Lost in the anti-government, anti-tax, pro-business rhetoric which has become the vocal currency of the day is an insidious assault on the American public. Those who know their American history realize there’s nothing new in dominance of our political institutions by wealthy elites. Old Ben Franklin feared the anti-democratic leanings of both George Washington and John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson’s candidacy against the incumbent Adams was an anti-monarchist and pro-democracy campaign that featured the birth of our two party system.
Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people. From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare they have become the tools of corrupt interests, which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes. Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.
The invisible government of today has mounted a massive assault on the “general welfare” that threatens public resources like air and water, public education, public parks, infrastructure, and services as basic as police and fire fighters.
Locally, public battery consists of the usual obeisance to “privatization” and deregulation, but also of repeated rounds of lower developer fees and routine attacks on air and water, public resources that magically revert to private ownership whenever it appears the public may begin to regain at least a modicum of control. So it is that Modesto Mayor James Ridenour and City Council members Joe Muratore, Dave Lopez, and Stephanie Burnside recently decided to go down the road to Village I again as they approved lower developers’ fees. And newly-elected Congressman Jeff Denham made an attack on Wild and Scenic status of the Merced River one of his first priorities, as he seeks to secure more public water for private use.
By filling up the board with only elected officials, the cause of clean air was lost right there. It guaranteed that the only voices heard were those of industry and business.
Like water, air is a public resource, and like Teddy Roosevelt, Dan McCorquodale realizes most politicians no longer represent the public interest.