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To My Students: What is Happening to our Country?

 Voting is a form of speech. And this country has had trouble with free speech since its inception. America was split ideologically at its beginning. When John Adams won the presidency in 1797 following eight years of George Washington's two terms of office, he demonstrated the split in our countrty., He proceeded to weaken the First Amendment - freedom of speech and press - by jailing those who criticized his administration. Since his party, the Federalist Pary, had taken the legislature and the presidency, he had the legislative support to get the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1797 passed by Congress to charge all those who opposed him with sedition. It was an ugly time.

Fortunately, the Alien and Sedition Acts had a sunset provision so that those legislative acts evaported at the end of his one presidential term in office. But it set the precedent for the First Admendment to be under attack and not so sacroscant as you might have been taught in your education  

Since that time the country has always been split between those who wanted the freedom to speak and write what they wished and those who considered such freedoms a risk to their way of life. Such freedoms are closely linked to the freedom to vote. After all, freedom to vote is engaging in free speech. At first America gradually broadened its understanding of "the people." First, those who could vote were only white men of property, then it became white men. After the Civil War, for a short time, Black men were included in people allowed to vote. Then with the Jim Crow laws that right to vote was lost. In 1919, white women earned the right to vote. Finally, in 1965, the Voting Rights Act was passed, and all adults could vote provided you were not a prisoner or freed felon (of which there were many Black people). Then came the backlash among the rich, and mostly white people.

I will settle for the 1970s as when rich, and mostly white people gained notable control, although they had been planning since the activist government of President Franklin D Roosevelt (FDR). These conservatives organized in different organizations, media companies and universities - the Federalist Society for those who wanted conservative judges; the ALEC (American Legoislative Exchange Council) nonprofit that lobbies for corporate interests including anti-climate change proposed legislation, and provides types of suggested legislation for state legislatures that curtail voting; the Heritage Foundation that financially supports groups adovcating for limited government and free enterprise; the media companies, such as Fox News. There are many more.

In the 1970s, the United States underwent a severe recession with serious stagflation. This was in the midst of significant globalization due to changing technology which allowed banking instituations to easily transfer and track huge amounts of funds across the globe. During President Ford's unsuccessful brief term of office, he along with Secretary of Treasury William Simon, advocated reduced federal spening and later tax cuts. This was the prelude to President Ronald Reagan who, in the 1980s, ushered in the "Age of Devolution." 

In the 1980s, the liberals lost the Superme Court when Reagan appointed William Rehnquist as Chief Justice. Although it took a few years, the Supreme Court has gradually replaced Congress as the chief public policy maker in the United States. Nine people unelected by the people to decide what federal and state laws are legal. Since the 1980s, the conservatives, who seek to prevent universal voting, dominate the market economy through large corporations, establish limited government when it suits them, and finance a strong defense, have controlled the political process. Although a case can be made that conservatives lost control during the Clinton and Obama administrations, a pwoerful case can be made that, indeed, they simply include those two more middle of the road administrations within their circle. Hence, President Clinton signed the so called welfare reform bill and  President Obama bailed out the banks in the 2008 recession. 

It always comes back to voting. If conservatives can control who votes, they can control state legislatures and thus control the election process. If they control the election process, they can determine who wins the presidency. The U.S. Constitution did not support universal voting at the beginning. It uses the Electoral College delegates to avoid universal voting for the Presidency.  So far, in the modern era, two presidencial candidates who won the popular vote but not the Electoral College delegates vote, have lost - both liberals - Al Gore and Hllary Clinon. Both of whom would have appointed liberals to the Supreme Court. Conservatives will stop at nothing to control the voting system in this country because that is key to their control.