Monday, February 15, 2010

The Republicans, the Supreme Court, & the Corporations

I use to think that what has occurred over the last few years has just been a random series of political events and while they were devastating they were still unrelated. As I see more of our democracy breaking down I am becoming more skeptical concerning the randomness of these events. I have still yet to figure out how you lose two election cycles in a row and yet claim victory for your ideas that were soundly rejected and proven to be bankrupt. The thing about the Republican PR machine is that they have been allowed to create an alternate reality.

This alternate reality resembles our reality in many ways albeit one. In both realities the facts are the same but how they are interpreted are very different. It is a fact that the Republicans were decisively defeated in the election of 2008, no one can dispute that. Yet according to this alternative reality the election was not a repudiation of Republican ideas it was a repudiation of George W. Bush as if he were acting single-handedly to bring down the government and the country. It didn’t take long for them to throw George W. under the “straight talk” express bus. The sad part of all this is how Democrats have allowed this re-writing of history to continue unabated. It is one thing for Dick Cheney to come out from under his rock to defend his torturous record, but to allow these other clowns to distance themselves from the impending collapse that the Dems inherited is unconscionable. There have been more Dick Cheney sightings since he left office than the entire eight years he was in office. I don’t recall him being this accessible when he authorizing torture.

But let’s take a moment to see if we can connect the dots. First the Republicans work to cripple the government and make it appear incapable of solving the problems of average Americans. These average Americans become disillusioned with their government and accept the Republican meme that the government cannot be trusted to do anything and therefore all government intervention is anti-American and anti-founding fathers. Yet the government has a record when allowed to perform of successfully running programs like Medicare and Medicaid which these same average Americans count on every day. Add to this mix that you prevent any Democratic legislation from being enacted not because it is bad for the country but merely because it is politically expedient and you now have a dysfunctional legislative process. So you have a government that is not trusted to correctly sell postage stamps and a legislative process that is being obstructed to the point of a standstill.

The next dot is in the event that the federal government no longer functions to solve average American’s problems who then fills the void? Who then is able to advance policy and get legislation through? Well, thanks to the recent ruling of the Supreme Court that void will now be filled by the corporations. Let’s be clear it is not that the corporations were not instrumental in our body politic prior to this ruling. Corporations have continued to circumvent our democracy through campaign cash and lobbying efforts. Corporations have historically influenced public opinion and policy through the media by using advertising; they have used campaign cash and lobbying efforts, and the threat of extortion through plant closures and higher prices. What the Supreme Court has done is allowed the corporation’s unfettered access and influence in our political system at a time when the system is perceived as broken. What they did was the equivalent of giving Halliburton a no-bid contract to America to provide arms and materiel during war time.

The final dot is the corporations themselves who have historically shown that they have little regard for democracy or the will of the people. It is common wisdom in the world that the capitalists of America will sell you the rope to hang them with and this decision by the Supreme Court may bring this gem of wisdom to fruition. Once the will of the people has been stymied by corrupt politicians and obstructionists the only coherent voice from the chaos will be the benevolent corporations who will ride in and rescue the American public from its impending doom at the hand of government mismanagement. These of course would be the same corporations who took this economy to the brink of Armageddon and continue to provide each other with immoral compensation for these failures. I guess the Republicans are not the only ones living in this alternative reality. You now get giant bonuses for running your company into the ground by gambling with its assets and why not your company will not be liable for it anyway.

There is a foundation being laid in America and I am afraid that we are so busy concentrating on the minutiae of the 24 hour news cycle that we are missing the larger picture. As Pink Floyd so aptly stated you build a wall one brick at a time and these are just more bricks in the wall.

I find rebellion packaged by a major corporation a little hard to take seriously. – David Byrne

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