Many haven’t heard the words “The Establishment” spoken in serious context for decades. More of us haven’t heard such a thing in our lifetimes. But the fact of the matter is it is both real and powerful. The Establishment often refers to the alliance of entrenched government, Capital and in some cases, the Military.
We have a two-party system, meaning that in the vast majority of cases the voter is picking between two candidates who may seem quite similar. In fact, as little as six months ago, a plurality of Americans identified themselves as independents. Therefore, to the average American, neither of the democratic or Republican candidates are particularly appealing. Since we have an Electoral College system, the vast majority of districts will never even see a third party with serious chances. This is the first element of the Establishment, entrenched government. Over 96% of congressional incumbents are re-elected and those from only the two mainstream parties.
The second element of the Establishment is Capital, or more familiarly, big business. Since most common voters don’t specifically agree with either party platform, candidates on either side must work hard to sway them with advertisements, rallies, and forms of electioneering. This costs enormous amounts of money, which can often not be raised through grassroots efforts. Despite recent campaign finance reform laws, the power of donations and support from large companies is mostly intact and helps weed out candidates who are too seriously interested in labor, environmental, or income tax laws, to name of few of the key issues. Though the power of business over government is often exaggerated, the degree to which those companies affect public policy cannot be overlooked.
Sometimes, the Military becomes involved in our government as well. Though our armed forces are a civilian organization, and so part of the government, they often act as a powerful external force. The branches of the military often offer bases or weapons production to the districts of specific congress people, to create jobs and help them get re-elected. This is an issue because currently America spends over 600 billion dollars on its military, or more than all of the world’s militaries combined. This money often goes to the development of ineffective weapons such as the DIVAD anti-aircraft gun in 1980’s, or to the creation of other inefficiencies such as the construction base in Alaska for soldiers to be trained in tropical combat. (The congressperson had fought hard to place it there). Any congressperson that speaks out against this enormous, destructive waste will be alienated by the army, and will give up the electoral boost that this pork barrel legislation affords them.
Now, what does this have to do Israel? Currently, the Establishment looks favorably upon Israel. We are fortunate to live in a time when the foreign policy interests of that institution requires Israel’s health and survival. However, in universities across the country, where tomorrow’s leaders are born, awareness of the Establishment and its abuses are rising again, only this time in an academic setting that is rational and effective. This is wonderful in every way, except for the health of Israel. Since the Establishment is so Pro-Israel, and since powerful Israel lobbying groups like AIPAC have attained almost notorious fame, the graduates coming out of those universities will already be stigmatized against Israel. These graduates may become elected officials or they make take up other positions in society such a professors, journalists, or writers, becoming the opinion makers of anew generation. We can counter this threat by advocating heavily in university, but another answer is also open to us.
One issue on which the Establishment is incredibly weak is the Environment, specifically, energy independence. Israel is at the forefront of advances in alternative energies to oil. Therefore, Israel lobbying groups can do tremendous good if they take up the environmental banner. By pushing heavily for restrictions on emissions and subsidies for alternative energies, we can stop the outrageous amount of money being sent to the Middle East and terrorism, while at the same time encouraging Israeli technological innovation by trade with the U.S. Furthermore, popular antipathy towards Israel will never arise, because Israel’s and Israel Lobby’s role in protecting the environment and restricting big energy companies will become blatantly obvious. The new generation, well educated and aware of the Establishment will not see Israel or her American lobbies as a threat, but as an ally with a common goal
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