The Greatest Problem of the American People
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 31 Oct 2011
The greatest problem of the American people is threefold in nature: (1) Congress, commonly known as the US government, which formulates and makes laws, (2) Whitehouse, the seat of the US President, who is empowered to set up guidelines and policies that are beneficial to the entire nation, and (3) Supreme Court, composed of nine members each one nominated by the US President but has to be approved by Congress in order to take office.
Branches of US Government
These three branches of the US government were set up by the Founding Fathers of the nation to serve as checks and balances. This means that the American people would be more likely to be protected from any kind of power-abuse. In spite of this, the American people are increasingly becoming more and more nervous. They feel that they have literally ceased to occupy top priority in the overall nation’s agenda. Since actions speak louder than words, this does not need much explanation to discover it.
As a result, the nation plunged into turmoil, which could be traced to a mixture of ignorance or stupidity, power-abuse and corruption as well as conspicuous lack of courage to do what needs to be done fearlessly. According to Socrates, who lived some 2,500 years ago, every problem we encounter could be solved if we were to take the first step. This consists of bringing the problem into the open for everyone to see. Once people become aware of an existing problem, they soon begin to see how this problem would affect them.
When this is discovered, then steps are quickly taken and the problem is eventually solved. This explains why many governments in history feared most their people who could eventually remove them from power. It also explains why many governments feel safe to immerse their people into ignorance by not letting them know what is going on. Let us now analyze carefully how each of the three branches of the US government has emerged to become the greatest problem of the American people.
Congress in Perspective
This body is composed of 100 senators, two from each of the 50 states, and 435 congressmen the number of which varies in each state depending on the number of their respective population. Since political elections in the USA evolved to become a popularity contest, a lot of money is needed for extensive self-advertisement through the major news media: radio, press and television. This is virtually the only way prospective senators and congressmen have to take, in an effort to be elected. Sooner or later, a substantial number of these elected officials begin to show by their actions irresponsibility and corruption.
Needless to say, the bulk of money comes from the rich and big industries. Of course, since both of these elements are involved in the business of making money, all financial assistance given to prospective political figures are always given with strings attached. This means that, in return, the elected senator and congressman must dedicate his/her life not primarily to help the American people in all of their necessities but to develop policies that would make the rich become richer and for corporations to sell their respective products.
We can understand why at this stage of history, the majority of American politicians in Congress do not want to impose any taxes on the millionaires and billionaires. On the contrary, they rather take all money they want from the health and educational needs of the American people. And they would rather continue to make the poor get poorer than develop a program of fairness and balance among all Americans, rich and poor alike. This reveals irresponsibility and disrespect for the American people by all means.
Once senators and congressmen start to become abusive and corrupt they would do anything to get what they want even by literally robbing mercilessly the American people from their hard-earned money. This could be illustrated by the so called “social security” money. All Americans who work have a portion of their paycheck that goes for their social security. This means after they retire, maybe 25, 30 or 35 years later, they will start receiving a monthly paycheck. The social security could be described as the money of people that helps people.
For the members of congress to manufacture more and more devastating weapons and to engage in more and more wars, the latest being Afghanistan and Iraq, they have to spend tens of billions of dollars. So, without the consent of the American people, the US senators and congressmen took the social security money, which was all earned by the people for their future, and put such money into the general fund, from which they began to finance weapons and wars with billions of dollars stolen from the people’s social security money.
In brief, the US Congress has now virtually bankrupted the social security money fund. And to turn an insult into injury, the 2012 Republican presidential candidates are advocating the elimination of the social security money fund! As already stated, this money never belonged to the American government. It always belonged to the American people. Hence, those who have tampered with social security money in the US government have committed a power-abuse crime for which they should be held fully accountable. They should all be prosecuted for treason and be adequately punished with long jail sentences.
Whitehouse in Operation
Anyone that runs to become US President normally reveals a will to alleviate all or some of the manifold problems the American people are facing. However, after the American people elect the one they think would be for them a great asset, they begin to experience frustration and disappointment as the time goes by. The position of the US President is somewhat different in nature from that of both the US Senate and the US House of Representatives. The United States president enjoys executive power.
Every law passed by the US Congress will eventually become effective only after the US President signs it. In fact, the US President has the power of veto. This means if he chooses not to sign the enacted law by Congress it cannot be put into operation. Also, although the US Constitution makes it clear that only the US Congress can declare war, yet the US President may involve the USA into war by-passing Congress. This explains why the USA has so often been engaged in virtually every global conflict since World War II ended in 1945.
This also explains why the USA, which has always been described as the richest nation on earth, is today on the verge of bankruptcy. The recent US wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq have cost the USA already $4 trillion dollars, half of this amount was literally stolen from the hard-earned money of the American people – the social security money. If the US government has destroyed the necessities of life of the American people, how can we expect people of other countries to believe that the USA is there to save their necessities of life?
As St. Thomas Aquinas stated on more than one occasion, nemo dat quod non habet – you cannot give something you do not have. In the 2008 US Presidential race, Barack Obama has impressed Americans with his intelligence and clarity of mind. He made it clear that he would replace struggles and wars with other nations by healthy dialogues and strong diplomacy. He also promised to close the US torturous prison of Guantanamo Bay. Besides, he vouched to end the Iraqi war, which he opposed from the outset.
This good and well-intentioned US President found the hard way that anyone who occupies the Whitehouse has enormous pressure from big corporations whose job is to get what they want by all means. Not only the US Congress but also the US President has to submit, by all means, to the ruthless will of big corporations headed by the weapons industry and the military industrial complex. The executives of these two industries understand fully well that to survive in their business there must always be wars going on; there should always be turmoil not only in the USA but in every global area.
