I remain hopeful that Americans can still rouse themselves to save our democracy. But the time in which to head of financial and moral bankruptcy is growing short. ~ Chalmers Johnson
With the Democratic Congresses approval rating at an all time low, one must wonder, “What are they thinking?” If the Democrats were holding to any kind of democratic philosophy, their direction in government should be clear. The House Speaker herself has stated on many occasions that the Democrats were given a mandate in 2006…to end the Iraq occupation. We should all keep in mind that this mandate includes the cessation of spending like a bunch of drunken sailors on holiday leave.
Yet their contempt for “the will of the people” continues to stand. Americans are no better off than they were under a Republican held majority. These circumstances beg the question, are the Democrats cowardly or complicit? In order to answer this question one must only look to some of the driving forces behind the continued failed policy in Iraq, namely that of private American defense contractors. This particular industry has exploded in recent years, in not only profits, but also the power it wields in politics. During the 2006 election cycle, defense contributions (totaling 17,923,552 dollars) and lobbying efforts (over 40,000,000 dollars) has reached an all time high, this number shows a sharp contrast to figures collected as early as 1990 where total contributions equaled 7,069,584 dollars. As the rhetoric continues, around the Iraq debate, the developing pattern is quite clear; as defense spending has risen so have the contributions to candidates.
Interestingly, it appears from current figures the defense industry carries with it one more asset…a crystal ball. In both the “Defense” and “Miscellaneous Defense” categories, lobbying efforts and contributions have shown clear favorability towards Republican candidates. However, this is no longer true. For the 2006 election cycle Republicans acquired approximately 65% of contributions where as Democrats received only 34%. Already for the 2008 election cycle, Democrats are gaining strength in this sector. As of today, December 29, 2007, Democrats have received 52% of the contributions from defense contractors. In contrast, the Republicans have only received 48%.
Perhaps we can surmise that Democrats are neither cowardly nor powerless as so many would have us believe. With a majority in both house’s, and more members of the Republican Party recognizing support for this endless war is political suicide, clearly a solution exists. Just as money and greed are justifying the continuance of the Occupation of Iraq, it can end it as well. Democrats have the ability to end this occupation; it appears they simply lack the will to do so. With the presidential election around the corner, it would behoove all of us who wish to see this war end to examine the candidates and their loyalty to defense contractor profits. To date, every candidate both Republican and Democrat have accepted money in the thousands from this industry. That is every candidate save two: Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel.
As evidenced in recent years, money wields greater power than the will of the American people, however, the people continue to hold the power of the vote, perhaps it is time we used it wisely.