Americans is not the label of a race, ethnicity or a singular culture. America is an ideal where all are created equal. It is characterized by the equality of rights and privileges. As Abraham Lincoln said American democracy is “…government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Government not by the few, but by all. According to Japheth J. Omojuiwa of the World Economic Forum (8/19/2016), “Democracy was built on the power and needs of the people.” But the excessive and rapacious desire for wealth and possessions by the few has shifted power from the many whose needs are not being met. Omojuiwa further states that democracy has been “…sold out to money,” and “…is the biggest threat to it [democracy] today. Democracy sold out to corruption and greed. …the dreams of the collective prosperity promised by democracy are being turned into nightmares for the majority and monumental wealth for the privileged….”
Fortunately, Omojuiwa claims that it is not too late, “…transparency and accountability must be the focus in a legitimate democracy.” We need campaign finance reform limiting the amount of money that can be donated by individuals, corporations and PACs. We need to regulate or eliminate lobbying. We need to ensure that all Americans are represented in our government. The normalization of greed must be unmasked. Excessively rewarding the manipulation of markets and monies, activities that do not create or innovate, should be halted. Stakeholders (those who give their time and lives) need to be rewarded at the same level as stockholders (those who only risk their excess money). The best way to achieve transparency and accountability is to VOTE! Don’t vote for candidates that run negative ads, vote for those who uphold what is good for democracy. Denounce greed. Celebrate honest hard work!
In The Soul of America, Jon Meacham quotes Theodore Roosevelt saying “But we must keep steadily in mind that no people were ever yet benefited by riches if their prosperity corrupted their virtue.”