The beast has consumed our republic

Published 10:04 pm Wednesday, April 20, 2016

By Roger Leonard

Government is a beast, which if not tamed, watched and forever held vigil over, will consume first our freedoms and then us all.

This was the primary concern of our founding fathers as they fought tyranny and corruption more than 200 years ago. President Eisenhower saw it coming in the 1950s as the political/military/industrial complex, and spoke of how this central power could and would corrupt our republic. We are there now, and more.

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We have a political class of professional politicians and camp followers who decide who gets elected, and who stays in power. These decisions are usually driven by incumbency, which perpetuates the ruling class and concentrates power and influence.

This process also subverts the populist understanding of our Republic in a way that manipulates the masses into thinking they are choosing our leaders. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

We actually live in an oligarchic-pseudo Republic, run by private parties and moneyed interests, which decide who gets a chance to run and who gets elected.

Access to the ballot is controlled not just by the two main political parties, but by the power and money that control them all. Just look at how a candidate can get the majority of the popular vote, yet lose the delegate count by party manipulations.

Most voters believe America is a democracy, but they are wrong. Democracy or even a citizen-lead Republic in the U.S.A. is a myth.

The political establishment, including party bosses and political elites, will decide this election. They trump the voters by manipulating private rules.

I have pondered government for several decades, and I must admit that I never thought that if the Republican Party bosses did not get a candidate for president of their own liking, they just might choose to upend the entire election in a Democrat’s favor.

But that seems to be the case.

They say that four years lost is better than losing the entire party to either of two popular but uncontrollable candidates.

The manipulation of voters is a corruption of our republic. It places America in jeopardy by allowing the demands of the powerful career politicians, their highly paid consultants, professional lobbyists and big money donors to control this country.

Locally the same happens, but the winnowing process is usually defined by big money from developers and corporate interests. Such contributions fund those slick four-color handbills and election advertising, and usually for an incumbent who then owes their supporters.

One just has to remember the last election where Realtors and developers primarily funded incumbents they had relied upon in the past. Remember the three councilmen who lost their seats, but got a big check from these political action committees after the election? That’s how it all works — pay for play.

When you vote in November, do not believe you are selecting someone for president, senator, representative or even City Council. That is left to a powerful and hidden agenda.

It now costs more than a billion dollars to run for president and more than $300,000 to get elected as a senator. It costs more than $80,000 to run for mayor.

How is this system, with big money and backroom deals to just gain access to the ballot, any different than the system in Russia? At least in Russia, they are honest about the system being rigged by the oligarchs and a presidential dictator decides who has power, money and opportunity.

The voter no longer matters. In reality, only the elite and moneyed players in the major political parties are making the decisions.

It is about power and money, not about your vote, and that sounds just like Suffolk.

Roger Leonard is a Suffolk resident. Email him at