I really hate to be pessimistic. I also want to avoid being politically slanted. We see far too much of that in society today. Over the last few years that I’ve been writing this column I’ve received many chain emails claiming one viewpoint or another. I am equally offended by things I see coming from the left and the right. In my opinion it is far better to report on, and talk about, the facts than it is to relentlessly use the news in support of a political ideology.
With that said, I must confess that I am becoming increasingly worried about our future and about the lack of Americans on both the left and the right banding together to stand up and work for change. People I speak with tend to be very passionate about defending their political perspective based on their alignment with the left or the right. I find very few who are evenly balanced in the middle of our political landscape and are willing to see things from a broad, open-minded perspective. Blame it on all the talking heads, the biases of most media organizations these days, the amount of misinformation that is sent through the Internet, or the fact that we cling to the information we want to be true and refuse to listen to anything contrary to that position.
As a nation, we were founded on the notion that our basic rights are provided by a supreme being and that ordinary people are more than capable of governing themselves. The United States’ government had one primary purpose: to protect the rights of its private citizens. At the time we became a nation, the world’s nations were generally governed by an elite hereditary class. Individual rights were granted and controlled by those ruling the nation. I fear we are slowly abandoning the premise of our founding fathers in favor of turning the government over to a ruling class while turning our backs on each other and the principles our ancestors fought for.
We are under assault by small, but powerful and wealthy groups that intend to exploit the government’s power for their own personal gain. We see it time and time again from large corporations, environmentalists, union leaders, entertainers and career politicians who very persuasively pursue their agendas in the name of democracy, while leaving the rest us to fend for ourselves and pay for their gains.
As our nation’s debt now exceeds the country’s Gross National Product and stands at $15.4 trillion, soon Congress will be forced to have yet another vote to raise the debt ceiling, why are we not demanding more accountability from our elected officials and those who lobby the influential few? Instead we fall in line and believe that our elected officials have our best interests at heart.
The figures contained in a new book called “The Rise of the President’s Permanent Campaign,” by Brendan J. Doherty, provide statistical backing to the notion that President Obama is more preoccupied with being re-elected than with solving the nation’s economic woes. Doherty, who has compiled statistics about presidential travel and fundraising going back to President Jimmy Carter in 1977, found that President Obama had already held 104 re-election fundraisers by March 6. A combined 94 events were held in the same timeframe by presidents Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush. Since then, the President has held another 20 fundraisers, bringing his total to 124 high-priced, lavish events. Carter held four re-election fundraisers during the 1980 campaign, Reagan had zero in 1984, Bush 19 in 1992, Clinton 14 in 1996, and Bush 57 in 2004.
The Supreme Court’s ruling this past summer allowing for the creation of super PACs ( Political Action Committees) with unlimited fundraising capacity makes it clear that we the people are but simple pawns in the battle between the left and the right, the powerful and the super-rich who, day by day, are taking control of the country. Our founding fathers created a government controlled by the people, with citizen legislators. All we need do to is take a honest look around. Ask yourself: Do you feel in charge? Have you seen the government working for your best interest, securing the future for your children, insuring your rights as a citizen, or providing you with the freedom to secure your own?
I am very worried about the future and what I see happening on both sides of the aisle. I sincerely hope we all see what’s happening and are brave enough and selfless enough to demand a return to a government of the people and for the people.
Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org