Rev. Dr. C. T. Vivian
“The State of Equality and Justice in America” is a 20-part series of columns written by an all-star list of contributors to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
The contributors include: U. S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) LCCRUL 50th Anniversary Grand Marshal; Ms. Barbara Arnwine, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCRUL); Mr. Charles Ogletree, Professor, Harvard University Law School/Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice; the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., President/CEO, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; the Rev. Joseph Lowery, Co-founder, Southern Christian Leadership Conference; U. S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.); and 14 additional thought leaders and national advocates for equal justice.
Here’s the ninth op-ed of the series:
by Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian
We must take the urgency of now very seriously. Not just because of the pending 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, but because the future of America’s people; especially those who have been long oppressed, depends on right now.
Since the beginning of this country, the one thing that has never been fully decided is who will truly determine this nation’s future? Will it be America’s truly wealthy – the 1 percent who can decide every political and economic move in the richest and mightiest country in the world? And who, with the economic 1 percent of Europe and Asia, could take over every major decision in this global world? Would it be them or would it be “We the people”?
It is clear by studying recent events; coupled with patterns of history, that the democratic principle of “We the people” is constantly endangered by plutocratic mindsets, those who are often controlled by greed and quests for power. Plutocracy, according to Webster, is one, “Government by wealthy people”; two, “A society governed by wealthy people”; or three, “A ruling class whose power is based on their wealth.”
I caution that America could succumb to this social mindset – if we do not continue to stand guard using our democratic powers of “We the people” to the fullest. Take the last presidential election, for instance. Mitt Romney, in his derogatory comment about the so-called “47 percent” of people who he claimed “are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims” and who”pay no income tax” – appeared to dismiss nearly half of American voters. He even said, “… and so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”