A ‘Nation Of Haves And Soon To Haves’: The Path To Oligarchy

Greed Kills - photo by madhava

If the 1% convince enough of the 99% that they too will someday be wealthy then we will have solidified our path to oligarchy rule. There are some days when I think we are already there. At the very least we are living in a country that is increasingly resembling a ‘representative oligarchy’ instead of a ‘representative democracy’.

During the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said,

As Republicans our first concern is for those waiting tonight to begin or resume the climb up life’s ladder. We do not accept that ours will ever be a nation of haves and have nots; we must always be a nation of haves and soon to haves.

This is political rhetoric at it’s finest. Either way you phrase it we are talking about the poor and impoverished with phrases like “have nots” or “soon to haves”. Mike LaBossiere, of The Philosophers’ Magazine Blog writes,

Daniels, obviously enough, makes it quite clear that his euphemism is a substitute for “have-nots” (which can itself be seen as something of a euphemism for the term “poor”). “Soon to haves” is clearly a more pleasant phrase than “have nots.” After all, the have-nots are lacking and there is no implication of hope.

Hope. That is the tool of the 1% and the politicians who increasingly represent the interests of the 1%. It plays into the American Dream, the idea that anybody can make it, that one day you too will be wealthy as long as you work hard and play by the rules. It’s a nice idea, but it’s flawed to the core. Sure, we all want to be hopeful that we will have a better future, and some will strike it rich, but the reality is that there will always be “have nots”.

Can I be frank here for a second? I’m tired of politicians and pundits in the media dancing around this topic and not addressing it head on. There will always be a need for people to do really hard, physical labor jobs that pay very little in order for society to function. The 1% and even a large section of the 99% expect somebody to do the dirty work and to clean up everyone’s shit. It’s just the way society works. The Republican notion that we are a country of “soon-to-haves” is a fantasy concocted to appease the poor and impoverished and make them believe in ideas like tax cuts for the rich that will “trickle-down” to the rest of us.

Just look at the Republican presidential race where we have two billionaires who are single-handedly financing their respective candidates. Whether we are talking about casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson‘s support of Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum’s personal billionaire, Foster Friess, both are examples of how the 1% are able to influence our democratic election process.

If you support a continued eroding of our representative democracy where a small group of wealthy-elites have a disproportionate influence on policy and legislation then please go ahead and continue with the status quo and vote Republican, the party of the 1%.

If you think we are on the path to oligarchy, and you want the entire 100% of the country represented in Washington, then you should care deeply about the corrupting influence of money in our election process in the aftermath of the Citizens United ruling. We must demand campaign finance reform from our representatives. We can start by showing our support for Vermont Senator Bernie Sander’s Saving American Democracy Amendment. This proposed constitutional amendment would establish that:

  • Corporations are not persons with constitutional rights equal to real people.
  • Corporations are subject to regulation by the people.
  • Corporations may not make campaign contributions or any election expenditures.
  • Congress and states have the power to regulate campaign finances.

I would like to point out that nothing I’ve said should be read as implicit endorsement of Democratic candidates because, I’m sorry to report, much of the Democratic Party suffers from the same affliction as the Republican Party. There is, however, some sense of compassion that still exists within the Democratic Party where there is none in the Republican Party.

Both political parties must be made aware that we do not accept rule by oligarchy.

It’s not “We The Corporations” or “We The One Percent”, it’s “We The People”.


photo by madhava via Flickr


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