By MARC McDONALD
As America enters 2006, it's clear to many of us that this nation is in deep trouble.
Some progressives console themselves with the hope that perhaps the 2006 elections will return Congress to the Democrats' control. Other progressives are hopeful that support will grow for Bush to be impeached. Others are looking further ahead to the 2008 elections.
I know I stand the risk of being painted as an "anti-American" radical for saying this, but I'll go ahead and say it anyway. If we ordinary working Americans really want to take back our country, we really need to start looking beyond the ballot.
No doubt, Republicans will accuse people like me of seeking to overturn America's constitutional democratic system. This, of course, is a bogus argument. The fact is, the system has already been overturned by fanatical Bush loyalists.
In fact, America long ago ceased having the slightest resemblance to the original system that was envisioned by the Founding Fathers. No doubt, the Founding Fathers would be astonished at how America's political system has been thoroughly corrupted and tainted by money.
Indeed, if the likes of Thomas Jefferson returned today, he'd no doubt be absolutely sickened by the likes of Bush, a corrupt and evil politician who takes his marching orders from the rich, the powerful, and the corporations that dominate America today.
Incidentally, Jefferson had a few things to say about corporations in his day. For example:
"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
It's clear that the Founding Fathers, were they to return today, would in fact support a second American revolution---one that would sweep away the corruption that has infested our government and one that'd return democracy to the people.
To anyone who believes that this is simply too radical a step to take, I would like to emphasize that the Republicans have already bypassed our Constitution in their relentless drive to seize and consolidate their power the past couple of decades. Does any clear-thinking rational adult out there really believe that the 2000 and 2004 elections were legitimate?
The Republicans have already successfully gotten away with stealing two consecutive elections. Does anyone care to wager that they won't steal the vote yet again in 2008? I mean, what's going to stop them? The Democrats? (Don't make me laugh). The media? (Don't make me laugh even harder).
One thing I will give the Republicans credit for, though, is this: when they want something, they will relentlessly focus on getting it, no matter what the cost. By contrast, the Democrats have utterly failed in their role as the nation's opposition party.
With a few exceptions, the Democrats are weak and timid. Democratic candidates for office are simply too polite and they're always careful to follow the rules and to not upset or offend anyone.
By contrast, Republicans go into elections like street fighters. A lot of today's Republicans follow no rules in elections. They won't hesitate to use a pair of brass knuckles, or pull a switchblade out of their sock and stab you in the back. And in the end, if they lose the election, that's OK---they'll simply steal the vote.
As bad as Bush is, I have no doubt that the next guy the Republicans run for president in 2008 will be even more extreme and more evil. I mean, Bush makes Reagan look like a moderate (and, by contrast, Nixon was a downright liberal compared to Reagan). So you can imagine the horrors that face this country in the years ahead.
So how can we, the working people of America, really change things, going up against the Republicans and their billions of dollars in backing from the rich and powerful? The traditional checks and balances in our nation's system simply are no longer there.
Once upon a time, corporations were actually controlled somewhat by a few rules here and there---they weren't allowed to run amok with unbridled power as they are today. Once upon a time, our nation's media actually performed a watchdog role---unlike today's timid, cowardly media, where the likes of Bob Woodward and Judith Miller actually collaborate with the White House.
As far as the impeachment process goes, I don't have much confidence that today's Democrats have the spine to hold Bush accountable for his crimes. I mean, the Democrats are so timid these days, they don't even contest blatantly stolen elections. How can we expect them to ever take such a bold step as to impeach Bush?
No, if you really want true, genuine change in America these days, the only way to do it is to look beyond the (stolen) ballot. People are going to need to take to the streets and demand change if we're ever going to get it in this country.
Maybe we could take a cue from our nation's past progressive history and organize a nationwide general strike. In any case, people power is capable of wonderful things: look at how peacefully protesting masses played a crucial role in bringing down the Eastern Bloc communist states without a shot being fired.