This explains why the military industrial complex and the promotion of wars are viewed, especially by most US politicians, as the Holy Cow, more sacred than God Himself! President Obama has been so much under pressure from Republicans, where their ultimate goal is to oust him from the Whitehouse, that he has compromised his principles beyond comprehension. The Republicans want to continue to protect the rich as to become even richer, while they are literally dumping the poor making them poorer.
Instead of having the US Democratic President drawing the line and be firm with Republicans on a no-matter-what basis, he continues to cave in even at the cost of breaking the promises he made to the American people during the time of election. All of this does not reveal what kind of President Barack Obama happens to be, but it reveals that the real power in the United States is vested neither in Congress not in the Whitehouse but, quite shamelessly and very disgracefully, in big corporations.
US Supreme Court in Reality
The establishment of the US Supreme Court was done with the best of good intentions. But even here, as the traditional saying goes, the way to hell is paved with good intentions. Although it is true that the US Supreme Court proved to be more of an asset in the entire history of its existence, it is still subject to make serious mistakes. Fairly recently, the US Supreme Court, which consists of nine individuals appointed for life, revealed its true color. To comprehend fully well the actions of the US Supreme Court we have to know, in the first place, how did such individuals got there.
When a vacancy occurs, either through death or retirement, then the US President appoints one to fill up this vacancy. However, this nominated individual will take office only if approved by the US Congress. Over the past several decades, the nomination of such individuals was quite predictable. If the US President is a democrat he tends to appoint one who espouses his own political party philosophy and beliefs.
This applies equally well if the US President happens to be a Republican. Fairly recently, the US Supreme Court by 5 to 4 votes, stated that US corporations should be viewed as persons! This brought a tremendous negative reaction that challenges the wisdom of having such members on the Supreme Court for life. These five members that voted for this measure were virtually all Republicans, while those that voted against were obviously democrats. As stated earlier, the Republicans are concerned mainly in making the rich become richer. Republicans do not want to tax the rich even, believe it or not, if they were multi-billionaires.
Until this stated measure was taken by the US Supreme Court, while individuals could donate money as much as they wanted to help elect the candidate of their choice, US corporations were quite limited as to the amount of money they could give in political campaigns. Of course, since the US Supreme Court has just declared that the US corporations should be viewed as “persons,” they are now free to spend unlimited millions of dollars on politicians of their respective choice. Needless to say, we are all aware of the traditional saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The US Supreme Court gave the green light to such corporations to start now giving any amount of money they want without limit. Hence, knowingly or unknowingly, the US Supreme Court took the initiative to literally “legalize” corruption, the mafia type. Former US President Jimmy Carter referred to this US Supreme Court decision as “stupid.” Others were wondering what kind of education these five US Supreme Court members received in their elementary and secondary schools where they learned that in English we have three types of pronouns. They are “he,” “she” and “it.”
“He” is masculine, “she” is feminine, and “it” is neuter. Hence, we use the pronoun “it” to refer to a hospital, school and corporation as well as to a table, chair and door. Maybe former US President Jimmy Carter was absolutely right in referring to this stated US Supreme Court decision as “stupid.” We are all familiar with the proverb: To err is human, to forgive divine but to persist in error is diabolical. In view of this, we have to realize that it is never wise in planet earth to have an individual to stay in power of any kind for life.
The time for the US Supreme Court members to have a limited term has definitely arrived. Besides, the American people must begin to become fully involved in seeing to it that those that represent them in the US Congress, the Whitehouse and the US Supreme Court do show in their actions that their primary concern is the welfare of all the American people. All US citizens have a sacrosanct right by natural law for adequate residential facilities, a good health care system and a free education from the cradle to the grave.
The members of the US Congress must make it clear that the time for the USA to solve social problems everywhere through wars has now become a thing of the past. Unless the United States works closely with the United Nations in developing seriously an international program of disarmament and arms control, the American people will continue to be seriously misguided by these three branches of the US overall government. Those who occupy a position of some kind in the US government need to keep the following in mind.
Backbone of the Nation
The American people are the backbone of the nation. We have a strong country not when we have a strong military but when we have healthy people that are properly educated and who enjoy living in adequate facilities. Besides, let us keep in mind that honesty is the best policy, which means we should realize that the weapons industry wants to keep in business through the never-ending of wars. For such an industry people are merely means to reach their money-making goals, regardless of how many innocent people are killed.
In view of this, the three branches of the US government should keep in mind the words of US President Dwight Eisenhower who warned the United States Congress saying: Every dollar you spend on weapons and wars is a theft from the hungry and the poor. We should add that the excessive money that is spent on weapons and wars constitutes an abuse of power in a number of ways especially when we consider that many in the US government became rich as a result. What amazes many is the hypocrisy of some US government officials.
The United States claims to be a predominantly Christian nation where God is revered in the open and where Jesus is viewed as the Master Teacher with great respect and reverence. Yet, anything that this Master Teacher of Nazareth taught and with which US government officials disagree, is simply dumped into the garbage literally. Ironically, this is observed systematically and with regularity among those who view themselves politically as conservatives! Let us bring a practical example to illustrate this vividly.
When the apostle Peter took off the sword to defend his Master, Jesus did not hesitate to tell him: “Put the sword away for he who kills by the sword will die by the sword.” And on another occasion Jesus warned his disciples saying: “Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away.” The USA, in resorting to weapons and wars to continue to solve global conflicts, has chosen the path to its own tribulations, with the American people ending up suffering as a result. The US three branches of government need to make the welfare of the American people a top priority that comes above anything else.
Charles Mercieca, Ph.D. – President, International Association of Educators for World Peace, Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education, Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament.
-Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University.
-Hon President & Professor, SBS Swiss Business School, Zurich.
-Member, TRANSCEND-A Network for Peace, Development and Environment.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 31 Oct 2011.
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