Where are You, Unum?

Where are You, Unum?

Well, we were wrong again.

More than a year ago we wrote about how “E pluribus unum” was being gradually deflated, like currency itself.

It was E Pluribus that got us out of the Great Depression. It was E Pluribus that mobilized us to win World War II. It was E Pluribus that eventually brought the Viet Nam war to a halt, that waved goodbye to Mr. Nixon and welcomed with relief Gerald Ford. It was E Pluribus that helped us all overcome the shock and desperation and fear of September 11, 2001. Finally, it is E Pluribus that is getting us, years late but as they say, better than never, out of Afghanistan.

You’ll note that almost all of the above has to do with America forging unanimity to overcome trouble coming to us from abroad.

The War ended the Depression. Disgust brought Nixon down. Futility

— finally realized nation-wide — is getting us out of Afghanistan.

E Pluribus Unum has done great and good work.

How did it disappear?

In that earlier Political Safari, we wondered about the state of Wisconsin, whose Governor had pulled a bait and switch on its voters

and with the aid of a newly resurgent Republican party outlawed collective bargaining in the very state where that practice was born and where that practice first gave rise to a growing middle-class.

Then we spoke about the Governor of Michigan who decided that the pride of America — one man, one vote — seemed suddenly out-of-date and created Emergency Fiscal Managers given the absolute power to overrule budgets, proposals, plans put forward by the electorate. With a sweep of his pen, everything people had favored legally at the ballot box was simply erased in favor of a fiscal czar whose word became law.

Whole townships, entire educational systems, complete community-directed programs ceased to be democratic, with a small d.

Going a step further, the new Republican Governor of Pennsylvania created an appointive post that by statute overrides any decision made by any non-related government agency, state or federal.

In all three states, tax breaks were given to the very wealthy and that amount of income was then returned to state coffers by taxing the poor,

the elderly, and ill — not to mention school teachers, firefighters, police —almost to the penny.

On top of all this we’ve watched as half a dozen states have made voting itself if not impossible, then virtually so by changing voter registration and identification rules. In Florida, 168,000 thousand people are being secretly removed from active voter rosters without their knowledge, most often without reason except that they belong to one of several classes of voters who might appear to favor the Democrats, with a big D.       

Wow, were we wrong. We wrote in a stirring conclusion about a wake-up call that never came. What we said was this: “ Now when one of these giants of the universe finds that his mother isn’t getting her social security check on time, for example, you can imagine the anger and frustration he feels since he, after all, had bought his representative and feels that he (or she) has a definite I.O.U. in his or her pocket for legislators to jump when told to jump.

“What may eventually happen, as people in the highest percentiles of income realize that these hot new firebrand politicians are in effect

trying to buy their continued support (by giving them what they ask for) is that those on top will be angry and resentful at being taken for

granted. This may even resemble in their minds extortion: we did it for you, now you have to do it for us. But they, too, under their cloaks as Rulers of the Universe, are Americans.

“And while this may seem utopian or at least naïve, these blessed industrialists may just turn around to bite the hand that has been feeding them for thirty years, throwing their votes into another camp entirely.

“One trucker in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan put the matter clearly: ‘Governor Snyder wants to put a king over our city.”

“Actually (we wrote then), Governor Snyder, as many of his colleagues in other states, appears to want to be the king.”

Well, O.K. We believed at the time that E Pluribus Unum still had some relevancy to our lives in this country.

We can see now we were wrong.

But being wrong isn’t the end of it. What we want to know is why E Pluribus Unum has been silent during the past year, doing little to

combat what might appear to some to be a well-orchestrated plan to vitiate the power of one political party for the next forty, fifty, a hundred years?

Ohio demonstrated earlier this spring that it still believed in E Pluribus’ strength by voting in an initiative to remove anti-union language from its new Governor’s quote budget proposal.

And Wisconsin this coming Tuesday may recall its own Governor, having already recalled half of its targeted legislators earlier in the year.

Even Florida is making caving sounds under the scrutiny of national media investigating its voter suppression efforts.

The point we are trying to make, and we want to stand tall once again and hope to hell we’re right at last, is that in everyone of these instances, rights and privileges of US citizens are under fire for political reasons and there is no national E Pluribus Unum to stop them. They are being combatted almost entirely locally by what remains locally of E Pluribus Unum.

But what’s happening around the country does NOT affect only citizens in those states. When those citizens lose their rights, our own

will be lost soon enough afterwards unless we ALL remember what’s on our currency.

Apparently, people watching television at home see these events as being as far away from they themselves as possible, when in fact these events are taking place on their very own doorsteps.

What we are asking for is the involvement of citizens throughout the entire nation to try to stop what’s happening in those individually located spots where US rights and privileges are under fire.

In an election year such as this, the nation as an entity has the duty and obligation to protect itself and its Bills of Rights and its Constitution from predators who would divide us into two simple camps: those who have been kept uninformed of reality by chicanery, and those who do know the real score and are happy with it.

Put more graphically, those who have and those who, in time, will never have an opportunity to have because they don’t know how to game the system, or even have much realistic knowledge of what the system is and how it works.

With billionaires free and legally able to spend their money lying on behalf of their favorite causes, thanks to what was once an E Pluribus Unum Supreme Court, who can combat this dissolution of democracy?

The answer, we hope to God, is ourselves, with our ideas, our voices, our votes, our own savings accounts. Equally important, we need leaders to join in revivifying E Pluribus Unum without fear. We need them to visit the poisoned states wherein such injuries are occurring and to speak against them, loudly and clearly.

Politicians — all politics being local, as we know — like to complain when an opponent is raising funds from out of state. In their minds, that’s unfair.

At this moment in time, we say that’s b.s. We should all be sending money to men and women running for political office against other candidates in any state who would do away with what we have held dear for more than two centuries: independence, independent thinking, fairness, honesty, and unity.

We’d like to say that here endeth the lesson, but we suspect we’d be wrong about that, too.


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