- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by James K. Galbraith, 1/7/2001
Friday, Jan. 12, 2001 at 9:37 PM
James K. Galbraith is a professor of affairs and government at the University of Texas at Austin. A version of this column appeared recently in the Texas Observer.
WITH THE EVENTS of late in the year 2000, the United States left behind constitutional republicanism, and turned to a different form of government. It is not, however, a new form. It is rather, a transplant, highly familiar from a different arena of advanced capitalism.
This is corporate democracy. It is a system whereby a board of directors - read Supreme Court - selects the chief executive officer. The CEO in turn appoints new members of the board. The shareholders are invited to vote in periodic referenda. But the franchise is only symbolic, for management holds a majority of proxies. On no important issue do the CEO and the board ever permit themselves to lose.
The Supreme Court clarified this in a way that the Florida courts could not have. The media have accepted it, for it is the form of government to which they are already professionally accustomed. And the shameless attitude of the Bush high command merely illustrates the prevalence of this ethical system.
Gore's concession speech was justly praised for grace and humor. It paid due deference to the triumph of corporate political ethics but did not embrace them. It thus preserved Gore for another day. But he also sent an unmistakable message to American democrats: Do not forget. It was an important warning, for almost immediately forgetting became the order of the day. Overnight, it became almost un-American not to accept the diktat of the court. Press references were to President-elect Bush, something that the governor from Texas manifestly is not. ( The President-Un-elect )
The key to dealing with the Bush people, however, is precisely not to accept them. I have nothing personal against Bush, Dick Cheney, or other members of the new administration, but I will not reconcile myself to them. They lost the election. Then they arranged to obstruct the count of the vote. They don't deserve to be there, and that changes everything. They have earned our civic disrespect, and that is what the people should accord them.
Civic disrespect means that the illegitimacy of this administration must not be allowed to fade from view. The conventions of politics remain: Bush will be president; Congress must work with him. But those outside that process are not bound by those conventions, and to the extent that we have a voice, we should use it. Politically, civic disrespect means drawing lines around the freedom of maneuver of the incoming administration. In some areas, there may be few major changes; in others, compromises will have to be reached. But Bush should be opposed on actions whose reach will extend beyond his actual term. First, the new president should be allowed lifetime appointments only by consensus. The 50 Senate Democrats should block judicial nominations, whenever they carry even the slightest ideological taint. As for the Supreme Court especially, vacancies need not be filled. Second, the Democrats should advise Bush not to introduce any legislation to cut or privatize any part of Social Security or Medicare.
Third, Democrats should oppose elimination of the estate tax - a social incentive for recycling wealth that has had a uniquely powerful effect on the form of American society. Fourth, we must oppose the National Missile Defense - a strategic nightmare that threatens the security of us all.
Fifth, Congress should enact a New Voting Rights Act, targeted precisely at the Florida abuses. This should stipulate mandatory adoption of best-practice technology; a 24-hour voting day; a ban on private contractors to aid in purging voter rolls; and mandatory immediate hand count of all undervotes in federal elections.
Further, Democrats must adapt to the new pollitics that emerged from this election. Outside of Florida, and facing a Southern Republican, the Democrats can't win the South. But they have excellent prospects of consolidating a narrow majority of the Electoral College - so long as, in the next election, there is no Ralph Nader defection.
What can prevent such a thing? Only a move away from the main Clinton compromises that so infuriated the progressive left. Nader's voters were motivated by issues like the drug war, the death penalty, consumer protection, and national missile defense - issues where New Democrats took Republican positions but failed to win Republican votes, while losing critical votes on the left.
Gore's campaign proved that there is a majority for a government that is truly a progressive coalition. Americans will elect a government that includes and represents labor, women, minorities - and greens. This is the government we must seek to elect. And for that, the first task is to assure that the information ministries of our new corporate republic do not cast a fog of forgetting over the crime that we have all just witnessed, with our own eyes.
This story ran on page D7 of the Boston Globe on 1/7/2001.
Report this post as:
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 3 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein?
Change Links September 2018 posted
More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre
Site Outage Friday
Change Links August 2018
Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land
More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke
Change Links 2018 July posted
More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena
"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena
Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles
Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California
Change Links June 2018 posted
The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years
Unity Archive Project
Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi
CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police
Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies
California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings)
Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico
Change Links May 2018
Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed
More Local News...
Stress, réaction organique à l'agression
Elder Aliyah to Israel, Like Abraham and Sarah
Paraphysique du microcosme macrocosme
September 2018 Honduras coup update
The Nation Unites Against Brian Kemp, Most Racist Secretary of State in US
The Nation Unites Against Brian Kemp, Most Racist Secretary of State in US
Paraphysique de l'ubérisation
22 Ways Trump Has Increased US Deficit By 4 to 5 Trillion Dollars
Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda
Plus d'hôpitaux, à bas les aéros
When Banana Ruled (documentary)
Outstanding Report By RAMOLA D &Dr.Tomo Shibata
Dark Clouds Gather on Horizon for Financial System, Warns International Monetary Fund
Fbi pure evil & immorality
Reality Check: Palestinian-Israeli Coexistence is a Big Lie
Voiceless Animals: 2018 Candidates They Oppose
IMF Lowers Global Growth Projections and Raises Concerns of Financial Crisis
Canitie, l'inhumanité vieillit
L'anarchie en quelques exemples
100 Ways GOP Have Stolen Elections Since 1876
Proximospective de l'univocité réifiée
Trump & Palestine vs. Genesis, Rashi & The Land of Israel
The Criminality of the Elites
Business de l'inhumanitaire
Marriage Rape/Date Rape Highest Rapes
More Breaking News...