Self-government–is it a myth? Who chose the Republican and Democratic Party candidates for the U.S. Presidential election? We the people? If so, then why are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton among the least liked candidates for the Presidency in American history? See for example this Wall Street Journal article. Is the problem us, our representative democracy, or something else? Perhaps a combination of all three.
Today we celebrate the independence of our country, but are we still under the tyrannical grip of political and economic powers? The Continental Congress adopted the final version of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Thomas Jefferson, its principal architect, marked the 50th anniversary of the Declaration with these words:
Jefferson believed in the rights of men–all men, or the privileged few? Recall that he owned slaves; his own stance on abolition and practice of slavery are the subject of controversy, as this Smithsonian article argues. Slaves were excluded from achieving self-governance in his day. How much better off are we now?
The movie, The Big Short, would tell us that we have all been shorted by big business–and the government? While we rightly separate church and state, we have not given diligent attention to the separation of government from corporations. Trump and Clinton may be the candidates of big business, but are they our candidates? How might we declare our independence this election year?