January 12, 2012 journal, are we a democracy or a republic the question is often asked. We were formed as a republic but we are no Republic and we are not a democracy either. I cannot believe what my eyes see and my ears hear describing what we really are by now. "Okay, okay. As some self-appointed representative of the cocktail cognoscenti will now unfailingly point out whenever anyone in the room mentions the "D" word, WE DO NOT LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY. And, yes, Madison, Hamilton, and Jay made that absolutely clear when they quite deliberately used the word "republic" in the Federalist Papers. What we have wrought, Madison reminds us through the ages, is a "commercial republic." Madison apparently did not contemplate the possibility of a "corrupt republic" or what to do in the event that the commercial republic - that marvelous engine of progress - was at some point in the far-distant future hot-wired and hijacked. Too bad because that far-distant future Madison failed to consider has arrived. Some readers, even those highly critical of our current system, will no doubt take exception to the thesis that the US is the MOST corrupt republic. What about the Democratic Republic of the Congo? Surely that's more corrupt than the US. True enough, but the DRC isn't really a republic. Neither is Syria, North Korea, Rwanda, or Russia. All four claim this distinction, but only Russia belongs in the debatable column. In fact, most countries in today's world call themselves "republics" but only a few dozen meet the most basic criterion, the acid test. What's the acid test? Free and fair elections." "This is really good worthwhile stuff.) http://www.nationofchange.org/world-s-most-corrupted-republic-1346419376 By this definition, the United States has arguably been a republic for only about 45 of the 224 years of its existence (from 1965 to 2010) - or about one-fifth of its lifespan. At its inception, the United States was an infantile republic, at best. That is to say it enshrined a severely constricted form of popular sovereignty as only propertied white males of a certain age were allowed to vote (and slaves, of course, had no rights at all). That infantile condition persisted even after the Civil War ended slavery (most African-Americans, of course, continued to be shut out of the political process by Jim Crow laws in the South for another century). Women continued to be denied the vote until the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920! Only then did the possibility of achieving the status of a mature republic begin to materialize; it did not become a reality until the 1960s with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Vietnam War marred that historic achievement but did not vitiate it. In fact, the role of the electorate in the course of that unpopular war is instructive. First, in 1968 voters turned LBJ, an incumbent president, out of office in wartime (contrast that result with the re-election of FDR to third and fourth terms during WWII). Second, despite having rejected anti-war candidate George McGovern in 1972, the country backed a massive student protest movement that forced the US to withdraw from Vietnam. And it was this same outbreak of student activism that led to passage of the 26th Amendment giving 18-year-olds the right to vote in 1971. So it is that in the turbulent years 1965-1971, the US matured into a full-blown republic. At long last, all adults (except convicted felons) had the right to vote regardless of race, gender, or wealth. But if voting qualifications based on wealth (property ownership) limited the legitimacy of elections as instruments of majority rule in 1789, we are again witnessing a phenomenon that severely limits elections as an expression of the general will or a pathway to policy in the service of the public interest. The growing wealth gap, the power of television to shape public perceptions of reality, and the unrestricted flow of private funds into political campaigns combine to transform Madison's "commercial republic" into a republic so corrupted by billionaire bankers, hedge fund managers, venture capitalists, and casino moguls that voters can expect no honesty, truth, or even serious discourse from the politicians who run for office. Under such circumstances elections are a farce. How did we get to this impasse? There's no simple answer, but the Reagan Revolution that eulogized the "free" market and deregulated business and banking while cutting taxes and pursuing a costly futuristic "Star Wars" military fantasy played a big role in radically changing the distribution of wealth and power in this country. The Bush tax cuts finished what Reagan started. Since the early 1980s, the rich have gotten fabulously richer while the middle class has gone sideways or backwards. But even this widening wealth gap that now defines and drives the US economy doesn't explain what's happened to the political system. The fact that wealth easily translates into political power is nothing new. But it's never been so easy as it is now. In 2010 five judges sitting on the United States Supreme Court opened the floodgates, ruling that any amount of private money spent to influence the outcome of public elections counts as a form of free speech protected under the First Amendment. According to the reasoning of the five "deciders" in the Citizens United case, campaign finance reform aimed at protecting or restoring the integrity of elections is therefore unconstitutional! In other words, in the opinion of these five judges freedom of political expression is essentially a function of wealth. The richer you are, the more freedom you have to amplify your voice. In this novel interpretation, the voice of the poor is inaudible, while the voice of the middle class is heard, if at all, only as a kind of muffled back ground noise largely unintelligible to anyone who fails to tune into FOX News regularly. So on the eve of another presidential election let's be crystal clear about what's happened to the republic it took us so long to build. It is being utterly corrupted and debilitated by massive injections of big-money "heroine" directly into the veins of the body politic. So long as millionaire politicians can turn to billionaire bankers and oil barons for carloads of cash they need to stay in office, so long as the dirty dance of collusion, bribery, and legalized corruption continues to decide the fate of the nation, elections will be meaningless. And this republic cannot stand against the most basic test of legitimacy." One comment-"He is right on the appearance of things but he never once references true authority which is YAHOVAH. Man can never solve his problems. Man is the problem. Man needs to quit trying to be God and acknowledge the LAW of YAHOVAH as all authority, then he will hear from Heaven and heal our land." The secret obscure masterminds behind it all is the Antichrist that controls America and the world through the Supreme Rothschild banking system that supplied the Russians the money for their Christian killing revolution in 1917 and Hitler's Nazi regime in the 30's. Politics is now politically correct and God Almighty is forbidden to ever be recognized.