At a recent conference of media and tech influencers, a member of the audience asked Elizabeth Warren a simple question. Her spontaneous and passionate answer was breathtaking. It’s always breathtaking to me when someone speaks the truth—that Washington DC, the White House, and Congress, primarily serve the rich and powerful.
Warren says, with great emotion, that we don’t have a functioning government and we don’t have a functioning democracy. She wants us to know that our so called “representatives,” with a very few exceptions, serve the rich and powerful, and that ordinary people have no influence in Washington. (This is not just her opinion. a recent Princeton study reached the same conclusion.) Warren, before becoming a United States senator, worked in the White House with Obama and later under Tim Geithner in Treasury. She took on Wall Street. She knows up close and personal how money and access to power corrupts elected officials. She has been a fierce critic of Obama’s trade deals, which would be windfalls for banks and corporations but devastating for working families. Warren says: The only way we get change is when enough people in this country say I’m mad as hell and I’m fed up and I’m not going to do this anymore.
Where do we start?
We can start by confronting both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush on their false and vague claims that, if elected, they will rebuild the middle class, reign in Wall Street, reduce defense spending, rebuild our infrastructure, provide better healthcare, increase funding for education and create jobs. They won’t and we let them know we aren’t buying their false promises. Instead, as Warren suggests, we push them to go on record advocating specific programs and ask how they plan to make them a reality. We ask them how they are going to serve the interests of donors and those of us who elect them when those interests are most often diametrically opposed.
Next, we support Bernie Sanders in the primary over Wall Street candidate Hillary Clinton, and demand that the media cover his campaign. We demand substantive televised debates on the issues.
No matter how “populist” Hillary Clinton sounds, no matter how many focus-group-tested cliches she repeats, or how many diners she frequents to convince you that she is “just like you,” she is not just like you. She is not going to represent you, or the needs of your friends and family members. She is going to represent the rich and powerful as she has as senator from New York, and as secretary of state. It’s a done deal. The rich and powerful are going to give her billions and she is going to serve their interests. If she has permission, and there is anything left over, she may do something for you.
Hillary and Bill have already profited, obscenely, from Wall Street kickbacks in the form of speaking fees, because they have served the elite very well. This is how the official bribery in Washington works. Yet starry eyed Democrats and misguided feminists identify with her, and “really like her.” They believe what she says, and think having a “woman in the White House” will usher in an era of “real change,” just like we believed electing an African-American would bring “change we can believe in.” Elizabeth Warren is pleading with us to look at what is starting us in the face. She is saying “your elected officials don’t represent you” and won’t represent you, and you need to know that and deal with it.
How do we deal with corruption in government?
First, we have to understand how it happens. We need to read progressive sources outside of mainstream media and educate ourselves on how the rich and powerful have highjacked our democracy. We have to understand the ways in which they buy government and elected officials. We have to understand the “shadow government” hidden from view, the military/intelligence complex, that serves corporate and banking interests domestically and world wide. We need to explore how the elite exert tremendous control over the media, and therefore control our domestic and foreign policy narratives,
Back on the campaign trail, I think it’s important to confront Hillary Clinton in town hall meetings, and in question and answer sessions, about her record as secretary of state in approving arms sales to various countries in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation. We can ask about the failure of the Clinton foundation programs in Haiti and the rampant corruption surrounding them, and we can ask her about making $250,000 a pop for half hour speeches at Wall Street banks and what she did to earn such lucrative fees?. We can ask about her warmongering and how she thinks reducing once prosperous Libya to rubble served you and me, and other ordinary Americans.
Rather than getting sucked in to the media-driven election charade where we are manipulated into cheerleading our party’s candidate and demonizing the other, all the while avoiding serious issues—it’s time to digest what an emotional and passionate Elizabeth Warren is telling us. It’s time for us to stop buying into these Wall Street pre-selected presidential “candidates,” and corporate-backed senators and congressmen, and demand the right to have real representation in Washington.