The Erosion of American Citizenship
by William Skink
Last year a Princeton study showed that without the influence of wealth, people don’t impact policy. This is quantifiable proof that America is an oligarchy:
The two professors came to this conclusion after reviewing answers to 1,779 survey questions asked between 1981 and 2002 on public policy issues. They broke the responses down by income level, and then determined how often certain income levels and organised interest groups saw their policy preferences enacted.
“A proposed policy change with low support among economically elite Americans (one-out-of-five in favour) is adopted only about 18% of the time,” they write, “while a proposed change with high support (four-out-of-five in favour) is adopted about 45% of the time.”
On the other hand:
When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it.
Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organisations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.
This economic powerlessness was on tragic display over the weekend at our nation’s capitol. While tourists swarmed DC a man allegedly committed suicide on the steps of the Capitol building. One witness claimed he had a sign that said “something about taxing the 1%”.
As it becomes more obvious that America is not a Democracy, there is a correlating diminishment of what it means to be a citizen.
A few days ago I wrote about the Obama regime peddling more weaponry than any president since WWII (he exceeded Bush’s 8 year sales total by year 5 of his presidency). What does that have to do with American citizenship? Allow me to explain.
One of America’s best customers is Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is currently bombing the poorest nation in the Middle East, Yemen. And in Yemen there are American citizens who have been abandoned by their government:
Khalid Awnallah, a Yemeni-American, is safe today in Michigan, but his wife and four children are among the thousands of American citizens believed stranded in the midst of an escalating civil war in Yemen.
“They are in a bad situation there, they are hearing bombs all the time and are scared to go out,” said Awnallah, whose family is in the Rada’a district of southern Yemen, a site of frequent battles between Houthi rebels and members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Despite the ongoing danger to their lives, Awnallah says that his family has received no assistance from the U.S. government. “[My family] has tried to get in touch, but no one is helping them,” he said. “They are asking me all the time if they are going to die here.”
On April 9, the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government on behalf of Awnallah’s family and dozens of other Yemeni-Americans trapped in the country. Citing Executive Order 12656, which obligates “protection or evacuation of U.S. Citizens and nationals abroad” in times of danger, the lawsuit further alleges that the U.S. government’s refusal so far to conduct evacuation operations in Yemen represents the continuation of longstanding policies that effectively deny full citizenship rights to Yemeni-Americans.
You would think, since American intelligence is no doubt helping coordinate Saudi Arabia’s bombardment, that extracting these American citizens would be a relatively risk-free matter. So why hasn’t it happened? Is it those funny sounding foreign names? You would think a president who has had his own citizenship questioned by racist Republicans would be a little more sensitive to the plight of these stranded citizens in Yemen.
And then there’s Egypt, where as of last month weaponry is once again flowing. Weeks after that decision, a judge in Egypt sentenced a U.S. citizen (along with many other) to life imprisonment:
CAIRO — An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced an American citizen, Mohamed Soltan, to life imprisonment for supporting an Islamist protest against the military ouster of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in the summer of 2013.
The presiding judge, Mohammed Nagi Shehata, sentenced more than 35 other defendants in the case to the same penalty and also confirmed death sentences in the same case for about a dozen defendants, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s top spiritual guide, Mohamed Badie, 71, as well as Mr. Soltan’s father, Salah Soltan.
Would there be more vigorous efforts to help these citizens if they had names like Mike or Sally?
The erosion of what it means to be an American citizen is a very disturbing trend. If you are not white and wealthy, there is more and more evidence that you simply don’t matter. The policies you want won’t be supported by your elected officials, the government won’t help you if you’re trapped abroad, and the constitution won’t protect you if the President decides you’re a terrorist and wants to kill you.