April 16, 2012


Will the country be ruled by a one party system in the future?  That’s the question Thomas Frank raises in a recent essay for  “Harper’s” magazine, “It’s a Rich Man’s World.” (4/2012, pgs. 22-17) Since the Supreme Court’s decision in “Citizen’s United,” which lifted the ceiling on  political contributions, he contends that politics has become the game of billionaires. Only candidates vetted by the super rich will ever reach the ballot box. Our democracy, Frank warns, is in danger of becoming an oligarchy.

The picture Frank paints is a grim one and he is probably more versed on the issue than I. Still,  like Abraham Lincoln, I’m convinced that some of us may be fooled some of the time, but not all of us can be fooled all of the time. What counts is not a cabal of billionaires but we the people. There is no law that requires us to  be pawns of the wealthy unless we become lazy citizens and allow them to replace our thinking with their political propaganda. My view is that the roar of the voter will always be heard above the crackle of money.


Carne Rose agrees. In his recent book “The Leaderless Revolution” he documents a new wind blowing across the land, bringing with it seeds of change. Occupy Wall Street is one example of what he means by a leaderless revolution, but he provides others and his book is a tonic for anyone in despair. 

If our country is at a crossroad, as some predict, I hope we’ll remember that a crossroad offers choice and that cynicism is a state of mind bringing with it a malaise no billionaire could afford to buy.