Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

June 11, 2013

We the People: Your vote — use it or lose it

By Pat Vaughn
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE — A powerful faction within the Republican Party is determined to downsize our federal government. They want to reshape programs that originated to protect common folks like us.

Corporations and private “investors” see huge profits to be made by “privatizing” public programs such as Social Security, Medicare, public education and the U.S. Post Office, turning them over to “private” businesses.

Most of these programs are not “entitlements” and have been paid for in advance by tax payers. These programs were enacted to “share” America’s wealth and protect the masses from the powers of the very rich. A responsible capitalism should provide decent “social” programs, but the current crop of politicians and their wealthy masters seem to want a vicious free-for-all, with the poor, elderly and those with health problems being left to die penniless in the street.

We are in danger of losing our public benefits because “We the People” have little true representation in Washington. Mismanagement by an earlier Congress, including a loan of solvent Social Security funds to the general budget, the costly Vietnam war and the height of ignorance or planned deceit by invading Iraq — all were very profitable to those who were “invested.”

Vice President Dick Cheney’s Halliburton $39.5 billion from Iraq alone, and then moved its headquarters to Dubai. The outright thievery by Wall Street during the Bush years benefited the already wealthy. “Big Business” now respects no laws (regulations), wants no controls and expects no punishments! Irresponsible predatory capitalism is a public danger.

Some were taught that it isn’t polite to discuss politics. But politics affects everyone, and it needs to be discussed and understood. Americans who don’t pay attention or else accept lies from those paid to tell them “how” to vote, Americans who don’t even “bother” to vote at all, are now in danger of losing even this Constitutional “entitlement.” Many have already lost their ability to vote in recent elections because of long lines in certain districts. This disenfranchisement of voters who live in the “wrong” districts will continue. Redistricting, gerrymandering and voter suppression are all being done to eliminate the power of “We the People”! Some actually think these dirty tricks are clever politics and admire the effort. They won’t when it finally reaches their neighborhoods.

Voting out of lifetime habit, not knowing issues or which candidate actually represents the people is almost as bad as failing to vote.

Corporations and the very wealthy are buying our politicians over and under the table, making our elected representatives their minions. If you don’t believe this is happening, look around! The current Republican leadership has attempted to privatize Social Security for years. Now they talk of vouchers for senior’s health care. Our post office may close, and too many prisons have been privatized, with each prisoner now costing $40,000 a year! The public school system and teachers are being threatened and underfunded purposely so for-profit charter schools can take over. Families should realize how that will affect the cost of educating their children.

Every voter must learn which political party and politicians represent them and which only care about the greedy, those who want to make even more money by selling out America and the average citizen.

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This column represents alternative thoughts to other published columns in the Crossville Chronicle. “We the People” is published each Wednesday. Opinions expressed in “We the People” columns are not necessarily those of the Crossville Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. For more information, contact John Wund, editor, at