My Turn

Opinion: Are we still a republic in the United States?

By Norm Ferguson, El Prado
Posted 1/3/19

At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 in Philadelphia, as the delegates were leaving the hall, a woman approached Benjamin Franklin and asked him what type of government they had …

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My Turn

Opinion: Are we still a republic in the United States?

Posted

At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 in Philadelphia, as the delegates were leaving the hall, a woman approached Benjamin Franklin and asked him what type of government they had created. Franklin replied, "A republic, if you can keep it."

A republic is a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law.

Our federal government has endured through several wars and economic crises, but voters believed, in general, that it was operating in their best interests. Rich or poor, it was one person, one vote.

But, the 2012 Citizens United Supreme Court decision changed all that when it opened the flood gates to unlimited money being spent on federal elections. This allowed those most well-off citizens to dump millions and millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of candidates they preferred.

Members of Congress and the President have been literally bought by the moneyed-class and those elected are happy to do the bidding of the wealthy elite who funded their campaigns.

The wealthy elite now control our Congress and the White House. This has rendered our federal government a plutocracy rather than a republic.

A plutocracy is a government controlled by the wealthy and that's what we now have in the United States. Members of Congress are literally bought and paid for by millionaires and billionaires. We now have an oligarchy which is a government where a small group exercises control for corrupt and selfish purposes. The oligarchs have crushed our republic.

Yes, we can still vote, but those elected do the bidding of the ultra-wealthy and that's not what a true republic is supposed to be.

Norm Ferguson is a retired teacher who lives in El Prado.

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