Bring in the oligarchs

I'm a big fan of EJ Dionne; I somehow (not sure how, because it wasn't anything like a normal occurence for me to be reading the part of the paper where his columns end up.  I saved a hard copy of it; I wish I could find it) found myself reading his column one or two days after September 11th, and it was just a fantastic read.  He really did a perfect job of capturing the feelings of it.

So I started reading him fairly regularly.  I soon found that he, like me, is a liberal Catholic, which certainly gives us a lot of philosophical commonality.  I now hear him from time to time on NPR, which I appreciate, and I even heard him give a commencement speech once (at a friend's graduation; I had no idea he would be there).

Well, his latest column talks about how we've pretty much gotten into an oligarchic situation in the US, which is something I've believed for a long time.  But his finish is absolutely perfect:

In his McCutcheon opinion, Roberts piously declares: “There is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders.” This lovely commitment escaped him entirely last summer when he and his allies threw out Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. Suddenly, efforts to protect the right of minorities “to participate in electing our political leaders” took second place behind all manner of worries about how Congress had constructed the law. The decision unleashed a frenzy in Republican-controlled states to pass laws that make it harder for African Americans, Latinos and poor people to vote.

Thus has this court conferred on wealthy people the right to give vast sums of money to politicians while undercutting the rights of millions of citizens to cast a ballot.

Send in the oligarchs.

Put that last line to a Sondheim tune, and remember that the next line of that song is, "Don't bother, they're here."

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