Maryann Tobin

For anyone who truly values free elections and democracy, 2012 is a troubling year.

While Election Day seems like it cannot come fast enough, the events shaping it are unlike any others in recent memory.

Money from Super PACs has fully corrupted the system, and the GOP has gone from the party of family values to the party determined to take control of the behavior Americans, by force if necessary. It's somewhat like a stern parent trying to control a child, but without the suggestion of real concern or care. It's a power-play, nothing more.

There is an air of meanness and desperation to the 2012 elections. Family values have been replaced by division and pitting Americans against one another, as if one kind of person is somehow superior to another.

Ideological zealots and religious fundamentalists represent the greatest danger to the American spirit and individualism.

"We have created a society in which materialism overwhelms moral commitment, in which the rapid growth that we have achieved is not sustainable environmentally or socially, in which we do not act together to address our common needs. Market fundamentalism has eroded any sense of community and has led to rampant exploitation of unwary and unprotected individuals," prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said in Mother Jones.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian engineer Dmitry Orlov, chronicled the events that led to the transformation of the nation in a report he called, "The Five Stages of Collapse."

  • Stage 1: Financial Collapse
  • Stage 2: Commercial Collapse
  • Stage 3: Political Collapse
  • Stage 4: Social Collapse
  • Stage 5: Cultural Collapse

While there is no direct line drawn between what happened in the former Soviet Union and the United States, there are a great many similarities that are cause for alarm.

In 2012, the United States has barely survived its financial collapse of 2008, brought on by corrupt Wall Street bankers who perverted capitalism to the point where they pushed it off a cliff. The only reason, in my view, that America survived at all, did not come from domestic determination to stave off an economic depression, but from China and other American creditors, that would have fallen like dominos behind any implosion of the U.S. dollar.

And how did we show gratitude to our creditors? By threatening to default on those loans in 2011.

Stage 3, 4, and 5 in America

In 2011, radical conservative fundamentalists managed to convince Americans that raising the debt ceiling was an increase in government spending, instead of truthfully telling them that raising the debt ceiling was required in order to honor payments on money already borrowed.

Deceiving the U.S. population about the debt ceiling may have been the most Machiavellian lie ever told.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fueled the falsehood by saying, "No president — in the near future, maybe in the distant future — is going to be able to get the debt ceiling increased without a re-ignition of the same discussion of how do we cut spending."

Either McConnell really did not know that raising the debt ceiling pays old debts, not new ones, or he was placing political gamesmanship ahead of his fidelity to his country. With more than 26 years in the U.S. Senate, it's hard to believe that McConnell didn't know what raising the debt ceiling limit was for.

The debt ceiling battle marked the acceleration of a radical conservative movement that has lead to less freedom and democracy, not more, including:

Voter suppression laws in more than 30 states, attempts and successes in rolling back women's rights, civil rights, union rights, environmental safety, and a whole slew of other protections and freedoms that Americans once enjoyed. All are now in danger of being stripped away by the ideological extremists who have taken power in Washington, D.C..

In 2012, it seems that the more politicians promise freedom, the more they use their power to create new laws to take it away.

By far, the most dangerous threat to American freedom today is domestic terrorism encouraged by dishonest politicians. Lying and distortion has become the rule, not the exception. And religion has infiltrated politics in ways clearly prohibited by the Founding Fathers.

Driven by power and money above all else, America is racing away from freedom toward a fascist oligarchy, and most will not see it until it's too late.

In a letter written to William Elkin, Abraham Lincoln wrote:

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before…"


If you like to write about U.S. politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.


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