4 Big Gains for Justice, Equality

December 31, 2013 10:19 AM21 comments

nfbentonpicBy all accounts, 2013 has been an eventful year, a good one for those who look at events not day-to-day, but from the standpoint of what Dr. Martin Luther King called that “moral arc of the universe that bends toward justice.”

Dr. King added such bending is conditional upon the determination of justice-minded persons, and in 2013 some major achievements for such efforts were realized.

Knowing that few things done, no matter how meritorious, cannot subsequently be undone, we move forward with the constant conviction that the best years of our lives still remain ahead. Holding to that conviction is the single finest idea for a New Year’s resolution I’ve come up with.

In this spirit, the most significant developments of 2013 include the following, tentatively ranked for importance:

1. The Affordable Care Act is implemented. Its enemies have remained relentless in their efforts to denounce, lie about and discredit this seminal achievement, as they’ve done throughout the process leading to its passage and implementation, and they’ve had a heyday pointing fingers at the glitches that accompanied the roll-out of on-line registration this fall. Note that none of these critics offered ways to fix the problems, but only to insist that they’re proof the whole thing is a bad idea.

But over the next few months, Americans will discover that this is one of the greatest new government-led benefits to a majority of the population of our lifetimes, right up there with Social Security and Medicare. Howling enemies of the program will continue their relentless attacks, as they did with the implementation of Social Security and Medicare, but this plan will work, and anyone who dedicated too much political capital to bad-mouthing it will find they did so at their peril in coming elections, as soon as the mid-term elections next fall.

2. The world’s most powerful institution attacks“trickle down economics.” It was not the elevation of Pope Francis, but what he said once in the driver’s seat of the world’s most powerful institution that has set a precondition for a new global counteroffensive against the American-led obscene escalation of economic inequality. In his 50,000-word treatise delivered in November, the Pope used sharp language to denounce core, darling economic precepts of the “free market” radicals who dominate Wall Street and the U.S. Republican Party, those who’ve cut off food stamps and extended unemployment benefits to millions of Americans just this month.

Cautioning against the “idolatry of money,” the Pope set a marker for the rise of a sorely-needed new broad-based social force needed now more than at any point since the darkest days of the robber baron excesses of the 19th century industrial revolution. Buoyed by the Pope’s authoritative comments, organized labor, community activists, an array of religious institutions and political parties in all corners of the globe can unleash a push-back not seen in far too long to redress economic injustice and set humanity back on a much better course.

3. The whistle blow of the century exposes a totalitarian octopus to the light of day. Edward Snowden’s heroic effort to alert the American people, and the world, to the massive overreach of the National Security Agency’s spying mega-kraken may, as some feel, be too little too late to undo the monolith poised to wage a global war against enemies of the ruling elites on this planet, but then again, maybe not. The revelations have nothing to do with whether or not any abuses of the system have yet occurred, although the fact a federal judge said they’ve failed to stop any terrorist incident so far is important. This operation amounts to military intelligence thugs run amok, not excluding open-faced lying to Congress.

Any notion of a genuine democracy is fundamentally threatened by such an operation, and it’s better we know how tenuous our democracy really is.

4. Full equal rights are extended to all Americans, at last. A Supreme Court decision, state elections and public opinion polls have come to strongly support the extension of “equal protection under the law” to the last category of Americans systematically denied them until now, to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual citizens.

 

  • JFallsChurch

    what garbage

  • Lynn K

    Once I see the constant reference to this as a ‘democracy’ I can almost sense an idiot democrap who knows not that this nation is a Republic and not under the sphere of the socialist overused cover word…democracy.

    • Dar Dedar

      If I only had a penny for each time some idiotic wingnut tried to make this ludicrous quibble. Why is it that only simpleton conservatives it seems can’t seem to comprehend that our republic, is a form, a subset, of democracy?

      • Lynn K

        Only a socialist would think our Republic is a lesser form of a democracy. But then I have to assume they never read Benjamin’s comments nor the fact that nowhere is democracy mentioned as being our form of government by the founders.

        Franklin: “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”

        Or maybe they have not read the following:
        http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/articles/05/republic.html

        • Dar Dedar

          And sometimes they even try to argue about it. Good grief.

          L: “think our Republic is a lesser form of a democracy.”>>

          Not lesser, wingnut, a subset. It’s semantics. A car is a subset, a form, of a vehicle, that doesn’t make it “lesser,” it’s the same thing. Learn:
          “In contemporary usage, the term democracy refers to a
          government chosen by the people, whether it is direct or representative.[64] The term republic has many different meanings, but today often refers to a representative democracy…”
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy

          Get informed. All modern forms are democracy are representative. Your conservative wingnut talking point is antique and idiotic.

          • Lynn K

            You obviously did not read the link I provided but then you were too busy demeaning the person and refuse to read the message. Typical ‘progressive’ mentality.

