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332 Landslide

332 Landslide

February 11, 2008

Democracy not = to Capitalism

Democracy is not the same as Capitalism

1. government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
2. a state having such a form of government: The United States and Canada are democracies.
3. a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges.
4. political or social equality; democratic spirit.
5. the common people of a community as distinguished from any privileged class; the common people with respect to their political power.
* Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary

1.Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
2.A political or social unit that has such a government.
3.The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
4.Majority rule.
5.The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.
[French démocratie, from Late Latin dēmocratia, from Greek dēmokratiā : dēmos, people; see dā- in Indo-European roots + -kratiā, -cracy.]
*The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

cap·i·tal·ism /ˈkæpɪtlˌɪzəm/ Pronunciation[kap-i-tl-iz-uhm]
–noun an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, esp. as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

[Origin: 1850–55; capital1 + -ism]
* Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary

n. An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.

*The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.

Yet we do seem to have merged the two into some abhorrent mutant. The point of democracy is to level the playing field, everyone has a voice. Today it seems, more than ever, only people with money have a voice. Many a public policy has been made based on the popularity of an issue or item and this information is based on dollars spent. Many people follow the the two major political party's lead simply because they believe that if they raise that kind of money, many people must agree with them, they can't all be wrong. In basis, this theory will hold a little water, but in fact it will sink in the end as just a few very wealthy people (relatively) contribute huge amounts of cash.

I have a bit of renewed hope with the onset of the internet, we have our voices back. But I am sure there were people just as revitalized by the printing press, the radio and the television. Those mediums did do a lot to bring information to the masses, from hometown to around the world and so did do a lot to raise our voices. The state of those mediums today, all in the hands of the wealthy few twisting, slanting and outright banning certain topics, well... lets just try to get as much from this new medium while it is in our hands.

Recently I went in search of online campaigns for the 2008 US presidential elections. What I found was dismal. The 2 major party's sites were of course flashy, and state of the art but were still really just giant commercials. Not very connected to the people they should have been addressing. The other parties, what I found of them online, were at the bottom of a very deep chasm if the D&R's were on the hill. The Green party's news feed hadn't been updated since dec7'07, spelling errors were noted by me and that's saying something! Ad promo's were dated 2006, including audio and video selections. Nothing from '07/'08 at all. It was hard to find the current candidates and the party seemed very unorganized. Their principals are something I find a lot of people are interested in but with the current mindset of "capimocracy", without the trappings the big money buys, people think there can't be many other people that agree with them, they must be wrong and so am I. In a discussion on the topic with a friend a few days ago, that was the answer he gave. "If people agreed they would put their money behind it".

My folks are on a fixed income, they did a little saving and are pretty well off in retirement however their idea of a donation to the party is about $25. My sister works in health care and has children/grandchildren, though she was recently able to become a homeowner in lieu of a renter she doesn't have it in her budget to make more than a $10-$20 donation. I have another sister who is recently divorced after 15 years and while she was able to head back to school and start a new career she is back in a renting situation and also couldn't afford to donate much more than $50-$100. My friend has 4 children, last year she was in a position to start a business and build for her family's future. She took a huge chance and did a great job, until flooding closed her down for 2 months. One week or maybe even two closed would have been hard but recoverable, 2 months were not. She lost her business and in course her home. She is now an hourly employee and a renter. She cannot afford to donate anything to a political party. Another friend attends a church for recovering addicts. Most have just come from stints in rehab, or are children of addicted parents. Most are unemployed all are renters, mostly of a room in someone else's home. My next door neighbor was injured on the job. He was unable to return to work. He applied for various programs to assist him in keeping a roof over his families head and food in their stomachs. Unemployment runs out, L&I disputes and meetings and hearings go on forever. He lives with his parents now. He cannot afford to donate to a political party this year.

These are the good stories. There are plenty of people who never were as lucky as these, and won't be in the future. There are plenty of good people in circumstances that don't allow them to donate hard earned money to make their valid, hard earned opinions known. Because they can't afford it, does that make them less worthy of a vote? Abraham Lincoln, while his family began relatively affluent, ultimately lived on public land after the death of his mother and issues with land ownership. I doubt he would have had money to spare for a donation to a political party in those days, do you think his opinions were invalid because he didn't have extra cash? Really?

I'm all for capitalism, don't get me wrong. It is not the same as democracy, it should not be mixed up in democracy. If you tend to think, as the mainstream (media) would have you think, that people who make money are smarter and so their votes are of higher quality then please read the above again. We have the opportunity, perhaps only for a time, to take control and have our voices heard regardless of our ability to pay! Set aside time each day to do a little research on your politicians, local and federal. Spend a little more time writing down your thoughts opinions and ideas. Take just a few more moments to make contact with other people to discuss the issues. Donate some time (perhaps taken from watching commercial laden television, trying to convince you your life is not complete unless you have a summer home, or a second car or? requiring you to work more and spend less time at home with family and on issues that effect your family) to spread the word, at meetings and on the internet. Your life is unique, your opinion counts, make sure you are heard!

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