"Every government degenerates when trusted
to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves therefore are its
only safe depositories."
Perhaps it is a universal truth that the
loss of liberty at home is to be charged to provisions against danger,
real or pretended, from abroad."
"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."
What good will it be for a man if he gains
the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?…We will have to repent in this
generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people
but for the appalling silence of the good people…We have flown the air
like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple
act of walking the earth like brothers…We must learn to live together as
brothers or perish together as fools.
When I despair,
I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have
always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they
can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it -
All that is needed for the forces of evil to
triumph is for enough good men to do nothing.
From California to Maine, the United States is teeming with good, decent and talented Americans whose potential is as unlimited as the vast expanse of the universe. Of all creeds, colors, ethnicities and religions, those lucky enough to call this great land home find themselves living in the wealthiest nation the world has ever seen. Through our hard work we can afford to live in expensive and monotonous cookie-cutter-loss-of-individuality homes made of plywood cut down from once-pristine forests in Brazil, Africa or Indonesia. We can afford two mammoth-sized gas-guzzling tank-SUVs thirsty for Latin American or Middle East oil. Merrily this holiday season we purchase and consume numerous durable and non-durable products made by developing nations’ low-wage slave labor we support through our extravagant demand. And, of course, we eagerly devour the abundance of mercury and pesticide-laced, preservative-filled, hormone-induced, chemically injected, fat and sugar covered, artificially flavored foods, products, fruits and vegetables that we see at grocery stores and restaurants that are humbly provided to us by, who else, corporations.
Yes, we are gluttonous primates, one and all, swimming in an ocean of overabundance, swerving giant waves of the vast amount of trash we produce and swallowing overflowing tides of materialism on our way to do that which we have been trained so well to do: shop and consume. We must keep our corporate feudal lords happy with our tribute to them in the form of our hard-earned wages, after all. The Leviathan’s feeding frenzy has begun, that special time of year when our wallets and purses are made smaller and our debts larger. To the Leviathan, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, full of materialistic joy and consumeristic merriment, so full of jolly profit and growth, cheerful pillage and exploitation. So, as we hear bells, jingles and carols, watch the hurricane-like tempest of corporate advertisements flushed onto our screens urging us to consume, see the bright twinkling lights in frenzied malls, smell our aromatic pine trees covered in decorations and feel the cold chill we all associate with joy, happiness and Christmas, keep in mind that another special holiday season is upon us. And realize that just as last Christmas, our freedoms, rights and democratic institutions stand a little less sturdy than in years past. Like a Christmas tree once so fragrant, living and robust that eventually dies, withers and is thrown out, the freedoms and rights we take for granted are disappearing and decaying before our eyes, being granted instead to the many conglomerates that make up the corporate Leviathan.
Something is amiss in this great nation, and the downward spiral begins with the Leviathan, that most ominous of creatures, spawned by the mating of debauched capitalism with unhindered power, that has taken control of our government and the representatives we elected to serve our interests. At the top of the Leviathan, acting not as its brain but as its actions, easily maneuvered by the plethora of strings attached to his appendages, is George W. Bush, the President of the United Corporations of America. Dubiously anointed to watch over this great land, he has presided over the greatest corporate leeching and raping of a nation in human history. Thanks to him, the Leviathan has: trampled worker rights, robbed us of our life savings, been granted numerous pollution spewing exceptions, transferred out hundreds of thousands of jobs to low wage slave nations, been granted billions of dollars in tax breaks and government subsidies and has had a perpetual war declared in its interests from which it will reap billions of dollars in profiteering, I mean reconstruction, deals. Installing Bush in office has had its rewards. All this, of course, to the huge detriment of you and I and the future of our progeny.
Since the coup d’etat that overthrew democracy in November 2000, a new paradigm has emerged, one in which the political battles being waged are of such importance and magnitude not just to the politician seeking office, but to the interests of the Leviathan as well. We have reached that most frightening stage in our capitalistic development whereby the unyielding and ever-increasing power of the Leviathan trumps the dwindling power of democracy by the people. Now, more than ever, the idea of democracy is but a barren façade injected into our psyches that gives the illusion that we are active participants in the direction the US is headed towards. In reality, we are nothing but pawns in a system run by the powerful elite oligarchy.
The beginning of the end of democracy as we know it began with that fatefully deceitful election in 2000. What has been the natural and inevitable progression the destructive forces of unhindered capitalism were blindly leading us towards has come to fruition. It is the mixture of government with big business, the combination of state power with that of the Leviathan, of powerful corporate-government elites and oligarchs dancing a jovial waltz of unfettered powermongering, forming one of the most perilous forces to be spawned by man. It is called fascism, brought to our nation by the fluctuating winds of ideology and fraud.
