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The Power Elite
Of The People or Of The Power Elite
Is America truly a democracy where our government is as Abraham Lincoln said in the Gettysburg address "a government of the people, by the people, for the people" where the people have an equal say so in government policy or is our government controlled by an elite group of people looking out for there best interests? In 1961 President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his farewell speech and in this speech he warned us of this elite group who at this time had acquired an immense amount of power in our government. Eisenhower called this group the "industrial military complex". Five years earlier C. Wright Mills wrote about this elite group in his book "The Power Elite" in which he identified those that occupied the power elite in this country, which are the economic (Large Corporations), military, and political
The Military Industrial Complex
Power Elite in The 21st Century
So the question still looms, do the people have a say so in policy or is it controlled by the elite who in some way give the people an illusion that the people have some say so. The author of this paper after research believes the latter and agrees with both C. Wright Mills and G. William Dumhoff, that our governmental policies are controlled by a power elite, in the industrial(corporate) military complex. There are several events in the past decade that the author believes confirms that this is so.
The first of these is the 2000 election between Al Gore and George Bush, where Al Gore was the clear winner from popular vote and the electoral vote was actually decided by the Supreme Court, disregarding how the people of this country actually voted. Another example of this behind the power scene was when our country declared war on Iraq in 2003. The war was not truly supported by the people, however the media, controlled by large corporations, in a sense declared war on anyone who spoke out against the war as un-patriotic. This was clearly shown when a band called the Dixie Chicks spoke out against the president and the war and Clear(Cumulus) Media Corporation (owner of more than 1200 radio stations) who had close ties to the president and held pro war rallies banned and took off the air all of the Dixie Chicks songs and started a boycott of the group. The last that this author is going to discuss but not the only other example of this type of control is the bailing out of the big corporations (that were "too big" to fail) in 2008. Our government gave trillions of dollars to banks who wrote bad loans to Americans who were about to lose their homes. Our government gave this money to the corporations instead of giving the money to the people who were about to lose their homes who would have in turn paid the banks for their mortgages and both the banks and debtors would have came out on top. Instead the banks pocketed trillions of dollars and foreclosed on the homes and the big banks(corporations) interests were taken care of and not the people's.
The 2000 Election
So Who Really Controls America?
So how does the idea that a power elite controls our policies mesh with our ideas of democracy? The short answer is that it does not. True democracy in this country is just an idea and has and probably will and always be this way. In the beginning of our country only those people who were white 21 and owned land could even vote. Our revolutionary war wasn't even fought or was for the common people its was for the elite who's interests were met so that they could retain ownership of their property and power. Lincoln should have said a government of the elite, by the elite, and for the elite because the elite have the control and only give the common citizen an illusion that they have a say so