Smedley Butler

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Pakistan is a democracy with a difference. Not only does their national government alternate between civilian and military control, their political parties are lead by family dynasties. Here in the US, all our governments have been civilian, so far, and our political dynasties are not yet as firmly entrenched as they are in Pakistan. India also was ruled by a dynasty, the Nehru dynasty, until recently. The US almost suffered a coup by the military in 1934-5, but General Smedley Butler, chosen by Wall Street to replace FDR, would not participate.

We have a two party system here in the US with two family dynasties maneuvering to exert and maintain control. There is the Bush-Republican Party and the Kennedy-Democratic Party, each led by a patriarch or sometimes a matriarch like Indira Gandhi or Benazir Bhutto. Interesting enough, both matriarchs were assassinated. Before his death, the patriarch of the Kennedy family, Ted Kennedy, handed off leadership temporarily to Barack Obama.

Dynasties are the inevitable result of great concentrations of wealth. According to former Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis, you can have democracy or you can have great concentrations of wealth, but not both at the same time. That is the reason the Bush-Republican Party wants to eliminate the estate (death) tax, to maintain the dynasty’s grip on our politics.

It is not too late to stop our drift toward rule by dynasties, rather than true democracy. However, we are close to rule by dynasties and getting closer day by day. The Citizens United decision by the US Supreme Court is quickly bringing that day closer. To stop that drift, we must unite to oppose dynastic rule by the wealthiest among us and their supporters, the one percent who place their interests ahead of the national interest.