(Readers: Please note the blog about the 5th revolution in the US is constructed as a story. While not all chapters are linked, after reading a few recent entries, you might want to start at the beginning. More about the blog and about the author. )
July 4, 2014, Independence Day in the US. I thought it might be a good time to pause and reflect on recent events and the possible impact of those events on the future.
The theme of this blog is the anticipated 5th revolution in the United States, which I am labelling the “Revenge Revolution.” The idea of such a revolution occurred to me 5-6 years ago while finishing a long overdue paper for the University of Michigan. The paper included a short reference to a possible revolution.
For some reason the notion of a revolution kept hanging around in my head. Finally in summer 2013, I began expanding the idea, which then lead to the blog, which was published beginning December 2013.
Now almost a year after I started writing, I asked myself does the tagline about a possible 5th revolution make sense? Is the US still headed for a 5th revolution? Or have events this past year made the idea of a revolution less likely?
Unfortunately, the probability of a 5th revolution, the Revenge Revolution, seems higher today than the initial paper to University of Michigan and higher than last year. One could argue the probability seems higher because I spend more time writing blog entries associated with a possible revolution. That’s a fair argument. However, even if writing blog entries has exaggerated my perception of the likelihood, I think events of the past year have increased chances of the Revenge Revolution.
Probably the most disturbing trend, and it seems to be a trend and not just a couple of data points, is the lack of objectivity by the Supreme Court in ruling on cases having impact on the US populous. Given the rulings in these cases, the Court seems to have become a key “talking head” for the ultra-right wing of the Republican Party.
Yes, I know many self-proclaimed conservatives will pronounce I’m just a reactionary liberal. But, before you make such statements, let’s look at outcomes in countries where ultra-conservatives have ended up as the dominant political power. In the last 100 years, we have examples of Germany and Italy between WWI and WWII, as well as several other European countries. Today there are a number of countries in the Middle East dominated by ultra-conservatives. As much as it pains me, even Israel is heavily influenced by ultra-conservatives.
One is hard pressed to find an example…in fact, I do not think there is an example…where a country run by ultra-conservatives has not been subject to major internal turmoil within a reasonable time after the ultra-conservatives were in power. Obviously we are looking at countries with elections and not countries with dictators. The emergence of the ultra-right wing in this country and the unrelenting shift to the right by the Supreme Court do not bode well for future stability in the US.
Why? Because what is emerging in the US is increased “unfairness.” Being fair does not mean everyone having the same things. Being fair means reasonable opportunities.
The trend of decisions by the Supreme Court has been to redefine “fairness.” In Citizens United, the Supreme Court declared corporations to be “people” during the election process. The decision allowed corporations to be “people” but since corporations are legal entities…and therefore not really people… corporations are not subject to any of the liabilities that people face for wrong doing. Not a bad deal. Corporations are “people” for political campaigns but not “people” when it comes to criminal liability. Heads I win. Tails you lose…again.
Corporations have been buying politicians. Go ahead and claim I have no way to prove it and therefore I must be wrong. Well, folks, if you don’t think money buys influence, you are living on a different planet. Money buys access and access buys influence.
Are both sides guilty? Yes, but we are talking degrees of guilt. The argument that one is either pregnant or not does not apply. One side is walking around with a .50 caliber machine gun and the other with a BB gun. That is not fair. Remember I did not claim fair meant equal.
The Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case makes corporations even more of a “person.” Corporations do not have to behave in ways that conflict with their religious beliefs. Tell me that again? Corporations have religious beliefs? Yes, of course says the Supreme Court. You don’t seem to understand, you idiot liberal.
The Court is saying, “Let me explain this to you. Corporations are legal entities with many protections for executives working in the corporation. But these corporations have religious beliefs that are protected by the Constitution. In fact, you idiot, we are going to allow these corporations to have more religious freedom than you have. We are going to let corporations now decide if they want to follow portions of a federal law based on the religious beliefs of the corporation.”
Personally, I don’t care if you like the Affordable Care Act or not; it is the law. But you should be incensed at the Court. For those that argue that the Supreme Court ruling was narrow and applies only to a few corporations, you too have been living on another planet. Within two days of the initial ruling the conservative members of the Court expanded the scope. An old saying and one repeated at dinner recently by a long-time friend, the ruling “…is like the camel’s nose under the tent. This is only the beginning.”
I call Citizens United and Hobby Lobby rulings major judicial activism. You don’t think so? Corporations were established by law for a specific purpose. Corporations are not people. Repeat corporations are not people. If you think they are then you must support the following logic.
One can buy and sell stock in many corporations. Therefore, if corporations are people, then people that buy and sell stock in these corporations are like plantation owners who bought and sold slaves. Didn’t the 13th Amendment abolish slavery? Maybe the Supreme Court needs to read the US Constitution.
Oh, yes, if you are an “originalist” of the Constitution, just in case you forgot, amendments are supplements to and not part of original documents. Remember the First Amendment to the Constitution is a supplement and not part of the original document. And the beloved Second Amendment is a supplement and not part of the original Constitution.
From where I sit, Conservative Republicans should be outraged at the activism of the court and these rulings. A very few Justices are redefining the very foundation on which this country was built. Yet most Conservative Republicans are cheering. Why? Because Conservative Republicans have not yet connected the dots.
Allowing a corporation to act like a person without having the liability associated if a person acted the same way, creates an environment for corporations to act more irresponsibly. Think about this Conservative Republicans – who is likely to suffer from actions that ship more jobs overseas, increase water pollution, increase air pollution, renege on benefit programs, etc.? The corporation won’t suffer nor will the executives running the corporations suffer. The executives will gain. The losers will be the ordinary citizen.
Least you think I am promoting socialism, think again. I am talking about fairness. It baffles me why ultra-conservatives never talk about solutions to address the decline in real median income and the increased likelihood of reduced pensions for many employees. Other than a small percentage of the population many people in this country are going backward economically, not forward. Like countries with ultra-conservative political parties, countries with pronounced disparity of wealth do not have sustained economic growth.
Conservatives don’t seem to understand that letting the populous gain enough ground to feed their families and provide decent shelter will quell unrest. People with full bellies are more tolerant of political and corporate shenanigans than people who go to bed hungry.
In 1776, the colonists, all illegal immigrants, declared their independence from Britain. Achieving that independence was a long and difficult struggle with many lives lost on both sides.
The Declaration of Independence states, “…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” Many Conservative leaders as well as certain Justices of the Supreme Court, have demonstrated repeatedly that they do not support the very first sentence of the Declaration of Independence.
By today’s standards, Conservatives would view the colonists as rebels…and yikes, liberals! Can you imagine, a country founded by liberals. Said the conservative, “You colonists, listen to me, I’ll tell you what’s good for you.”
How I dare make such an assertion, you say. Well, guess what Conservatives and non-thinkers on the Supreme Court? Those rebels, the nasty lazy liberals of today are going to revolt, just like their brethren revolted in 1776. And when they revolt, you will be out of power and possibly in physical danger. Many of those being suppressed have weapons. And there are far more of them than you.
Now you have my musings from July 4. Not very pretty and not very encouraging. No, I’m not optimistic. I believe the Revenge Revolution is inevitable because all of us are prone not to change behavior until faced with severe negative circumstances. And then some people still refuse to change.
Exactly what year the Revenge Revolution begins is hard to predict. In the past, while my predictions of major change have been generally correct, predicted timing was usually earlier than the actual event. For talking purposes let’s assume the Revenge Revolution begins July 4, 2020. Like I said, I hope I’m wrong. (More background about the Revenge Revolution.)