What is left to say?
A sane man’s contempt for the United States Senate must now be certain and complete. Given the inertia on even the most modest legislative response to the mass murder of schoolchildren, those still credulous enough to believe that our governance is representative of popular will are either Barnum-sized suckers, or worse, tacit participants in tragedies soon to come. An entrenched collection of careerist incumbents, chosen and retained through their singular ability to gather cash from money troughs over six-year intervals — and the unrestrained ability of capital to keep those troughs constantly full — none of this is worthy of any intelligent citizen’s respect or allegiance.
Never mind that the higher house of our bicameral farce is one in which 40 percent of the American population choses 60 percent of the representation; that millions of New Yorkers or Texans, say, are represented and served to the same degree as thousands of Montanans. And never mind that the lower house has now been gerrymandered to a point where a majority of American votes are guaranteed to achieve a minority of the representation — ignore, for the sake of argument, the ridiculous and antiquated structural impediments to popular will ever achieving a popular outcome. Don’t worry that mess. Just focus on the fucking money.
Our elections — and therefore our governance — have been purchased. Instead of publicly funded elections, instead of level playing fields, instead of processes in which the power of actual ideas prevails over the size of the bankroll, we have given our democratic birthright over to capital itself. A gun manufacturer’s opinion can be thousands of times louder than the voice of any grieving Connecticut parent. And the damage that might come to political careers from individual Americans who wish to have gun laws require as much responsibility of gun owners as, say, motor vehicle laws? It pales when compared to the damage that can come to political careers from a lobbying group backed to hilt by those who will profit directly from the fear and violence in our culture.
Measured against profit and political security, dead children mean nothing. Common sense is easily dispatched. Truth itself is expendable in any circumstance. Only cash still has meaning to those who claim to represent us. And the cash will always be there, more with every election cycle. Unsatisfied with the profits that can be achieved within the context of actual representative government, capital has instead succeeded in buying the remnants of democracy at wholesale prices, so that profit can always be maximized and any other societal need or priority can be ignored.
That corporations are people was not the great effrontery of the U.S. Supreme Court’s evisceration of democratic principle. No, for all of its ugly tenor, that statement has long been true under the law; corporations have long existed as a concept by which business interests could have the legal standing of individuals. Corporations-are-people got the righteous ink, but the venal sin at the heart of Citizens United lies in the appalling equivocation that declares money to be speech.
One man, one vote? And may the best ideas prevail in an open and discerning marketplace of ideas? Please. When career politicians are obliged to contemplate the cash available for dishonorable votes, or the cash that will be delivered to opponents in the wake of honorable ones, how can any actual idea matter? Every day, there is less of this republic to respect, but in the United States Senate, there is little to nothing that remains. True, popular sentiment can’t be as easily undone in a national contest of wide scope in which both parties are equally monied and mobilized, but it isn’t the American presidency that’s broken. No, it’s the legislative branch; cash money has wrecked Congress, and in doing that much, it has paralyzed American governance beyond all practical hope.
Only fools play a rigged game forever, and governments that elevate money and firearms over human life, that treat its people and their will with such indifference — such governments eventually lose not only honor, but credibility. People lose the reason to believe. Eventually, a deep and abiding apathy prevails. Either that, or someone picks up a brick.