From now on, the Leviathan’s puppetmasters will do everything in their capacity to control the reins of power, and this will include much more calculated, careful and clandestine usurpations of our democratic principles than the almost-botched defrauding that took place in Florida 2000. Democracy in this country is being eroded not by the sands of time but by the expropriators of the electorate.
This recipe for deception that greed has brought onto our shores is common practice in developing nations such as those in Latin America (Mexico for 70 years under the PRI being the perfect example) that purport to be democratic but in reality have run US backed quasi-dictatorships for decades. It is here where the ruling elite minority showcase the mirage of elections simply to contain the populace into a perpetual state of stupor and complacency, creating in the masses the impression that their vote counted in an election that is labeled "clean and democratic."
In the end, widespread fraud has been committed through media and government propaganda and the sheer audacity and old time tradition of stuffing and losing ballots. When it is all said and done, the powerful have their man at the helm and the illusion is created whereby the masses are made to believe that the person who received the most votes now has a national mandate to lead. Of course nothing could be further from the truth. This phenomenon is prevalent at the local, state and national levels of governance. It is a fight for power, money and control, of huge importance to a ruling party of robber barons and scoundrels that can both continue plundering the nation blind and running the nation like their own feudal estate. We are now seeing the reality of this in the US.
The power of the Leviathan is made that much stronger by having a willing puppet sitting in the White House. This can be seen in the incredible amount of laws, appropriations, tax breaks, pork, corporate welfare, privatization of government services, legal indifference, regulations and decisions made by Bush since taking office in favor of those personalities comprising the various parts of the Leviathan. These actions, by consequence, have only served to squander our rights and freedoms by trampling worker rights and wages, civil liberties, pollution laws, social services, education and the like. The pressure has also been exerted on us by creating a sense of fear amongst the population that makes it known that if we do not acquiesce to these changes, we will be labeled and attacked, as in fascist tyrannies, as being "unpatriotic," "treasonous," and "sympathetic to the terrorists." You are "either with us or against us," after all. To protest, seek transparency, accountability and the truth is to be a terrorist traitor, an "enemy combatant."
What the 2000 debacle in Florida manifests is the great lengths the Leviathan – composed of corporations, the military-industrial complex and the oil/energy cartel, and having an ignorant army of foot soldiers called fundamentalist Christians – will go to in assuring for itself the allegiance of the most powerful man on the planet. The election of 2000 simply had to be won, even by a pervasive fraud that disenfranchised voters. We will elect you but you must advance our cause. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. When the insatiable addiction of power and control intermingles inside a molotov cocktail of greed and love for the almighty dollar those who rule will do anything to stay in their perched positions of hereditary and nepotistic circumstance.
What worked in Florida was the embedding of a strong ally of the Leviathan, Jeb Bush, to the state governorship and by consequences the state electoral system, of which the notorious Katherine Harris was in control of. She was not only in charge of the election mechanisms in the state but she was George W. Bush’s Florida campaign coordinator. Now, I am no hound dog, but that sure smells like a conflict of interest to me. A brother and a campaign coordinator basically deciding in favor of Bush, in a state both parties knew would decide the election.
As such, tens of thousands of black eligible voters were purged from the voting records, in essence denied the opportunity to cast a vote by covertly being labeled with a criminal record they did not have or deserve. The vast majority of these voters would have most likely voted for Al Gore. The elimination of thousands of black votes, in a state that was a virtual toss-up, assured Bush of victory, and the Leviathan the Presidency. And, since the votes were black, in destitute and indigent areas, no scandal would be brought to the public conscious by a restrained and corporate-friendly media. The planning for this defrauding of American democracy was extensive, premeditated and meticulous. It is the result of power gone insane, of the consequences of allowing crony capitalism to run rampant, full of money and greed, to corrupt a system that in 220-year-old paper, at least, seemed brilliant. The clandestine sabotage of American democracy had been set in motion.
The election was of paramount importance to the Leviathan and fundamentalist Christian concerns, and today we can see why. The takeover of America has commenced; the fusion of corporate and government power is upon us; the use of religion in government policy and comments is increasing, a police state has been engendered. Democracy is being constricted, our freedoms and rights of speech, protest, assembly and open criticism are methodically being curtailed. Opposition is being silenced, protests squashed. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution are slowly being burned into dark gray ash. Fascism is on the horizon, its black horse riding thunderously through the plains of ignorance, slashing open government treasure and releasing the winds of war in its thrust to empire. We are living in dangerous times, and, if nothing is done soon, our destiny will be forever scarred by the whips of totalitarianism on our way to the gallows of servitude.
