If I sound a little bit angry today, I am. What started out as a government “of the people, by the people and for the people” has become a government of “for the Party, for the rich, and for religion. Both political parties have become slaves to their political donors. Staying in office means raising a lot of money and raising money means bowing to the interests of the millionaires and corporations.
How does a man who loses the popular vote by 3 million votes still become President of the United States? It is because of an antiquated political tool known as the Electoral College.
The popular vote is an indication of overall numerical support while the Electoral College is a reflection of specialized voting within a constructed subset of the United States democratic process, meaning it does not necessarily reflect the will of the majority. Each state is invested with a certain number of electoral votes, which are fixed and not related to the population of said state. Get rid of the Electoral College: It is from the colonial times.There are many Americans who believe that this country is losing its popular stand all around the world. They blame it on the antics of a political buffoon now sitting in the oval office. America has at times been very unpopular with countries from around the world. Back in the early and mid-eighteen hundreds while the owning of slaves was not a part of the culture of many countries around the world the United States still believed it was alright to keep human beings in chains, beat them with whips, sell them like cattle, and hang them if they became to “uppity” or disobedient.
The United States still believed that Manifest Destiny gave it the “God-given” right to seize lands from the indigenous people, slaughter them at will, rape their women, lock up their religious leaders, and deny them any and all political freedom. American Indians were given the right to vote 148 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
The lynching of African Americans and American Indians was a common practice in the 1800s. The mass lynching of Dakota warriors at Mankato, Minn., was the largest mass hanging in American history. 38 Dakota were hanged simultaneously for defending their country.
One historian traced the origin of the word lynching to either a magistrate named Charles Lynch or farmer William Lynch, both of whom lived in Virginia about the time of the American Revolution. Migrating Virginians in the early 19th century often talked about “Judge Lynch” as a symbol of extralegal justice. The city of Lynchburg, Virginia got its name from Charles Lynch.
I bring up these points of history to expose the warts along with the successes in America because for the first time in 50 years we seem to moving backwards to a time of political corruption, racism and a time when the GOP, which used to stand for Grand Old Party, is beginning to resemble a Greed Over People party instead. There is nothing grand about what happened in Washington last week as a tax plan that would greatly increase the deficit and do irreparable damage to the poor and middle class squeaked by with the full support of the GOP.
South Dakota Republican Senator Mike Rounds is of the opinion that he can fix the Indian Health Service by holding an audit. We (American Indians) have one of the lowest life expectancies in America. We have the highest infant mortality and youth suicide rates in America. And yet some Indian tribes that are rolling in money from their casinos are still getting substantial sums of money from the Indian Health Service and Housing and Urban Development while thousands of very poor Indians are literally dying and are living two or three families in a dilapidated trailer house. This is America!
Does anyone believe that these extremely rich tribes would ever share a crumb with the poverty-stricken tribes? Don’t hold your breath. Then why are they still taking money away from the poor tribes when they don’t even need it? That is something Sen. Rounds can look at and maybe even fix, but then he never asked me or any other Lakota man or woman about this.
Lord knows I don’t want to get into the ‘Lo the poor Indian’ mode, but after covering Indian country for more than 40 years as a newspaperman and journalist I am dumbfounded by the ignorance of Mike Rounds and the other politicians who don’t have the brains to ask us (Indians) what it is that we want.
When she was running for office I told Republican Kristi Noem, our Congresswoman now running for governor, my idea of how to build an economy on the Indian reservations of South Dakota and once she was elected I never heard from her again. The solutions aren’t that complicated. To Rounds and Noem (one can’t even count Sen. John Thune in this discussion) I say KISS: Keep it simple stupid. And if you don’t think I am simple or stupid, call me. If you do, call me anyway.
(Contact Tim Giago at najournalist1@ gmail.com)