Painful to watch U.S. turn to plutocracy

Once again, the world is witnessing what happens when a government shows a callous disregard for the common good of its people, choosing exclusion and self-aggrandizement instead.

The now erstwhile government of Iraq is the latest soon-to-be casualty of its own stupidity. Despite all the promises the propped-up Nouri al-Maliki regime would be a model democracy, inclusive and productive, it has turned out to be an exclusive theocracy with power going only to one religious sect – the Shiites.

Pope Francis’ clear vision on the subject of the “common good” is two-fold: a fundamental lesson on governing, as well as a sound moral and economic foundation. When everyone believes we are all in this together, the cohesive forces it generates will be embraced by loyalty and trust. This is precisely the lesson eventually learned by successful governing bodies since time began. Why these modern-day “nation-builders” in Iraq missed this point is beyond me, especially when our own government’s Constitution is based on this concept.

On the home front, our institution of government is increasingly resembling that of a plutocracy as the increasing disenfranchisement of the powerless reaches the point where the fading cohesive forces of trust and loyalty are no longer able to bind us together. Concurrently, some states are using apartheid tactics, such as placing voting restrictions on the poor. Others are denying Medicaid to the poor, so if (that’ s a big “if”) and when they become eligible for Medicare, their poor health will be a drag on the system. It is not a pretty picture.

Money has corrupted all branches of government. In the Supreme Court, there is no appetite to limit the influence of money in politics. Consequently, the poor are getting poorer as the rich get richer, and, with each passing day, the rich-to-poor ratio is reaching the epic proportions that have historically signaled impending financial implosions of devastating magnitudes. Congress has the power to change this, but they won’t for fear the big-money interests will “primary” them out of their jobs. So much for “profiles in courage.”

It is extremely painful to observe the unfolding of this process, and writing about the loss of trust and loyalty is no less agonizing.

JACK CASSIDY

Johnstown