Ignorant we grow to the coming chaos, lost among our escapes and fantasies, our patriotism and fear. The corporate Leviathan has swallowed and morphed with government, becoming one and the same, the oligarchy now in possession of the richest nation in history, controlling the most modern army the world has ever seen. The quest to duplicate and surpass the empires of Greece, Rome and England continues; death and destruction, suffering and pillage, these are the times that try men’s souls and which the great books of history forebodingly warn about.
The gradual elimination of democracy begun in November 2000 has continued with the Republican redistricting battle in several states, most notably Texas and Colorado. These blatant operations are done for the sole purpose of disenfranchising mostly minority voters by reshaping districts for the purpose of making them Republican strongholds. These new districts will thus vote Republican, helping send to Congress Tom Delay’s grunts and yes-men. With more firepower, the Republican party (the greater of two evils comprised of traveling salesmen loyal not to us but the Leviathan) can control more aspects of the agenda it wants imposed on the nation. There is a frightening trend taking place, one that subverts democracy throughout our nation for the sake of maintaining in power a force put in place in November 2000 that is gradually robbing us of what this great nation once so proudly stood for.
With Congress under the hypnotizing power of greed and power the Leviathan can more easily move the strings of government. It opens the door to unfettered power in the hands of Bush, who can rule with impunity and complete lack of accountability. His edicts go unchallenged, his secrets remain hidden and slowly but surely he transforms the country into a nation of serfs obedient to our feudal lords. In the vast majority of times, the Bush agenda is a spitting image of the one espoused by the corporate Leviathan that is designed to grant the beast more power to the detriment of the working masses. We are witnessing the metamorphosis of a President ordained by the powers that be to become Dictator. This mutation is transpiring before our ignorant eyes, ever so slowly, ever so clandestinely. When the day comes that our eyes open from our slumber of lethargy we will find ourselves chanting the slogans of autocracy and marching step by step with the armies of despotism.
In California, a democratically elected governor, suffering from fiscal crisis and unlikeability, was used as a scapegoat for the electorate’s ills and anger and was recalled earlier this year thanks to the Republican anti-democracy movement. The Republican brains installed, through propaganda, fascination with stardom and the gullibility of the average Californian, an actor governor who can both help facilitate Bush’s victory in the state in 2004 and facilitate Republican control of state government. What began with the political impeachment of Bill Clinton, ingeniously contrived to garner anger and support from millions of traditional conservative voters into a massive mobilized outpouring of votes for Bush in 2000 under the theme "restoring honor and integrity to the White House," continued with the manipulation in California. Like pawns, conservative voters were used, falling for Republican propaganda in electing Bush in 2000 and Arnold this past fall. The California coup further subverted our democratic beliefs, and we were all willing participants in the Republican/Leviathan plan for maintaining Bush in 2004.
Today, as a continuation of the Bush 2004 plan, the corporate media is already conditioning us to the greatness and virtues of George W. Bush, feeding us incessant propaganda about the "war on terror" and our President’s valor and leadership abilities in times of great uncertainty. The use of fear will be applied like never before to scare us all into voting Bush back in office. 9/11 and its emotions will be exploited, the use of terror will be hammered and emphasized, patriotism and the illusion of freedom will rule the airwaves. The Democratic candidate will be subjected to the greatest smear and negative campaign you will ever see. The Leviathan’s manipulations know no bounds, and this form of democratic erosion may be enough to guarantee a Bush victory next year. When so much is at stake for the Leviathan, it unleashes the fires of hell to guarantee victory.
A little less publicized but more ominous sign of the disappearance of democracy were the congressional elections in Georgia in 2002, where under dubious circumstances Democrat candidates lost elections to underdog Republicans. Now, you might say, that does not mean much, underdogs occasionally do win. What set this election apart, however, was the use of electronic voting machines, and the numerous rumors of fraudulent manipulation of software that spread throughout the state. Other irregularities (such as disappearing, misplaced, shuffled and lost votes) concerning electronic voting machines have been reported in various states throughout the country.
Much more dangerous is the exponentially-growing use of electronic voting machines around the nation that cast votes through touchscreen methods without a paper trail or auditing. Every year, more and more precincts are switching to these voting machines whose manufacturers are owned and operated by supporters of the GOP. One company contracted to provide these machines, Diebold, has in recent months been under fire for leaked emails concerning the stated vulnerability of its machines to outside tampering. Diebold machines do not provide a paper record or printout, thus lending themselves to manipulation. Of course the great worry to democracy is the fact that the CEO of Diebold, Michael O'Dell, is also a huge supported of George W. Bush who has promised to deliver Ohio’s votes to the incumbent President. He has hosted a $600,000 fundraising dinner for Vice President Cheney and Diebold’s board has itself contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns. Another company in the industry, ES&S, was once owned by the Republican Senator from Nebraska, Chuck Hagel.
