Minority Rule

The latest head count on the population of the U.S. is 333,516,310 human beings. In the 2020 national election, almost 160,000,000 of them cast a vote. The most important contest was between the incumbent President and his challenger. The incumbent received 74,222,958 votes, while the challenger amassed 81,283, 098 backers. Clearly, it was a defeat for the incumbent. Close to a year later, he and his supporters insist the election was stolen. Okay. We are all entitled to our personal opinions, but not our personal “facts”.

However, elections have been stolen before. The most notorious of such outcomes being the 2000 election, when the decision came down to the state of Florida. Some newscasts called Florida for Al Gore, which would determine the electoral college vote for his victory. Then, oddly, some might say suspiciously, those concluding Gore had won the state had to retract their proclamations and suddenly Florida was up for grabs. It took until December 12–about five weeks after election day–for the race to be decided by the Supreme Court, which by a 5-4 ruling forbid any further attempts for a valid final vote tally for either Gore or Bush. Just by sheer coincidence, right?, the 5 Supremes who voted to STOP COUNTING VOTES were all quite of the the conservative ilk, while the other four were desiring of voters in Florida, for either candidate, to have the final say in who won the state and thus the presidency. In other words, SCOTUS, by a SINGLE vote, literally installed G.W. Bush as President. When all the Florida ballots were credibly accounted for some time latter, it was revealed that Gore had indeed more votes than Bush. Gore won Florida. He won the election. Except for that one vote difference by the Supremes, which rendered almost 51,000,000 votes for Gore null and void. Gore won the popular vote by almost 500,000. But by that one vote margin, W was allowed to illegitimately claim victory.

There is still an idea of the United States being a democracy. That is, the people decide who they want in office–from the most insignificant local post to whom will occupy the White House. In my humble personal opinion (but informed by stone-cold facts) such an idea of “majority rule” is now rather quaint and illusory a notion.

How many other 5-4 decisions has SCOTUS pronounced that are tantamount to dictating against the many in favor of the few? By that same single vote, SCOTUS has declared corporations as “people” and money as “free speech”. Thus the rich can literally buy a politician and have that person do their bidding. For instance, there is Joe Manchin, marinated in Big Oil, Big Coal and other nefarious corporate donations that serve the few over the many. Oh, and Krysten Sinema. She’s bought and paid for by GOP donations that seek to maintain a profit over progress agenda going. The irony here is these two are Democrats! With each being a senator in a 50-50 split between the Republican and Democrats (including a couple of Independents who caucus with the Donkey Party) they essentially rule the roost when it comes to legislation being promoted by their OWN PARTY to help the many, rather than the few. Ha! As someone famously said “I am not affiliated with any organized political party. I am a Democrat!”

Democracy? Back to SCOTUS. A 5-4 vote to gut the Voting Rights Act. 5-4 to allow Texas to impose an Handmaid’s Tale form of ownership of the female reproductive system. There are many other 5-4 outcomes that conform to what has been a conservatively controlled SCOTUS for decades now. The most notorious of these conservative jurists is Clarence Thomas. The fact that he was confirmed by a senate controlled by the Democrats 57-43 is galling enough. That our current occupant of the White House, Joe Biden was the Chair of that confirmation hearing is disgusting enough. Well done, Democrats. Always looking out for we the people.

If one still wants to consider the U.S. a democracy, one isn’t really paying much attention to how so few people have wielded such power to keep the many from from having their voices heard and listened to. The polls show that a majority of Americans want healthcare that is guaranteed and affordable in this richest nation on Earth. They want action taken to fight climate change that is wreaking havoc around the globe. They want jobs that pay a living wage, provide for their safety and gives them reasonable benefits in this richest nation on Earth. They want education to be affordable in this richest nation on Earth. Unfortunately, even when the “party of the people” has the White House the House of Representatives and a 51-50 senate advantage (VP Harris would be the deciding vote) absolutely nothing changes.

The 2020 election was the people saying enough already! Can we please have our democracy back? Can this richest country on Earth quit selling its soul to grifters, rustlers, thugs, nitwits, dimwits, cutthroats, bait-and-switchers, nihilists, plutocrats, oligarchs, tinhorn dictator wannabes, empty suits, money grubbers, racists, xenophobes, misogynists and overall rotten people?

Recent history would suggest that is a pipedream. The reality is recent history–as James Joyce once said–is a nightmare from which I need to awake. Sadly 81,000,000 people may have shouted WAKE UP! to the system of governance at hand. Alas, in bitter irony, we have a guy referred to as Sleepy Joe in charge now.

About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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