Click here to go to the Home Page

Republicans Accomplish What King George Could Not Do - Solidarity America - By John Funiciello - Columnist

Click to go to a Printer Friendly version of this article


In the Declaration of Independence, the nascent rebels said a couple things every American should consider in our own time: ��He (King George) has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their Substance�He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power��

This time, though, there is no king, but there is a Republican Party and its extreme right wing Tea Party affiliate and they are doing the job that the 18th Century king was unable to complete.

�Eat out their substance� is a very strong sentiment and the Founding Fathers believed the king was doing just that, through his minions in the colonies. Not only were the people restricted in the way they could live their lives, but also the taxes and the rules of trade were such that the people did not benefit. The colonial power was the beneficiary and the people could be damned.

What is happening in 2011 is not unlike July 4, 1776, when the Declaration was presented. It�s true, we don�t have a king and we don�t have the king�s troops quartered in our midst, but our substance is being eaten by something just as bad: Corporate control of both our government and our political system has coming to pass and the more they take, the less there is for the people, and this has been going on for decades. Day by day, the people are losing their substance.

It was recently reported that 1 percent of Americans controls the same amount of the wealth as 80 percent of the people. Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize winner for economics and former chief economist for the World Bank, pointed out recently that the top 1 percent has taken 25 percent of the nation�s income for many years, while the income for those who work for wages has dropped by 12 percent over the past 25 years.

For the first few decades after World War II, it appeared that working people could move into the �middle class� in America, but the hammer came down on them, beginning about 30 year ago and the downward slide has continued. Since then, the people�s substance has been diminished and it has become much more difficult for families to provide the basic necessities, including education for their children and care for aging parents.

In a recent issue of Vanity Fair, Stiglitz wrote, �All the growth in recent decades - and more - has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow.�

What he is talking about is the substance that has made America what it is - the promise of equality, fairness, opportunity, and the ability to live as free citizens in a free country. Corporate control of the government and its laws and control over the way the economy operates has made it difficult to see America as the mythmakers want us to see it.

The recent financial meltdown has shown that the people have little control over that aspect of their lives. The so-called free trade agreements have shown how little corporations or their government minions care about the masses of Americans. They have emptied the nation of its industrial and manufacturing base - its economic substance. Every day of their lives, corporate lobbyists carrying bags of money to Washington to ensure that they can operate in our common environment without regard to their damage to and, in many cases, destruction of our planet. And, that�s our physical substance.

Pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, and others associated with the medical-industrial complex are doing their best to destroy what there is of any government provided health care. Right now, the Republicans in Congress are planning the privatization (demise) of Medicare and the elimination, if possible, of Medicaid. The latter, they believe, will be easy because the program serves the poor and the poor don�t vote.

The right-wing politicians don�t even try to hide their intent any more. They�ve convinced themselves that the people want them to destroy programs on which the people�s lives depend. While that may be true of some ordinary Americans, like members of the Tea Party faction of the GOP, most ordinary Americans do not want to see programs important to their lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren destroyed.

But Tea Partiers are fake populists, claiming to fear their government while refusing to acknowledge that those who pull the strings of politicians are members in good standing of Corporate America. They facilitate the demise of government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but the leaders of this �small government� movement curry favor and financially benefit from doing the bidding of the powerful.

And, while the military-industrial complex (aided to a great extent by academia) does not quarter soldiers in our homes, they do their part to eat out the substance of the people. The military and defense budgets are the biggest single part of the national budget and the money that goes into those expenses is money that does not provide for housing, education, health care, hunger abatement, and mitigation of the environmental destruction that results from our reckless use and abuse of the world�s natural resources.

The wars in which America is engaged and the country�s growing empire are manifestations of the power of the military in the nation�s dialogue. For more than a dozen years, we have been subjected to assurances by official Washington that we would do what the �generals on the ground� tell us to do. We�ll stay in Iraq and Afghanistan as long as the generals tell us to. We could be in Libya for a similar time�years, decades?

And, the money just keeps flowing to the monstrous defense industries, whose politicians fight fiercely to keep wars going and to develop new weapons systems. That�s our substance, going out of the barrel of a gun or down to earth in a missile.

It appears that the civil power (president, congress, and judiciary) has reversed roles with the military in America. Now, they tell us where we should make war, what countries we should invade, how the war should be fought, and how long we should be there. It used to be that the president, as commander in chief, did the commanding and the generals carried out the orders. And the president, in times past, would tell them when to come home.

The founders of the nation would recognize that these and many other things are eating out the substance of the American people today. Now, the people need to recognize it for themselves and not be fooled by those who are falsely telling them that their policies are doing them no harm. Columnist, John Funiciello, is a labor organizer and former union organizer. His union work started when he became a local president of The Newspaper Guild in the early 1970s. He was a reporter for 14 years for newspapers in New York State. In addition to labor work, he is organizing family farmers as they struggle to stay on the land under enormous pressure from factory food producers and land developers. Click here to contact Mr. Funiciello.

Click to go to a Printer Friendly version of this article
Click here to go to a menu of the Contents of this Issue

e-Mail re-print notice
If you send us an emaill message we may publish all or part of it, unless you tell us it is not for publication. You may also request that we withhold your name.

Thank you very much for your readership.

Apr 14, 2011 - Issue 422
is published every Thursday
Est. April 5, 2002
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble
Road Scholar - the world leader in educational travel for adults. Top ten travel destinations for African-Americans. Fascinating history, welcoming locals, astounding sights, hidden gems, mouth-watering food or all of the above - our list of the world’s top ten "must-see" learning destinations for African-Americans has a little something for everyone.