These machines will naturally be implemented in those areas of the country that can afford them, mostly in white neighborhoods. The threat of fraud through electronic voting machines should not be taken lightly given the fast approaching election of 2004, perhaps the most important vote Americans have and will ever make. With the technology undoubtedly becoming the future, fraud will never be easier. It is hard to stuff 100,000 ballots by hand, but by computer, it is only a click away. A few thousand omissions here, a few thousand additions there and what gets created is an effortless tampering of an election and the gradual evisceration of democracy. Of paramount importance is the transparency and accountability of this growing technology. If left in the wrong hands, democracy as we know it could be a relic of history, nothing but a minor sentence in the grand book of human civilization. Fraud does not disappear with the progress of time, it evolves, and so must we.
In urban, minority areas, usually too financially strapped to purchase expensive Diebold or ES&S machines, older, outdated and easily corruptible machines are used. These machines, which have been used for years in these usually indigent precincts, have consistently been culpable disenfranchisers of the American minority. The debacle in Florida 2000 is a perfect illustration of just how many votes are never counted using outdated machines. Since minorities usually vote Democrat, it is easy to discern who benefits and who does not. This is another sleek and stealthy Jim Crow maneuver by those in power. It is the 21st century version of denying minorities a voice in how their government is run. With the growing number of people of color rising every year, it is in the oligarchy’s best interest to assure that their votes are manipulated, one way or another, so that they do not interfere with the designs of those in power.
There is a method to the madness in all these anti-democracy manifestations, and that is to assure the continuation of oligarchic power in government which in turn leads to corporate Leviathan control over our nation. The intertwined weave of government and big business has begun the process of exploiting us all into the subservient serfs of yesteryear. Corporate control of the government is not a far-fetched illusion; it is reality, it is here and it is now. The Leviathan’s power, wealth and greed are at their apex after years of growing, maturing, subjugating and exploiting. Never has the Leviathan yielded so much strength and influence not only in the confines of this country but throughout the world.
Simply look around you to see the reality that so many of us refuse to acknowledge. Congressional loyalty not to us but the corporate world, a President whose every act only emboldens the Leviathan and augments his own powers, a homogenous corporate media spewing brainwashing propaganda, the usurpation of laws and regulations that once protected workers, education, the environment, the sick, poor, middle class, elderly, children and women. The absurd debt and deficit figures purposely created to shift government spending away from appropriating social services and towards a permanent military economy. Our rights and freedoms are being rolled back, giving way to an authoritarian society catering and empowering only the elite oligarchs. Pollution from their factories kills and sickens hundreds of thousands each year. We are prevented from purchasing prescription drugs from outside the US. Higher education is being made harder to attain. The cost of healthcare is highway robbery, our veterans are swept underneath the rug of apathy. Our taxes support their evils, our children die in their wars, our wallets and sacrifice make them richer and our votes grant them the mandate to do with us as they please. The war against us has been unleashed.
In this assault against us, the Leviathan is slowly but surely chaining us to the dark, stagnant dungeons of fascism, or, in Mussolini’s words, corporatism. The road leading to this form of governance is gradual and stealthy, but the signs all point in this most ignoble direction. After all, Hitler and the Nazis did not rise overnight; it took years of careful planning and orchestration to meticulously prepare the system, and the people. Yet corporatism has many faces and shades of gray, each form evolving differently according to the tools at the rulers’ disposal. Ours is a velvet-like approach that upholds the illusion of liberty, freedom and democratic traditions while disintegrating each one in the most leisurely of ways.
Dark clouds loom in the horizon, the nefarious Leviathan is becoming omnipotent. Its claws are deeply entrenched in the soils of governance, despoiling man and land, air and water. The addiction of power is ruining a once grand system of the people, by the people and for the people, leaving us at the margins of impotence on our passage from noble country of freedom towards degraded beacon of exploitation and avarice. Freedoms we once enjoyed our children will never know existed. Rights we once shared our progeny will only dream about. A nation we once loved our offspring will learn to revile. In the course of human events, what happens in the next ten months might decide the next 100 years of human history and the combined future of over six billion people. These are indeed the times that try men’s souls.
So this Christmas, in the accompanying warmth of family and in the glow of logs cracking bright, take a second to ponder our remaining freedoms and rights. Democracy is dying, the Constitution is going bust, together must we battle, before all we have is lost. To all you who care about this great nation, it is time we erupt into one vast and peaceful conflagration.
Manuel Valenzuela is an attorney, consultant, freelance writer and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel that will be published in 2004. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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