Tuesday, April 15, 2014

To the editor

Here's a copy of a letter I emailed to the editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press this date. I'll update this post when/if it's published.

Update: The letter was published on April 18, 2014.

My favorite adage to describe the current state of American governance is that it's merely "arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." As our ship of state churns onward in the cold and dark, our captains – which include, at least, President Obama, the Congress and the "mainstream media" – are content to provide us, their passengers, only comfort and distraction, trusting that we'll remain oblivious to the looming disaster.

The deck chairs are such items as pot legalization, missing-airplane searches, gay or gun-toting athletes, items which, although perhaps worthy of some slight attention, hardly help right the ship. To continue the metaphor, these and similar constant front-page entries don't even belong on the bridge.

The imminent iceberg is apparent – and immense. It's our bloated military, our fear-based society, our consumer-obsessed culture, our corporate-dominated politics, our inequitable economy, all contributing to our collision with history: the inevitable end of the American empire.

Prominently at the helm are five Justices of the Supreme Court whose opinions in the Citizen United and McCutcheon cases have steered us straight toward our destruction. Their decisions that money is speech, that corporations are people, and that financial influence over politics is disallowed only by proof of outright bribery, taken together, mean this, and nothing less: We, the American people, must retake the wheel; otherwise, there won't be enough lifeboats for most of us – and we needn't guess who'll fill them.