News that Katrina-era new Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has been indicted for corruption – accepting a total of over $220,000 in bribes as well as free private jet trips and truckloads of free granite for his family business – has some conservatives all a lather today. They’ve never forgiven Nagin for pointing out Bush’s incredible incompetence in the aftermath of the hurricane and are keen to point out that Nagin was a Democrat. Well, ostensibly anyway. He was a lifelong registered Republican who contributed to the Bush campaign up until he cynically switched allegiances to run for the mayorship. Really, then, he was just another corrupt politician – which anyone not heavily invested in the sports-team fandom which plagues both major party’s supporters recognises is a bipartisan problem.
Both the Tea party on the far right and groups like Occupy and USUncut on the far left see that money and corruption, hand in hand as always, are a major problem in US politics today, subverting the democratic process and turning it into a plutocracy – government by the wealthy. The only people who don’t want to see it are the two big parties’ leaderships and senior officials, who are making out like bandits either through corruption or via the more legal but no less odious practise of parlaying their political fame into well-paying figurehead seats on corporate boards: the Republicans only relatively more than the Democrats – the difference, if one exists, is certainly one of degree rather than one of kind.
I won’t even begin to explore here how that could be changed because readers’ mileages will always differ. Some will see violence and revolution as the only answer – the old Marxist saw about a wall and last cigarettes for the plutocrats seems to work equally well as a solution for many on the Tea party right – while others will still see power in the ballot box if only “we the people” club together in solidarity against the corrupt and the plutocrats and stop voting for them no matter which party they say they belong to, but will disagree on which shade of political alternative to opt for: right-libertarian or left-socialist-democrat. I’m only a blogger, all I can do is catcall and poke at the fringes.