Back in 1776 our Founders brought something new to the world, Democracy, a new freedom for all citizens of the new United
States of America. It was all described and written down in our Declaration of Independence, our Bill of Rights, and our
But, I have some thoughts and doubts about our present United States so called democracy. Democracy as written in the
documents attributed to our founders describes something entirely different than what our citizens of today actually enjoy.
According to what I understand, and what is written, we are all, each and every one of us, FREE. We have religious
freedom, we have individual freedoms, to work at the jobs we like, to go to the places of worship we like, to attend the
schools we like, to live where we like, and to do any and all things we like as long as it does not interfere or harm our
neighbors who have the same freedoms. We can even run for public office if we like and early on many good citizens did just
that for about the first 50 years of America. But, then things began to change. Not only did it take a popularity contest,
but it began to take money, lots of it. No longer was it very affordable for the ordinary citizen to walk about a town, a
district, a state, or even the country to convey his views. Simple welcomes to a town or district, where a free meal or room
might be available to a candidate, and a few dollars might be collected to help pay for the trip to the next town, began to
turn into big fund raisers. And finally big business got into the act, because it soon found out that a substantial
contribution put the candidate on its side when it came to legislation favorable to that business. Check out the Drug
Companies, the Insurance Companies, or the Big Oil Companies of today.
And, now, today is our free democratic country really free and democratic? Not as I see it. If you think that being able
to cast a ballot every year or so for some issue or for some candidate from one party or another is a free democracy as our
founders envisioned it, then you better look around. Even free elections are no longer free, some state official takes it
upon himself/herself to ‘fix’ the results by declaring who is to vote, where to vote, what ID qualifies you to vote, etc,
etc, etc. Just check out your own district or state and check the voting laws. That is not our democracy; it was never set
up that way. Laws that favor one person over another or one group over another, according to our constitution are not legal.
But now, to challenge such laws takes lawyers, who overcharge, judges who are appointed by the party in power, and if a law
even gets to the Supreme Court for a ruling even those judges owe somebody something, because they were put there by a
‘party’ president and approved by the ‘party’ in power.
These are just a few things to point out. But, let’s look forward to the next election. It already is in full swing,
even if it is over a year and a half away. Almost 16 months away from any party convention that is supposed to pick their
candidates. Already dozens of candidates are running about the country spending millions of dollars collected from wherever
they can get it. A little 25 buck contribution from me or other ‘just ordinary folk’ don’t pay for the gasoline to the next
town. So why would I waste my hard earned 25 bucks on any candidate when whatever they say or whatever they may be for will
never happen as long as their funds are from those who can give the millions it takes to stay in the endless campaign
trail that will go on endlessly, to the point that most citizens will no longer pay attention to the meaningless,
When we do finally get a new elected official, who will that person be for? Not you or me, even if we exercised our
‘democratic’ right and voted. They owe their office and their ass(pirations) to whoever paid for them. The big
corporations, who else? Supposedly it is illegal for Corporations to give large amounts of their money to candidates, but
somehow it seems to get to them by lobbyists and others with fat wallets. And look at what these big money grubbers do, even
when they get all the breaks they possible can from the lawmaker they paid for, they move their offices and plants into other
countries to avoid taxes and get cheap labor, and then still expect good ol’ America to love ‘em.
Back in 1776 a few citizens had a belly full of the king, and decided to stand up on their hind legs and tell him to take
his tea and taxes to hell. I think if we want our Democracy, then we better begin to stand up on our own hind legs again
and start taking it back.
God bless all the Cindy Sheehan’s, all the anti war demonstrator/s, and any demonstrators for any cause, all the union
members who fight for labor's right to organize and get a decent wage, and any one who fights big business which controls the
world for its use alone.
We seem to be fighting a war to bring democracy to a country that has no idea what democracy is, while we are giving our
own democracy up to big money, to politicians who are elected by big money contributions that keep them in office, and to
administrations who are hell bent on having all the power they want without regard to our constitution and its laws.
Sometimes, we think we have changed to something better by really getting out to vote and even succeeding in kicking out a
few bad apples. Has anybody noted any change we thought we voted for? Not really. We only got a few richer ones for the
ones who could not afford to compete. Money talks, not citizens. We may need another 1776 to again become a democracy.
Leo C. Helmer.
Click on author's byline for bio.