          • Dar Dedar

            I didn’t read the link because I have corrected this ludicrous conservative talking point a dozen times over the years. I actually know what the word “democracy” and “republic” mean, and one is a form of the other. Your semantic quibble based on an archaic misuse and misunderstanding of the word, fails.

          • Lynn K

            I accept that my point fails just as it would to a child in a classroom who refuses to do his homework then complains that the teacher did not allow him to cheat.
            The founders did perhaps quibble but they surely knew the difference between the Republic they were establishing and the democracy they voiced against.

          • Dar Dedar

            L: “I accept that my point fails…”>>

            That would be progress. It’s really not too much to ask that a person use words in a normative way in the time they live in.

            L: “The founders did perhaps quibble…”>>

            Words change over the centuries. In modern usage, current time, we live in a representative form of democracy known as a republic. Our republic, like all modern republics, is a form of democracy, just as all cars are a form of a vehicle.

            Your talking point semantic quibble is ridiculous.

          • Lynn K

            If my points are ridiculous prove me wrong. Show me one time the founders actually made comment they were creating a democracy instead of The Republic.

          • Dar Dedar

            This is grade school stuff. You don’t live in the 1700’s, you live in 2014, so you don’t use words in the same way they were used in the 1700’s, and then pretend to correct people who actually know how words are used in 2014, unless you want to look like a silly person.
            At that time there were notions of what we would now refer to as “direct democracy.” That’s the way they were using the term. Now, in 2014, since direct democracy doesn’t have any real relevance anymore, democracy has come to refer to all of the different forms in which it exists. Again:
            “In contemporary usage, the term democracy refers to a
            government chosen by the people, whether it is direct or representative.[64] The term republic has many different meanings, but today often refers to a representative democracy…” –ibid

            Our government is a representative form of democracy known as a republic. When you complain about someone referring to our government, correctly, as a democracy, you are using language in an antique way that is about 250 years out of date. That’s a long time, even for a conservative.

            de·moc·ra·cy
            noun, plural de·moc·ra·cies.
            1. government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
            2. a state having such a form of government: The United States and Canada are democracies.
            Random House Dictionary
            http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/democracy?s=t

            Further explanation here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/06/08/740125/-Federalist-10-A-Republic-or-a-Pure-Democracy

          • Lynn K

            “…and to the Republic for which it stands,…”
            I know you liberals hate the pledge but it still
            holds truth.

          • Dar Dedar

            a) the god nonsense was added in the ’50’s.
            b) the republic referred to is a form of democracy, just as a car is a form of a vehicle and a conservative is a form of an idiot.

          • Lynn K

            Typical liberal/progressive/socialist/Marxist to use God in the lower case noun. It is God, not god.
            I live in a REPUBLIC not in the back seat of a car where most libtards seem to play games.

          • Dar Dedar

            Lynn: “It is God, not god.”>>

            Dear sweet dimbulb Lynn, I have a dictionary of god’s. It has over 1,500 of them and is very incomplete. It has your local one listed, as it should, along with Abaasy, Azi, Calliope, Daikoku, gyges, Kishimo-jin, Pereplut, Pinga Qaholom, Wakan-Tanka, Baal, Allah, Vishnu, Shiva, Loki,
            Quetzalcoatl, Zeus, Odin, Apollo, Osiris, Krishna and all the rest. Here is the blurb for our local one:

            “YAHWEH–Semite
            Storm god. By all accounts, he is an extremely jealous god who cannot tolerate the presence of other divinities. This
            is a source of great puzzlement to many of them as, when Yahweh was a member of the Grand Council of the Gods
            presided over by El of Ugarit, relations between Yahweh and the rest of the council members were always most cordial.” –Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, p. 195

            There isn’t a drop of evidence for yours or any of the others, sorry about that. Wish there was.

            Lynn: “I live in a REPUBLIC”>>

            And that republic, is a form, a subset, of democracy, as all of them all. Argue with the dictionary wingnut. And move into the 21st century some time.

            D.
            ——————
            “An atheist doesn’t have to be someone who thinks he
            has a proof that there can’t be a god. He only has to be someone who believes that the evidence on the God
            question is at a similar level to the evidence on the werewolf question.” –John McCarthy

          • Lynn K

            You refuse to read my links wherein it shows the founders established a Republic and why ours is NOT a democracy.
            You ramble on about your ‘god’s’ when my point was the ‘God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance.
            You as do most atheists argue in support of pagan gods but have no idea of what that means.
            Was McCarthy a school chum of yours? None of his nor your mysterious god’s will ever convince anyone but the ignorant who seem to also be liberals and their comrades.
            I am tired of this idiotic banter. It is frustrating knowing that not in this world nor any other would there be a magic pill that can convert a self absorbed liberal into accepting the truth when it presents itself as per the links I provided but you refuse to read and at the same time offer no evidence to support your own argument.
            Dar Dedar does fit you. It connects with alien from outer space.
            Bye bye spaceman!

          • Dar Dedar

            L: “the founders established a Republic”>>

            Which is a form of democracy.

