Gary Hart, the former senator from Colorado who twice sought the presidency in the 1980s, has a message for Americans Youth about the U.S. government.
Gary Hart, the former senator from Colorado who twice sought the presidency in the 1980s, made a fervent plea for American youth to summon the courage necessary to revolt against the hopelessly corrupt government:
“The question is: by adhering to the highest principles and ideals, will America continue to have the moral authority to lead all people of goodwill? The answer remains to be seen. And that answer will have much to do with whether we have the courage to drive the money changers from the temple of democracy and recapture the government of the people, for the people, and by the people.”
Hart’s impassioned plea to wipe the slate clean, published in Time, was part of a scathing essay on the current United States government’s categorical departure from the lofty populist roots of its birth. Describing the corruption as so thoroughly interwoven that nothing shy of a gutting could affect any improvement, Hart disparaged Congress and the President alike for the hypocrisy of malfeasance come to law.
“Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right,” he argued, “should be carved on every congressional doorway, every cabinet department, and even the White House, itself.”
Pulling no punches, the former senator lashed out at greed-soaked politicians afloat on an ocean of special interest and lobbying money, whose vote and character are now completely bereft of integrity.
“At the very least,” he pleaded, “we Americans cannot hold ourselves up to the world as the beacon of democracy so long as we permit, as long as we acquiesce in, corruption so far beyond the standards of the true republic that our government cannot be proclaimed an ideal for other aspiring nations.”
As the field of presidential hopefuls expands by the day, an electoral system that seems more akin to a self-congratulatory rubber stamping ploy for the interests for those involved also came under the Hart microscope. With such power and money at stake, candidates will “tap into the hundreds of millions of dollars” thrown at their campaigns so they can “game the system in highly illegal ways,” he explained.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United—which gave corporations and moneyed interests protection under the First Amendment—was an irony so thick, Hart described it as “compound[ing] the tragedy of American democracy.” In fact, politicians’ avarice for cash, from Hart’s perspective, translates to a marketplace for influence by vote. Describing the need for fiscal transparency, as seen in a popular meme, he said:
“The five prevailing Supreme Court justices, holding that a legal entity called a corporation has First Amendment rights of free speech, might at least required the bought-and-paid-for candidates to wear sponsor labels on their suits as stock-car drivers do.”
Hart chided that were the founders—Washington, Madison, Jefferson, Adams, and Hamilton—alive to witness the modern twisted perversion of what they had intended for the country, they “would be appalled. Even more, they would be ashamed.”
“On a more personal level,” Hart lamented, “how can public service be promoted as an ideal to young people when this sewer corrupts our Republic? At this point in early twenty-first-century America, the greatest service our nation’s young people could provide is to lead an army of outraged young Americans armed with brooms on a crusade to sweep out the rascals and rid our capital of the money changers, rent seekers, revolving door dancers, and special interest deal makers and power brokers and send them back home to make an honest living, that is, if they still remember how to do so.”
Such systemically permeated corruption, Hart fervidly warns, will not self-mend. Media plays the part of propagandist, he explained, by calling any other “mundane behavior” a scandal, while corruption of this scope is inexplicably absent from headlines and newscasts.
Hart bemoaned the current system as “corrosive to the soul” and said revolt would facilitate a “restoration of the Republic of Conscience,” though he advised such thinking isn’t simple, “dreamy idealism.” The original purpose of United States was rooted in political virtue currently absent, he explained, but the shared interest of the nation and future generations necessitates drastic change.
“For all practical political purposes,” he emphatically declared, “the government of the United States is for sale to the highest bidder.”
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