Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Election Day

As usual, I advise you to get out and vote. This time I will also add, "while you still can".

Of course I don't expect the institution of voting to disappear anytime soon. There's voting in all kinds of places where there is no actual representative government. The US is simply en route to becoming one of those places. Not that voter suppression efforts aren't also underway.

My guess is that historians and intellectuals, so long as either are permitted, will remember 2010 as the moment the fatal blow was struck to US Democracy. "Money is speech", said the supreme court. "Corporations are people". With that, the influence of us 99-per-centers is on its way out, and the richest of the rich have carte blanche to buy up control and run things as they see fit.


This is actually not a partisan matter, but depending on your views, it's bad for different reasons.

This state of affairs is clearly bad for us progressives, since it means if there's no profit in X, X won't get done. Medicare, social security, education, any and all regulation intended to keep a spark of human fairness alive... If nobody gets obscenely wealthy from it, it's out. Privatize any and all remaining programs. "Privatize" is simply another way of saying "unaccountable government for-profit".

For the "conservatives" (an odd term since they do very little conserving) the picture is no less bleak. Make no mistake, corporate-sponsored government is still government. You hate taxes, but I'm guessing you also hate being nickel and dimed by fees, getting gouged by inflated rates, and being trapped in unfair contracts with no alternatives. And if you think the "free market" will save you, remember that all pretense of fair competition would be long gone if the richest companies had their way. Think it's hard to start a business now? Let's see how it goes when those you'd be starting up against get to write all the rules. You can elect and recall people who tax and regulate you. When corporations pull this stuff, there's not a thing you can do about it.

Of course, there are some things we can do about it at this point, if enough of us realize it in time. We have to understand that from this point on, a great deal of money is going to be spent lying to us, and trying to buy us.

An obscene amount of money. But it's a drop in the bucket to the top 1%.

We still have the vote, and the rich aren't in charge simply because they're rich. Not yet. The campaign will now be to convince us to tear down the things that stand between we the people and unbridled corporate greed. Labor unions and collective bargaining. Environmental regulation. Transparency. Public services and utilities. And most critically, education. The messages will be crafted by the best marketing money can buy. Much of it won't even look like marketing. Those of us seeking to be well-informed will have a steep, uphill battle, since the process of discovering who funded what is already disastrously opaque. We will be lied to every which way. In many races for public office, whether they realize it or not, every single viable candidate will have already been co-opted by profit-driven forces.

Besides the vote, we can move our money away from the giants and into local institutions. This is a pain, but there's help available. Since money and power now have a direct exchange rate, voting with our dollars is one of the few real retaliatory tools we have. Not that there's much stopping the big multinational guys from buying up the small local ones.

The endgame here is simple, and it is the goal of all business: profit. It will be the task of all citizens to be productive and create profit. Not for ourselves, mind you. Profit for those few who already have everything. In order to maintain the status quo and prevent an armed revolt, just enough civil liberties and profit-sharing will be maintained and well-promoted, dressed up in feel-good, patriotic and probably religious language. But liberty as we knew it will have passed. The fatal wound from 2010 is already looking pretty infected. Just look at all the teabaggers elected since "money is speech", currently making great strides in breaking down the government and handing over all the control and money to corporate giants.

Prove me wrong. Go out, vote, and for Pete's sake prove me wrong. :^)

1 comment:

t.m. said...

Your well chosen words bring me tears...and a glimmer of hope.