Earlier this week, Mitt Romney and his handlers flaunted the Republican Party’s contempt for the 99 percent by holding several fund-raisers in the Hamptons, one of them at the estate of billionaire right-wing activist David Koch. This classic “let them eat cake” event indicated the GOP is literally banking on the belief that the poor and near-poor will be awed into voting for the very people who continue to exploit them.
I couldn’t help but wonder, as usual, at what point Americans will realize these arrogant would-be aristocrats, with plenty of help from our elected officials and the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, have made a sick joke of democracy by and for the people.
Mild-mannered, compassionate Bill Moyers wondered the same thing. How much blatant celebration of the widening gap between rich and poor is too much for average Americans to stomach? He thinks we might be at the tipping point:
… Three things don’t go together: Money. Secrecy. Democracy. And that’s the nub of the matter. This is all a sham for invalidating democracy in the name of democracy. It’s the trick authoritarians always use to hide their real intention – in this case absolute power over our public life and institutions: the privatization of everything. The Supreme Court is pointing the way. Instead of mitigating the worst excesses of both the state and the private sector, the Court has taken sides. Saying to the massed wealth of the one percent: America is yours for the taking, for the buying.
That’s what George III thought, too. Which brings us back to our celebration of the 4th of July, to the Declaration of Independence and Thomas Jefferson, who seems to have thought that a little uprising now and then would be good for what ails us. This time the overweening power is not the monarchy but plutocracy, the convergence of the political, religious and corporate right that would keep us in the dark about where all that money is coming from, and who it’s buying, until one day we wake up and our country is no longer our own… So remember, moneyed lords and ladies, what King George learned the hard way – you can only push your subjects so far.
I’m not as optimistic as Moyers that Americans are capable of the sort of uprising Jefferson advocated, but I think the GOP’s campaign strategy regarding Romney — i.e., we’re pigs and proud of it — will backfire, if only because people don’t like to have their noses rubbed in their own stupidity.
Footnote: This is a few days early, but Happy Bastille Day, America.