by E. J. Sieyes
Le Tiers Etat, 1789, posed the question “What is a nation?” stating that its essence was a single, collective body of people, living under a single common law, and represented by one legislature. This writing advanced the thoughts of Voltaire and the principles of democratic government so recently obtained in North America. In the monarchical, feudal government that was France at that time, there was the nobility, a privileged class that set itself apart from the great mass of the citizenry. The nobility isolated themselves from the people by their wealth, manipulating the government to their own ends, enacting provisions for their own benefit, and exempting themselves from those laws regulating the lives of the citizen. The wealthy, privileged nobility we called the Second Estate, owned the government and corrupted its processes to amass even greater wealth at the expense of the citizenry.
We are faced with much the same situation in New York today, our people are likewise afflicted with this same imperium in imperia. Our elected officials engineer political campaigns to perpetuate the power by two parties, both of which are financed and manipulated by a modern-day nobility, the wealthy elite. They only adhere to our Constitution when it suits the immediate goals of partisan politicians. Our Senators and Congressmen, and our government’s executive branch have exempted themselves from the laws they enact. They have granted to themselves a higher standard of medical care than generally available to the common citizen. Their compensation and benefits ranks among the top 1% of the nation. The 2013 salary for rank-and-file members of Congress is $174,000, and their median personal wealth grew by more than 16% from $911,510 in 2009 during the worst economic downturn we’ve faced since the Great Depression. And then there are the rarely-reported non-income financial benefits and post-election disposition of campaign funds.
This wealthy, privileged nobility sets itself apart from the common citizen. It separates itself from the law to be applied to the rest of us. It manipulates political power to serve the affluent, privileged class, and to extend dominion over the common citizenry. Our politicians serve the financial interests of our Second Estate who finance their political campaigns. They perpetuate a corrupt system by enacting provisions to exclude the dissenting voice of alternative political parties. They divide and inflame the population, distracting our attention from the true nature of the political environment. They buy votes by promising un-earned benefits to segments of the population, or though outright voter fraud. Their goal is to win rather than to represent the will of the people. The Democratic Party’s claim of championing voter’s rights is the great lie perpetrated on the American people: their true motive is not egalitarian, but perpetuation of partisan political power. Corrupt local political bosses prefer a voter who does not understand issues or even the English Language, but only votes as directed and in however many jurisdictions the party can get them registered. All this conspires to marginalize the political rights of the great mass of the population and suppress the growth of those vocal minor parties that represent the true will of the people.
Our government is founded on the principle of consent by those who are governed – ALL those who are governed. We experienced war and created social upheaval to ensure the voice of all the people would be heard in our legislature. Can we now allow our government to be manipulated by a wealthy, privileged class for their own benefit? Congressmen and other elected officials must be selected by proportional representation, not by a corrupt, self-serving partisan system held hostage to big-money interests. We must employ modern technology, such as real-time biometric identification, to ensure every citizen can cast one vote. We must treat campaign platforms and promises as binding contracts with the electorate with severe penalties for betrayal of faith. And we must totally eliminate the purchase of political influence through campaign funding by our wealthy Second Estate.