Saturday, October 6, 2012

Back to Basics

The politicians agree that it's a "great country."  And the Supremes have told us that corporations are people.  I wonder if there continues to be a place for the actual humans who live here.

Because if we still have a place here, there are a few things we need.  In fact, things I always assumed I would have.

We need to be healthy.
We need to know that there will be food on the table and a roof over our heads.
We need to be productive, to do good work and be paid fairly for that work.

Each of us needs to know that our children will have those guarantees throughout their lives.

And we each need to be assured that our parents will have the same, the means to live their lives to the fullest, until the end.

But in this country, we struggle constantly to maintain those assurances.  And we struggle against those for whom capitalism is not just a way of living in this democracy, but the end itself.  When corporations have become people, we have become mere tools to a corporation and its profits.

And look at where it has taken us.

As the wealthy few own more and more of us and our country, our standard of living has sunk ever lower.  We of all civilized nations have determined that health care should be a commodity, in other words, for sale and not for certain.

Our system of education erodes as the rich attack the high cost of teaching our children.  Educating children, once thought of as a worthy investment in the future, has become one more item the corporation would like to snatch away, for a profit.

And sing praise to high productivity, which means corporations get more and more from each worker, who in turn is forced to concede wages, vacation, benefits.  Because it is no longer a source of pride that a corporation treat its workers fairly.  Somewhere along the Reagan years, we were all told that a corporation has no obligation to be moral; it's sole obligation is to increase profit.  And so it does.

So when the young man from Occupy Charleston said a year or so ago that it really is no longer about who wins the next election, he was right.

But this coming election does offer us a chance to change our path.  The choice is clear:  we can continue to allow corporations to profit from our lives, or we can demand that our lives be respected.  We can choose those who will be sure that our basic needs are not snatched from us by the powerful, for their profit.  And after that election, we must keep our eyes on that prize:  our liberty and our dignity.

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