Democracy at Risk
(or "31 Missing Words")

In response to my article published as "Obama and status quo doesn't work" in the June 10, 2012 issue of the Orlando Sentinel as a letter to the editor, it should be  noted that the article as submitted was heavily edited by the Sentinel editorial staff prior to publication and without my knowledge.  The Sentinel ahs a 250 word limit on submitted items; they chose to leave out 31 words of my submission, highlighted in red below.  The total submitted article appears next:

"I am upset with Obama and the Democrats.  As a liberal, this may seem antithetical.  After four years the economy remains a mess, those responsible go unpunished, and regulatory reforms and serious jobs programs out of congress are essentially non-existent.  We elected hope and were given Chicago school economics.

I don’t spend much time defending the president; I remind my conservative friends that the Republican party controls the legislative agenda and congressional funding.  Yes, I’m more angry with them, but the real problem isn’t about political dogma, it’s about political influence exerted by those who contribute large sums to political campaigns and our collective acquiescence to the corruption that influence brings.

What is playing out here and in Europe is about maintaining the status quo; saving economic and political institutions that don’t work for the people and maintaining the interests of the corporate and wealthy elite.  We play along because we want stability, because we feel helpless, and because this is the only system we have known. 

It is a Faustian bargain and we suffer the consequences; our system prioritizes profits over investment, creates crumbling national infrastructure, decimates educational and research investment, has reduced our standard of living, and condemns a generation of youth to unemployment and limited career options. 

We must elect politicians who promote better policies and programs over ideology, and we must stop turning a blind eye to a system which promotes corruption over the needs of the people, otherwise we are complicit in the results."

The article above was meant to highlight the problem of campaign finance and the influence of large contributions on all political campaigns these days. 

In their failure to act on critical issues facing our country I don't commend either party and I regret the hard feelings this stand may have generated toward me and this position.  But the fact remains that as long as we treat corporations like individual entities with the same rights as normal citizens, as long as we lack transparency in all forms of political donations, and as long as we fail to investigate corruption in our government, our democracy is at risk and people need to wake up to this fact.

Doug Maukonen, 14 June 2012, Flag Day!