Harvard professor Larry Lessig posits a country called Lesterland, where 144,000 people who are all coincidentally named Lester choose the candidates that the other 310 million get to vote for.
CLEVELAND (PRWEB) July 03, 2020
One of Abraham Lincoln's least known quotes is this: "Be not deceived. Revolutions do not go backwards."
But as America celebrates July 4th 2020, it looks like that may no longer be true.
Tracking a twenty year plunge, twin opinion polls in 2000 https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2000/07/04/this-just-in/d9c46472-4592-4e0c-9229-91243080dec7/ and again in 2020 https://www.crainscleveland.com/guest-blogger/poll-shows-july-4-looks-grim-us-constitutional-rights show that Americans' faith in their Constitutional rights has cratered.
In the newly released study, the identical questions on Constitutional rights were asked by the same research company, Opinion Research Corp, of Princeton, N.J., in both years. The scientific results have a margin of error of 3%. The survey was sponsored by Jeff Barge of Lucky Star Communications.
The disillusioning results are as follows:
--While 64% of Americans felt that rich and poor had the same access to free speech in the year 2000https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2000/07/04/this-just-in/d9c46472-4592-4e0c-9229-91243080dec7/, in the survey taken on June 3-5th last month only 52% felt that way, a drop of 12 percentage points. https://www.crainscleveland.com/guest-blogger/poll-shows-july-4-looks-grim-us-constitutional-rights
"Only Tik-Tokers and K-Pop fans really enjoy 'free speech' in America anymore," says Barge, who has completed successful survey projects with Pilot Pen, Integra Realty Resources and others. "Just look at the power these groups have to 'fill' seats at Pres. Trump's recent Tulsa rally."
Adds West Hollywood Mayor and USC law professor John Heilman: "While we’ve seen wealthy interests and foreign nations use money to try to manipulate and misguide public opinion, people of limited means can use the internet to express and amplify opinions."
"The rest of us seemingly have to pay to get our voices heard," says Barge. "In the current Senate race in Colorado right now, for example, Democratic candidate John Hickenlooper says he is being outspent 3-1 by his Republic opponent. To get speech nowadays, you have to pay."
--While 83% of Americans felt that rich and poor had the same access to the right to vote in the year 2000 https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2000/07/04/this-just-in/d9c46472-4592-4e0c-9229-91243080dec7/, twenty years later only 55% feel that way, a drop of 28 percentage points.https://www.crainscleveland.com/guest-blogger/poll-shows-july-4-looks-grim-us-constitutional-rights
"It's worth noting that we may already have a "de facto" vote by mail system in place -- 85% of the vote in the most recent Kentucky primary came by mail, while Minneapolis predicts that 70% of the votes for November's election will be mail-in ballots," says Barge.
Gerrymandering, purges of voter lists, overly stringent voter ID rules, intimidating poll monitors, inadequate voting facilities,and campaigns against voting by ex-felons are other barriers that Stacey Abram’s “Fair Fight Action” and others are fighting. https://fairfight.com/
--While 41% of Americans felt that rich and poor had the same access to the right to run for elected office in 2000 https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2000/07/04/this-just-in/d9c46472-4592-4e0c-9229-91243080dec7/, the new survey last month shows only 33% now feel that way, a drop of 8 percentage points.https://www.crainscleveland.com/guest-blogger/poll-shows-july-4-looks-grim-us-constitutional-rights
Harvard professor Larry Lessig posits a country called Lesterland, where 144,000 people who are all coincidentally named Lester choose the candidates that the other 310 million get to vote for.https://www.ted.com/talks/lawrence_lessig_we_the_people_and_the_republic_we_must_reclaim?language=en Seattle demi-billionaire Nick Hanauer foresees pitchforks coming for his "fellow .01%-ers" if they do not address the issue of increasing wealth inequality. He makes comparisons to the period preceding the French Revolution in the 18th century.https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/the-pitchforks-are-coming-for-us-plutocrats-108014
Whatever the situation, as Timothy Tyson of the Poor Peoples' Campaign and Duke University emailed about the right to run for office: "Politics requires large sums of money and free time to run, and poor people do not have those things, nor political action committees that flood the airways for their preferred candidates. Poor candidates are practically un-electable."
--While 28% of Americans felt that rich and poor had the same access to the federal courts in 2000https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2000/07/04/this-just-in/d9c46472-4592-4e0c-9229-91243080dec7/, 35% feel they do today, a gain of 7 percentage points.https://www.crainscleveland.com/guest-blogger/poll-shows-july-4-looks-grim-us-constitutional-rights
According to research conducted by Prof. Joe Soss, the Cowles Chair for the Study of Public Service at the University of Minnesota, criminal courts in the U.S. have become "desperate for revenues and begun siphoning them from the bottom up, so that defendants in criminal cases can no longer afford equal justice." https://www.hhh.umn.edu/news/who%E2%80%99s-looting-whom-humphrey-schools-joe-soss-discusses-predatory-criminal-justice-practices
Soss writes: https://www.hhh.umn.edu/news/who%E2%80%99s-looting-whom-humphrey-schools-joe-soss-discusses-predatory-criminal-justice-practices “Since the 1990s, governments and corporations in the United States have created a host of new ways to generate revenues by extracting resources disproportionately from poor black, indigenous, and other communities of color,” he writes. “Such practices include fine-centered policing, court fees, commercial bail, prison charges, civil asset forfeiture, and more." https://www.hhh.umn.edu/news/who%E2%80%99s-looting-whom-humphrey-schools-joe-soss-discusses-predatory-criminal-justice-practices
Dr. Pangloss in Voltaire's "Candide" suggests that the right path for each citizen is "tending our own garden." But while Americans have been busy tending their individual gardens, someone else seems to have taken over the whole land.
As America's Constitutional rights slip away on this national holiday, Americans should all vow to vote their convictions this coming November 3 and restore America to what "truly" made it great -- its guaranteed Constitutional rights.
--Jeff Barge is the president of Lucky Star Communications, a Cleveland-based communications consulting firm. He commissioned this survey. Copies of the survey tables have been sent to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Sherrod Brown, and is available upon request.