I’m not a fan of Ralph Nader, but he’s just published a new book, Unstoppable, which argues that a powerful new political alliance could emerge between those on the left and those on the right who oppose the crony-capitalist state, another word for plutocracy or oligarchy.
So far the Crony-Capitalist Democratic Party and the Crony-Capitalist Republican Party have implemented an ingenious strategy for preventing such an alliance. It involves getting the left and right to argue about hot-button issues to divert attention from the plutocratic agenda of both parties. Corporate America, which owns the government, doesn’t care what label politicians wear as long as they do its bidding.
The Crony-Capitalist Democratic Party has supplemented this strategy in Presidential politics by trading on the glamor of electing the first African-American President, and will soon substitute for this the glamor of electing the first female President. Obama and Clinton are both spokesmodels for the plutocracy — something the plutocracy hopes Americans won’t notice.
The big hot-button issues at the moment are gun control, gay rights and abortion. Americans are deeply divided on these issues, which can arouse passions that drive rational thought, and even practical self-interest, from the mind. Is there any way around this? Can anti-oligarchic citizens on both sides of these issues find enough common ground to form an alliance against the oligarchy? Could they even decide to put these issues on hold for a few years in order to take the country back from the corporations?
Well, liberals might face the simple fact that a comprehensive reform of gun regulation has no practical hope of being enacted any time soon. We might be able to close the gun-show loophole — something a large majority of Americans across the political spectrum support. Could anti-corporate folks on the right brave the wrath of the NRA and join with liberals to support this? Maybe.
Abortion rights are under grave assault at the state level in certain places, but there’s very little that can be done about this on the Federal level. Abortion rights will be preserved in principle as long as Roe v. Wade holds, and it will probably hold for a long time to come. National leaders are not going to have much effect in this area, one way or the other. Could those on opposite sides of this issue face up to those facts and agree to disagree on the underlying values involved? Maybe.
Gay rights is a movement that is now irreversible, largely due to the rulings of courts. Gay marriage is becoming legal in one state after another and will inevitably be legal or at least recognized everywhere. That battle has already been won, or lost, depending on your point of view. Could conservatives accept that fact in the interest of an alliance with those on the other side of the issue? Maybe.
And maybe an agreement to sidestep the hot-button issues is the only hope we have of creating a movement to take the government back from the corporations. It’s worth a try.
I suggest a summit meeting between Rand Paul and Elizabeth Warren in Belle Fourche, South Dakota — the geographic center of the fifty United States. Surely they both must realize that they have more in common with each other, in terms of what a Federal official might accomplish, than either of them have with Hillary Clinton or whatever corporate stooge the Crony-Capitalist Republican Party puts forward to try and stop Paul.
Slaveholders and abolitionists once made common cause to support the Constitution — an excruciatingly painful compromise, but one worth it in the long run. What men and women have done, men and women can do.