The electoral college is a tool which maintains political power within a certain circle. It means that the popular vote for president every four years doesn’t legally elect the President of the United States, and it is written into the Constitution of the United States. Keeping citizens divided has been a tool of the powerful since before the nation’s inception, utilized by many different groups in our two-hundred-plus years rather successfully. Whether through:
a class system which kept poor white farmers from voting in the early Republic, or
black codes which ensnared newly freed citizens of African descent while “grandfathering” in those same poor whites, or
Chinese Exclusion laws which prevented only residents of Chinese birth from becoming naturalized citizens, or
the Bracero Program which shipped Mexicans in to work and shipped them out when the work was done, or
“separate but equal” Jim Crow laws constitutionally approved by the Supreme Court, or
“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act which still segregates and disenfranchises citizens today,
keeping the poor and uneducated focused on their own privileges while claiming that they are “endangered” by “others” has proven a successful tactic historically.
Today, the Arizona legislature, the Ohio legislature, and the Scott Walkers of the world are pitting the working citizens of the United States against each other using the same tactics. And their misdirection appears to be working. The “Tea Party” movement, engineered by Dick Armey and co-opted for fifteen minutes by Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, is simply the White Citizen’s Council with better makeup. The Wisconsin Republican Party is the new face of the Gilded Age’s robber barons, shamelessly paying placed politicians for the political support to deny rights to the poor and working classes. We’ve even seen Representative Peter King channeling Senator Joe McCarthy, attempting to taint an entire group as subversive and extremist with his Congressional hearings on “Muslim radicalization in America.”
The false equivalencies of deficit v. entitlements, or civil rights v. national security, or citizens v. illegals manage to keep all of the participants, both the have a littles and the have nots, focused on each other instead of the Koch brothers and the Boehners, who are reaping the financial and political windfall while we fight for the scraps.
The power of the United States rests on the just application of the American Ideals of equality, opportunity, liberty, rights and democracy. It rests on the government mandate to “secure the rights”, “promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty,” for all. When any of these are abused, or usurped, as they are in Wisconsin, Arizona, Ohio and on the national stage, they are endangered for all citizens, regardless of race or color.