Reality Civics | Letters | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » Letters

Reality Civics



This letter is a public service for all students bored to death in their lame civics and government classes. It is all you need to know about how “your” government really works.

The present system works this way: Laws are drafted by lobbyists in the employ of huge multinationals, or other well-financed groups. Being drafted and even finalized outside of the legislative process of representative government bodies excludes the input and concerns of the greater public. These extra-legislative “laws” are then presented to both state and national legislative bodies, accompanied by huge campaign contributions, special “perks” and media access. The recent Citizens United case now assures these contributions can be unlimited in scope and totally secret thanks to the GOP’s tea party caucus and conservative Democrats.

The result is the awarding of huge, open-ended contracts and exemptions to the lobbyists’ clients, funded with public money (our money) coupled with favorable taxation schemes, debt deferments and subsidies made available only to their clients. This money is then recycled or “laundered” through these same corporate lobbyists back to these same legislative bodies via more campaign contributions to elect or re-elect those supporting their agendas.

Further reinforcing this cycle is the recycling of people. Many former representatives end up as lobbyists for these same multinationals, while former lawyers, officers and lobbyists of these multinationals are elected to public office or appointed as judges and heads of government agencies originally intended to regulate their former employers. Absent from these exclusive circles is the voice of the greater masses. That is, of course, you, your friends and siblings, me, your parents and any children you may have.

So, the system is simply explained for easy understanding, and no follow-up exams will be scheduled. The only requirement is that you, whose entire lives will be spent in this increasingly exclusive system, actively seek to change it. It will take time and effort on your parts to clear the emotional attachments you may have to the ideas poured into your soft spots from your earliest days.

And be prepared, as the system will actively seek to undermine any efforts through cooptation, coercion, infiltration and agent provocateurs and, if that fails, through direct, state-sponsored violence. From Kent State 1970 to Oakland and Cal-Berkeley 2011, its tactics remain unchanged. It will be a civics lesson not to be found in your textbooks—which are designed to fold you quietly into the system as acquiescing and unquestioning consumer drones rather than critically thinking citizens of a participatory democracy.

You have the full support of those who tried once and were marginalized and saw comrades gunned down, and see this rising tide of genuine mind-shift exemplified in the recent and growing Occupy movement as a welcome revival of the human spirit.

As anthropologist Margaret Mead said: “A small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” You are not a “small group,” but the vast majority of the people on this planet.

Clee Paul
Ames Eureka