Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The dangerous trends before us somehow do not get us out to vote

Voter apathy.  In 2012, Utah’s favorite son Mitt Romney vied for U.S. President.  Even at that, the state of Utah achieved only a negligible bump in voter turnout.

Think about the state of our state, country and world.  Just recently, a 29-year-old outs the NSA, telling the press something the public should already know, but he gives details on the expansiveness of government surveillance.

Too, conservatives seem to be denouncing everyone but white males; including Latinos, the LGBT community, women, and even our voting rights.  They carved up and diluted anything-but-Republican citizen votes in 2011 through computer analyzed redistricting.  

Today America witnessed the U.S. Supreme Court remove critical nondiscrimination language from The Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Rather, how about broadening its scope to prevent voter abuse currently skirting the VRA law, such as preventing the reduction of voting hours in poor neighborhoods, and stopping redistricting bias against political ideology?

The U.S. House of Representatives slid one under the radar recently and easily passed a bill eliminating the publishing of CEO pay originally implemented in the Dodd-Frank Act to prevent another Great Recession.

In 2009, the Supreme Court decided corporations are people too.  

And the worst shredding of common sense?  Earth.  Let’s just siphon the guts out of the crust and insert tainted water through drilling and fracking, adding dangerous amounts of CO2 and methane into our finite atmosphere.  President Obama’s climate change speech today?  Fantastic, once again, one more time. The easy sound bite by many politicians “but oil is jobs” is a cop out; a “this is how we’ve always done it” approach.  It will not sustain our Earth and future generations.

Oil refining exacerbates the air along the Wasatch Front; a place with some of the worst pollution in our nation.  A recent study links a significantly increased per-capita rate of autism to cities with high pollution levels. 

I remember, as we all do, when the Great Recession hit, big banks asked taxpayers to bail them out.  They added,“But don’t ask us to give up our bonuses.  And don’t ask us to save your jobs.” 

So here it is. Our U.S. democracy ticks along, but ticks as a time bomb.  Indeed, we know democracy is slow and messy.  But right now, the slow moving scale is skewing against minorities and women, against our environment, and against voter participation.  It is moving toward a polluted Earth and atmosphere.  It moves toward oil wealth, Monsanto wealth, private prison wealth, etc., etc.  

Greed is being legislated into law.  It is used to get prisoners into privately-owned facilities, and to force farmers to use genetically altered products, among much more.  This completely opposes the free market ideology conservatives promote, and they know it.  Rather, markets are being purchased with laws.

Recently a Nestle CEO suggested placing a price on water and air.  Perhaps in reality, clean water and air will actually become luxury commodities.

We could try to stop the insanity, but where is support?  Too few citizens show up to vote.  A small number attend rallies and protests.  Too many are indifferent.

Media can only report actions and reactions.  If no one reacts to greed, if no one attends a rally, little is said in defense of democracy, humanity, and our planet.

In the 1960’s, America’s youth fought for democracy.  Women and minorities did too.  Young men protested against the Vietnam draft.  Women wanted equal rights. African Americans demanded civil rights.  In the sixties, we fought for what was right.  We voted too.

The dangerous trends before us somehow do not get us out to vote: the skew toward wealth and against the middle class, the crush on minority rights, the slap to the face of women’s rights, and the emergency of global warming with its implications for seven billion people. 

Utah’s 2012 voter participation rate--Republican, Democratic, and independent--was embarrassing.  We seem to only watch a dysfunctional government head in a bad direction.  Those who did vote re-elected mostly the same ineffective congressional incumbents, whom have the worst approval ratings in history.

Many of us do not even do something as simple as vote.  We are our own worst enemy.

By Kelli Lundgren

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