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COLUMN: Restoring democracy takes time

COLUMN: Restoring democracy takes time

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It’ll all be over soon. You’ve surely made up your mind, and if you haven’t your voting procedure must be “eeny, meeny, miney, moe.”

One way or another America will know who will helm our government for the next four years.

But will it be over?

If Donald Trump wins again, I don’t know how I’ll feel. I’ve felt like I ate too much pumpkin pie washed down with lighter fluid since Nov. 8, 2016. And his victory would not only mean four more years of his self-absorption and the late-night Tweets of an illiterate high school bully, it would mean America has officially set its course toward a narrative only as deep as ”Goodnight Moon.”

It will be the story of Manifest Destiny where white settlers were heroes against savage natives. A fairy tale where industrialists built an economic juggernaut simply by pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps. A Movie of the Week version of history that condenses systemic racism and sexism into a minute narrated by Kayleigh McEnany.

And if Joe Biden wins? Trump challenging that result and insanity from far-right militias concern me, yet I’m hopeful of that victory. My stomach will digest again and four years of itchy hives will subside.

Will America be saved?

The slide from representative democracy into oligarchy began long before Trump took office. Four decades of trickle-down economics that diminished the middle class will not be overcome in four years. And Joe Biden can’t undo it anyway. The machinery that corporatized the Democratic Party in order to win within an oligarchy will see to that.

I’m not bashing Biden! The difference will be night and day between a Biden administration and Trump’s revolving door of Monty Python “Knights Who Say Nee!” Heck, hearing full sentences again is enough reason to vote for Biden. But Joe is not going to move far from the cozy relationships between Washington and Wall Street. Democrats win by raising money too.

No, the die is cast. Policy in America is controlled by money. Money that is in the hands of a small percentage who use it to, a) make more, b) protect what they made, and c) repeat a to b. That is beyond oligarchy and is bona fide plutocracy.

Furthermore, with a stacked Supreme Court, Citizens United, which guarantees the imbalanced influence of wealth in politics, will not be reversed. Even a Blue Wave, which would at least pave the way for expanding health care, affordable education, and reducing usury debt, will not move us away from having a ruling class. No less than John Adams said “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.”

Wow. That was depressing. But I’m not depressed. No, I’m nervous. Nervous, yet hopeful that the next generation, and generations that follow, are going to see improvement and understand that the future will be determined by their participation and their values, not ours. Change is often as slow as glacial ice, but it comes.

This is going to be a long hard road any way the pumpkin pie is sliced.

Gary Kroeger is a former local business owner and advertising executive in Cedar Falls.

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