Business / Economy

COMMENTARY: A Nation at The Crossroads of its Stated But Often Misunderstood Constitutional Underpinnings

The political and social choices we are confronted with in the upcoming elections
This is the third and final part of a three-part series on the political and social choices we are confronted with in the upcoming elections
The saving grace of the Constitution’s ratification, in no small order, however, with major significance, was the ratification of the Bill of Rights. According to historian Jackson Turner Main, who states that seven of the 13 states were against ratification of the newly-drafted Constitution. In short, spotting the great probability that the ratification of the pro-propertied and wealth class document would be defeated, the propertied and wealthy class, as seen in today’s political campaigns excesses, controlled and manipulate newspapers, featured pro-constitution writers and editorialists, distorted the news and downplayed opponents viewpoints, applied economic blackmail and pressure, bribed and intimidated opponents. More importantly and of significant note, is the fact that the Constitution was ratified, not by popular vote, but by state conventions in which the state delegates were elected on qualifications of property ownership. The majorities in this case, were once again excluded along class, wealth, property and vested economic interests.

So we are once again confronted as a nation and people with the prospect of moving toward a more perfect union, through the skewed and off-centered provisions of the constitution. We have a choice, as the majority, a second-in-a-life-time opportunity revolution to bring back some sanity and social sense of equilibrium to our democratic republic.

Although President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been called “a traitor to his class," he in fact was actually a very astute and staunch supporter of capitalism, and saved it from itself and the throngs of pitch forks at the gate, by providing a “safety valve” legislative package of economic and social programs, to save capitalism, in the mist of one of the longest-lasting and human destructive economic depressions (brought about by Wall Street) ever seen in America. This is acutely illustrated by the call of Senator Huey Long of Louisiana for “share our wealth and redistribution of economic resources, with complimentary homestead, education, affordable food, and a minimum guaranteed annual income or a modern day living wage.” Support for many of these ideas was the result of decades of income inequality, worker disenchantment and mistreatment, child labor and numerous recessions and depressions, the culmination of which was the Great Depression of 1929, all its ills, and the onset of FDR’s New Deal programs (or how to save capitalism and capitalist from themselves). What a misread from the actual benefactors of its most ardent supporter FDR. Moreover, and a result of the human ills of the Great Depression, FDR proposed his “four freedoms” to control and limit the inevitable abuses of the capitalist financial system (Wall Street) and lessen the human destructive consequences it had during the 10-year period (1929-1939) of the Great Depression.      

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech, delivered to the U.S. Congress Jan. 6, 1941: “The first is freedom of speech and expression -- everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way -- everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants -- everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor -- anywhere in the world."

Today, we are faced with very similar if not identical economic circumstances, together with equal levels of anger and frustration – which will be unleashed on election day 2016 – or not, depending on the respective party nominees. This, in the opinion of the many who have brought about the mass attraction and appeal for Bernie and Trump as emotional and safety-valve options for the survivability of capitalism; and as a result of the greatest economic meltdown since the “Great Depression”.

“…no modern state can survive with widespread destitution and discontent among its unemployed, disenfranchised and its elderly.” or better yet, as the leading slogan of the American Association of Labor Legislation (AALL) read, “Social Justice is the Best Insurance Against Labor Unrest.”  

Vote your vested self-interests in the upcoming 2016 primary, presidential, congressional, state and local elections - more importantly for the future of our democratic republic. Look and imagine beyond the typical us versus them, fear based response in only choosing republican or democratic establishment division politics – politics that has abandoned “all” the American people, irrespective of background (class struggle – we’re in this together).

This classic old age and bankrupted approach to political thinking blinds us to certain looming and undeniable realities. They touch each and everyone of us in one form or another - a jobless economy (robotic/computerized technology), never ending foreign war policy (15 years in the Middle East alone), an ever increasing military budget, militarized policing here at home (killing black and Latino youth at undeniable numbers by a more intolerant police force), warehousing more people (imprisoning and jailing more younger youth), anemic job growth with low-level pay and zero benefits (i.e. unemployment insurance, Social Security, health care, retirement plans and limitations on the breadline measures that guard against full “inhumane deprivation.” Never mind our deteriorating infrastructure (roads and bridges), ineffective, disconnected and out-of-touch “establishment politicians,” “rigged and corrupt” electoral system (federal, state, county, and local) that work against the popular will of the people, and a political system controlled, bought and paid for by big business.           

Whichever way you cast your vote, the excesses of the propertied and wealthy class require our full participation and action to right the ship of state.           

Luis Burguillo

As a student of the media and journalism, I am interested in utilizing the medium in order to assure that the residents of the City of Hollister and San Benito County are alerted, informed and educated on the official actions of their elected officials who are sworn to preserve, protect and defend the US constitution and Bill of Rights. More importantly, their engagement in the political process will hold the leaders accountable for their actions/decisions and lead to an improved governance.