Blogger-SMS | Déjà Vu ~ Times

Broken Pillars

Author: A. Sobkowski
ruins of a Roman Temple
from Wikimedia Commons
Creative Commons Attribution/Share-alike license

In the Great Courses®, Foundations of Western Civilization II series, Professor Robert Bucholz reminds us in the very first lecture, that “Above all, European culture produced certain ideas that have become pillars of our culture:

1. ‘All men are created equal.’
2. ‘No taxation without representation.’
3. ‘The people united can never be defeated.’
4. A free press.
5. Limited government.
6. Innocence until proof of guilt.
7. Judgment by a jury of peers.”

Prof. Bucholz does not ask this question, but this writer does. Why are these foundational pillars of our democracy so transparently broken in this sophisticated 21st Century? Consider:

▪ [Faux*-]Citizens United that entrenched even further the plutocracy of a corrupted system wherein corporate power and wealth make a mockery of equality.

▪ Plutocratic corporations that complain of unfair tax rates, yet seldom pay the rate and seldom suffer significant consequence, leaving the middle and lower classes to take up the tax-slack in a corrupted government in which real citizens have only faux representation.

▪ Corporate HyPEs (Highly Paid Employees) who beat the media drums of culture and social war against any who dispute the legitimacy of illegitimate reign—dividing citizens into divisive camps of beloved propagandites and reviled fact-finders.

▪ A press caught in the spin of false witness, half-truths, mammon-mongering, pandering, fear-baiting, ratings wars, and Murdoching. Where is press freedom when ad dollars kill stories, ideology trumps analysis, job security buys soul, and profit reigns supreme?

▪ Where limited government means—“too weak” to control the excesses, crimes, and corruptions of multinationals, but unlimited enough to bail out avarice; subsidize corporate profits; grant massive favors; and then to pass the costs to the people.

▪ When proof of guilt is in the mind of the Chief Beholder; when habeas corpus means to bring the body secretly to Guantanamo (et other secret places); where guilt is presumed and thereafter “confirmed” via torture.

▪ Where a “jury of peers” means authoritarian elites in secret, hearsay- or speculation-driven sessions. Where fair trials are precluded by national security claims and rights exclusions, though sometimes (preferably?) pre-empted by assassination. By what low road have we come to openly cheering assassination and defending torture in the “land of the [formerly] free”?

The pillars are shattered and broken, folks! Another déjà vu!

The only hope to rebuild and restore them is in a united, informed citizenry—rejecting the abuses and propaganda of the far right and the far left and the 14th Amendment-based person-hood of corporations. And to ask ourselves at every step: Can we ever rebuild if we fail to honor, in every instance, the virtues of those pillars (especially in relation to perceived opponents or enemies)?

How grateful we should be for the many unsung, relatively unknown activists who are in the trenches, already at work in various aspects of restoration. Fifteen have been profiled in the recent issue of Yes! Magazine.**

* Author’s contention: Every corporation is a faux-person and thus a faux-citizen despite the alleged 1886 SCOTUS ruling.
** Winter 2010: for other positive works see,