With Independence Day here, it is time to celebrate 236 years of freedoms we have fought for through generations with wars and laws that eventually were a realization of all people being free as promised in the documents authored from our Founding Mothers and Fathers. That’s still not finished as we need to fight for equality for all. It is time to reaffirm and thank those who have served and died for this country for their contributions as well as all of those who have been vigilant in protecting the freedom we enjoy in the United States.
Independence Day is for the soldiers and those who have marched in the streets, like those who fought hard for our rights we take for granted. It’s not just the military that has fought for our freedoms as many will recite. It’s every American who cares enough to want to make a stand with all the dedication they can muster in even the harshest winter winds and under the stormiest skies and at times when it’s deemed unpopular or distorted by those who feel threatened by their own demons.
It is also time to look at what the state of our very freedoms are in terms of how we perform the very basic democratic act of voting in elections. The blessings of liberty fall flat even with the most jingoistic country-western songs that will boom in sound systems in celebrations under the dark of night with fireworks and reflection across the country.
With Scott Walker’s attacks on the ability of the people of Wisconsin the basic American right to vote without essentially paying for a poll tax with the unconstitutional Voter ID laws, America is in peril. With the other Republican governors and their willing treasonous plunderers also following the same corrupt un-American path to disenfranchise voters for political gain, America is in dangerous territory. The only way to stop the momentum is to mobilize and vote in overwhelming numbers to counter shifty, faulty electronic voting systems owned by Republicans in the fall elections in November.
The Republican establishment’s unfounded myth of voter fraud is indeed a direct, cancerous attack on the very freedoms this country embraces on Independence Day. They know they are lying and assume that we don’t know they are the enemy of the very core of American freedom. It is that simple truth that their attack on the ability of all who are able to vote to exercise their right to vote is an attack on the very heart of what our country celebrates on July 4th.
But what should be also equally alarming to the state of America’s condition is what Wisconsin saw as an after-effect with the recent recall elections where the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which have allowed SuperPACs, which allow corporations, billionaires and other interests to make unlimited contributions, pool them together and use the money for political campaigns while acting like they are not directly coordinated with the candidates they support.
The Supreme Court essentially said what the Republicans latest plutocratic appointee Mitt Romney blurted that “corporations are people”. We are to pretend that corporations are not multi-national, gargantuan monoliths of state, federal and foreign laws. We’re to believe they’re just like people with a voice and we’re not allowed to make separate rules for them. We are to allow billions to be spent on political candidates by SuperPACs, who have contributors we are not allowed to know who they are. We are not allowed to see what their agenda is and why they outspend those that they are running against, which are usually candidates not purchased by Koch Brothers-funded groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council.
What can be done? We need to get the correct legislators in power to be able to move forward a constitutional amendment explicitly stating that corporations are not people as well as a clearly drawn movement to have elections publicly funded and provide Congress with the power to put a limit on independent expenditures.
Here are some important definitions to know about:
Super PAC – A political group that can raise unlimited amounts of money from any source as long as the donors are disclosed and the money is only spent on independent expenditures — came about in 2010 for the first time in part from the Citizens United ruling. Examples: American Crossroads, America’s Families First Action Fund, Club for Growth Action
501c Groups – Non-profit organization registered under the IRS tax code 501c. Certain kinds of these groups — most notably, 501c(4), 501c(5) and 501c(6) organizations — may spend unlimited amounts of money on electioneering communications and independent expenditures. They do not have to reveal their donors. Influencing elections cannot, however, be their primary purpose. They cannot donate to political campaign committees or party committees. Examples: U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Action Network, Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, League of Conservation Voters, VoteVets.org
527 Groups – Political groups registered under tax code 527. They may raise unlimited amounts of money from individuals and corporations and could spend unlimited amounts of money on what are generally electioneering communications, although during the 2010 cycle, they began spending some money on independent expenditures. The groups can also use the money on get-out-the-vote drives, polling, fund-raising and other political activities. These groups cannot donate to political campaign committees or party committees and have to disclose all donors and expenditures to the IRS. Examples: The Media Fund, Swift Boat Veteran for Truth, Progress for America
We should all enjoy our freedoms and certainly continue to fight to not have them taken away incrementally. No carefully choreographed pyrotechnics with “The Star Spangled Banner” being performed can hide the naked fact that once the fanfare grows silent, America needs to have the strongest and most enduring of its citizens to do all they can to quell the evil of those who will try to buy democracy or disenfranchise the citizens of this precious land.
Celebrate Independence Day with the full intent to fight back against those who think America is to become a corporatized plutocracy ruled by a miniscule oligarchy. This fight is not new. It just has to be stronger than ever before. There is nothing more purely American than to fight against those who are intent to take our freedom to vote away or to buy their way into power.