyone who asserts the power to kidnap and indefinitely detain people, including U.S. citizens, without charges, trial, assistance of legal counsel, or right of habeas corpus -- perhaps the most subversive, anti-American stance ever taken by a Congress or a President in our nation's history.
We won't support anyone who takes, or purports to authorize a president to take, our nation to war without a finding by Congress that war is justified -- and without compliance with the U.N. Charter, to which the U.S. is a signatory.
We won't support anyone who allows the continuation of Bush's budget-busting tax breaks for the wealthy.
We won't support anyone who makes it more difficult for working men and women to organize.
We won't support anyone who continues to allow multi-national corporations to profit by depriving U.S. workers of their jobs while exporting millions of jobs with nearly slave conditions in other nations.
We won't support anyone who refuses to implement programs like the Works Progress Administration to hire millions of people to build up our nation's rapidly deteriorating infrastructure.
We won't support anyone who refuses to strengthen, rather than undermine, the safety nets provided by Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare.
We won't support anyone who fails to provide crucial leadership on climate change and a thriving clean energy economy.
We won't support anyone who refuses to commit to do everything possible to rid our government and electoral system of the corrupting influence of money.
And we won't support anyone who refuses to join the rest of the industrialized world in providing a health care system that costs much less, produces far better medical outcomes, and is available to everyone.
For those who are cynical, for those who are resigned to not being able to overcome the corruption and perversity of the influence of money in our plutocracy -- that is, government of, by, and for the wealthy --, I urge you to find inspiration in our own nation's long history of progressive social movements, as well as from recent examples in the Arab world.
Major movements, such as the anti-slavery movement, the women's suffrage movement, the labor movement, and the civil rights movement, all succeeded because of the tenacious, passionate commitment and activism by people, organized at the grass roots level. And there was a lot of money aligned against many of them -- yet they prevailed.
Ben Franklin was approached by a woman as he was leaving the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. She asked him, "Doctor, what do we have -- a monarchy or a republic?" Franklin responded, "A republic, ma'am, if you can keep it."
It's up to us. If we don't take action, and insist on a return to the practices and policies that reaffirm our most fundamental values, our republic and all it stands for could be lost forever. However, if we will, we can restore our republic and breathe life once again into our Constitution and recommit to all that can make this nation once again what the Founders, and those who have given their lives for our freedoms and values, intended and expected.