            L: “ours is NOT a democracy.”>>

            It’s not a pure democracy, it’s not a direct democracy, but it is most certainly a democracy. Wherever you got your education from? You need to look into getting your money back.

            L: “my point was the ‘God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance.”>>

            There is no god specified there. It could be anything. With conservatives their god is usually money.

            L: “in support of pagan gods”>>

            Pagan is a phony Xtian distinction. And it doesn’t get any more pagan than the patched together god and myths of the Bible. Note:
            “Non-Christian sources are instructive in tracing parallels to the cult of Mary. Virgin birth stories (e.g., Hera, Rhea Silvia, Brigid) were circulated in other cultures, as were tales of
            mothers mourning lost and deceased children (e.g., Demeter and Phersephone; Isis and Horus). Iconographically, just as Mary was often portrayed holding or nursing the infant Jesus, so too was the Eygptian goddess Isis depicted suckling her infant son, Horus. Even as Mary was called Queen of Heaven and sometimes depicted surrounded by the Zodiac and other symbols, so too were deities Isis. Magna Mater, and Artemis. Such parallels show that Mary’s cult had roots in the cults of the female deities of the Greco-Roman world, cult ultimately eradicated by Christianity….” –Oxford Companion to the
            Bible, pg. 500, article on Mary

            Standard, mainstream Xtian scholarship, which of course you don’t believe in because you’re a fundamentalist who believes things on faith.

            L: “I am tired of this idiotic banter.”>>

            It’s not fun being taken to the woodshed?

            L: “offer no evidence to support your own argument.”>>

            Now you’re just bearing false witness. I’ve buried you in well referenced data. Tsk tsk.

            I am reminded, just as you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink, so also, you can drag a fundie to the truth, but you can’t make them think.

          • Lynn K

            By definition, a republic is a representative form of government that is ruled according to a charter, or constitution, and a democracy is a government that is ruled according to the will of the majority. Although these forms of government are often confused, they are quite different. The main difference between a republic and a democracy is the charter or constitution that limits power in a republic, often to protect the individual’s rights against the desires of the majority. In a true democracy, the majority rules in all cases, regardless of any consequences for individuals or for those who are not in the majority on an issue.

            Variations

            Adding to the confusion over the difference between the two forms of government is the fact that, in practice, there are many variations of each. For example, a representative democracy is one in which, like a republic, officials are elected to vote on behalf of the people on most issues, rather than having all of the citizens vote on every issue. Furthermore, a constitutional democracy is a representative democracy in which the government’s power is restricted by a constitution. In essence, this is a republic, so for practical purposes, the difference between a republic and a constitutional democracy is often largely one of semantics.

            Government by the People

            In both types of government, decisions are made by the people or their representatives rather than by a monarch. The head of state, in most cases, is referred to as a president and is elected by the people, directly or indirectly. Government representatives in either type of government also are elected by the people. In a direct democracy, in which people themselves vote on all issues, government officials or representatives merely carry out the will of the majority rather than voting on behalf of the people.

            Protecting Individuals’ Rights

            A true democracy is rare because of the potential for it to turn into what might be called “mob rule.” This occurs when the majority makes decisions that benefit itself at the expense of the minority. For example, a racial, religious or socioeconomic class that consists of more than 50% of the voting population could — theoretically — vote to give itself certain benefits or to oppress or restrict those in the minority. In a true democracy, there is no legal power that protects minorities.

            In a republic or a constitutional democracy, however, the charter or constitution typically guarantees certain rights to individuals or minority groups. This prevents those rights from being taken away or infringed upon by the will of the majority. This protection is fundamental for the republican form of government.

          • Dar Dedar

            I’m sorry that you don’t have a fifth grade understanding of modern English and how words evolve over time. I’ve given you the cure, but I can’t spoon fed it more or make it more simple. If you’re right, all the dictionary’s are wrong. Perhaps write them a note and let them know what you’ve discovered?

            “Bush pledges to spread democracy” http://www.cnn.com/2005/ALLPOLITICS/01/20/bush.speech/
            Poor Bush, becomes president but didn’t know he’s not governing in a democracy.

            “Why the United States Should Spread Democracy”
            http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/2830/why_the_united_states_should_spread_democracy.html

            Poor Harvard professor, doesn’t know what the word democracy means.
            You’re dumber than a birther. You’re disgracefully stupid.

  • JFallsChurch

    one references Franklin, one references Wikipedia

  • Tat45

    Hits and misses.

    1. The Affordable Care Act benefiting the majority of Americans? Yet to be seen. Even Obama stated that it would only provide insurance for a small fraction of those who are currently uninsured.

    But please, feel free to continue your unexamined, one-sided cheer-leading on that score.

    2. The Catholic church, the world’s most powerful institution? Don’t make me laugh.

    3. Spot on.

    4. “Marriage for none, civil unions for all” would be my preference, as opposed to an increased encroachment of government into the arena of what we should think, feel, and believe.

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