Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Nation is Going to the Rich Dogs!

I am one Democrat living in a very real and deep fear for the future of our nation. I recently sat my dog down and made him chat with me about this anger and hostility that I’ve got bottled up inside me.
by Charlie Leck
I turned to my dog several times over the last couple of days with questions that have been plaguing me. You must first understand that my dog is a fellow of lofty intelligence. Don’t think of him as a dog! He has more degrees and academic awards hanging around the house than do I. For instance, we have hung his degree from the Animal Humane Society, which is called the Canine Good Citizen Award, right inside the most used entrance to our house so people can see it. It was, perhaps, the most difficult of all his awards and degrees for him to achieve. As a young fellow, while he was working on it, he liked to “cut up” a bit in classes and fool around with the dollies he met there. But, he was just a kid back then. He overcame those bouts of mischievous behavior and it was a proud day when he came home with his grand certification and happily showed it to us. His Read Dog certificate hangs near where I am now pecking out this little blog. He likes this activity because it requires only that he laze around some little kids while they read stories to him. Though the stories are a bit beneath him most of the time (he prefers Russian novels in the original language), he does like the petting that usually comes along with the read. Of course, the document for which both he and we are most proud is his Therapy Dog Degree. That hangs in a most prominent place in mother’s office.
So, where was I? Oh, yes. I was talking with this pal of mine very recently and just put to him the question that has been so troubling me lately.
“Jasper,” I said to him, “why is it that the citizens of this good country are so willing to give up their political voice and power to a small group of super-wealthy citizens and to the giant corporations of the world?”
His face showed clearly that this was an interrogative that he has spent some time thinking about and about which he is nearly as dumbfounded and confused as am I. His head tilted and bobbed from side to side as I posed the query. He gave a snort of dismay and shook his head vigorously, the metal license tag and medal of rabies certification, hanging together on his collar, clanging away as he did. The look of disgust on his face was like nothing I had ever seen before.
“Maybe,” I stumblingly said to him, “we should start by trying to understand the difference between an oligarchy and a plutocracy. Could we start there?”
The dog sat up at that point and shook his head vigorously and I could see the excitement in his eyes and his tail began wagging with significant speed. Together, we chatted about the two forms of societal ordering and structuring of government power that now threaten the United States of America.
An oligarchy must be understood as a form of government slightly different than a plutocracy.
Pluto remains a literary hero for my dog and, therefore, he wanted to talk about that societal system first. My dog explained to me that the term itself comes from the Greek ploutus, which means wealth, and kratos, which is power and dominion. Quite simply put, we are talking about government commanded by the wealthy even though these citizens might not have a consistent political philosophy or manner of governing. In the minds of modern societies the term is generally th0ught of in the pejorative sense because plutocratic rule is usually assumed by the wealthy in rather clandestine or fraudulent manners.
I was impressed, at this point, that my dog understood such terms as pejorative.
To get serous again, we both could sense the growing fear in the nation that the wealthy are moving toward assuming such power and control over the wheels of government. My dog growled rather fiercely when I used the word SCOTUS.
“Easy, boy! What’s the problem anyway?”
Well, my dog knew very well about the recent actions of SCOTUS (the Supreme Court of the United States). “Citizens United” was not a new term for him and he was able to break down for me the essence of the SCOTUS decision that allows unlimited forms of political spending by both corporations and the wealthiest of individuals.
“If my dog can figure it out,” I thought to myself, “why the hell can’t so many of the citizens of the country?”
“Even a dumb dog,” he said to me, “would understand how seriously this decision has destroyed the sense of political equality that individuals formerly sensed and in which they took great pride.”
“Yes, indeed!” I agreed aloud with him. “I no longer can be confident that I am politically equal to any other citizen in the country. The sense that one man equals one vote is no longer anything that I take for granted. Under the decisions of SCOTUS, I no longer have that confidence and certainty.”
“Yup,” he replied, imitating Scoopy Doo, one of his favorite television cartoon characters. “Yup! Yup! Yup!”
“If someone had told me, forty years ago,” I said to him as I shook my head, “that this nation would be on a downhill runaway toward becoming a plutocracy, I never would have believed it.”
He shook his head vigorously and shrugged his shoulders in absolute dismay. We both sat in silence until he broke it with a question.
“Should we talk about an oligarchy and what that is? That’s also from the Greek, isn’t it?”
He sat very attentively as I explained that it was, and that oligos meant “the few” and that arko was “to rule or command.”
“Yes,” he said, with a strong sense of agitation in his voice, “and it is what our founding fathers expressly wanted to avoid. The establishment of a Republic, where each and every citizen would be represented by someone elected by the people, was the government of choice by our founders.”
I nodded as he spoke. He deserved all his degrees. He was one bright fellow.
“Why then,” I began with such a deep sense of loathing and bemoaning, “had SCOTUS delivered such singular power and influence to the richest of the rich?”
In reply, my dog could only growl and show his teeth, deeply angry over the seeming demise of the Republic under the watch of the current Supreme Court.
“I’ve got to work in the yard this morning,” I said to him, standing up and stirring somewhat, “do you want to go outside with me.”
He leaped for joy. His tail wagged furiously and he began bouncing about the kitchen. I pulled off my good Cutter & Buck shirt and pulled on my new, black Bernie Sanders for President t-shirt that had just arrived in the mail. Better for yard work, I thought. The dog noticed.
“Bernie is the only one making sense these days,” my dog growled out. “Bernie and that woman from Massachusetts.”
“Yup,” I replied, and headed toward the yard. My big, black dog bounded on ahead of me. He looked back at me and shouted.
“I wonder if they could run together and get elected!”
“You know! Bernie and that woman?”
My dog was onto something; or, he was on something!


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1 comment:

  1. Smart dog. It must be the environment. I saw that lady from MA on the Daily Show. I agree with your dog.