The 18th Century had its radicals who early on sought as a result of the tyranny of King George and Lord North independence from England. By the 1770’s each colony had a leading radical, among these radicals but not including all of them were, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, and Thomas Jefferson of the most populous colony Virginia. Massachusetts had Samuel Adams and Joseph Hawley. Charleston, South Carolina had Joseph Henry Drayton.
Who do we have today to stand up for average Americans in the campaign for President or in Congress? Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton come to mind. We need more people to speak up against the outrage of the plutocrats and monied interests who seek to silence our representatives through lobbyists and campaign contributions. The Wall Street Lobby, the Oil Lobby and the Israeli Lobby are so powerful it is difficult to find anyone who has the courage to stand up against the persuasive corrupting influence of their money and power. Our Representatives in Washington are supposed to do what is best for America, not what is best for banks, big oil or Israel.
For those of you who may think I am picking on one particular political party for criticism, I would challenge any Republican to name a leading Republican economic populist who challenges the oligarchs and plutocrats on behalf of the average American. The Republican Party has become the cheerleaders for Corporate America and the billionaire class. In the old days they would have been called the Royalists or Loyalists.
The power of money is no less dangerous and in some ways more dangerous than the power of a King. At least if we had a King or Queen who was Lording over America, we could focus our ire against one person. It is far more difficult when the people responsible for our elected’s cowardice are invisible, people without a face but who have a big checkbook.
Before we had the Declaration of Independence, we had people like George Mason working on a Declaration of Rights for the people of Virginia.
Today’s conservatives do not want to conserve our rights but rather they seek to take them away. On every front, so-called conservatives want to take us back to a time when there were fewer rights. They want to make our country a Christian nation where religion and the Bible are seen as being more important than the laws of men or what our Constitution says. They would have property rights be superior to equality. They seek to divide us by encouraging a misguided perception of what Federalism is. They would give make states more powerful than the Federal government. They talk about using acts of Nullification to disobey Federal law. They would make voting more difficult instead of making it easier. Most importantly conservatives do not support campaign finance reform. They would give more power to the wealthy by giving them more of a voice than those without money by supporting Citizens United. They would stand democracy on its head in order to insure that our new aristocracy has more power than we the people.
My fellow Americans what we need is a new Declaration of Rights and a new Declaration of Independence.