When pressed as to political affiliation, I tend to vote policy rather than party, although, when further pressed, being a Teddy Roosevelt Republican would probably do the trick. His stance on the environment and trust busting pretty much floats my boat.
I make the point because we could use a Teddy Roosevelt right about now.
It’s no secret (or shouldn’t be anyway) that we’re bearing witness to an age of latter-day robber barons, where mega-corporations “too big to fail” shamelessly manipulate and game the system in pursuit of obscene bonuses by treating the middle class like a cheap doormat through offshoring jobs and other corporate machinations.
Oddly, we buy it. We’re either too complacent or unknowing or we believe that deregulation, subsidies and tax breaks, selling of publicly held natural resources and attempts to repeal environmental laws somehow benefit the common weal. As Marshall McLuhan famously said, the medium is the message. And if you can buy the medium, you control the message.
With the Supreme Court’s decision that corporations have the rights of individuals when it comes to campaign contributions, it doesn’t take the brightest bulb on the block to see the nexus between corporate interests and the crafting of laws to protect those interests.
If this sounds like socialism to you, it might be worth remembering that it was another Republican president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who warned America about the dangers of the “military/industrial complex” and its threat to democracy.
So, rather than mentally checking out or wringing our hands in helpless despair, here’s a 10-point plan put together by Glenn Shcherer, senior editor of Blue Ridge Press — a news service that focuses on environmental issues — that offers some revolutionary solutions. He calls for a “new Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia to draft a corporation-proof governing document.”
End corporate citizenship by stripping corporations of the right to exist as people.
Ban political donations by group, with no corporation, association, union or nonprofit allowed to fund elections.
Reduce corporate welfare by restricting bailouts, subsidies and tax breaks that favor one business over another.
End the buying and selling of influence through lobbying.
Encourage a multiparty system by ending winner-take-all elections that favor the two-party system.
Ban paid political advertising in favor of a government-funded electronic and print media network that would provide free and equal time to all candidates.
Create a level playing field by putting limits on how much corporate legal teams can spend when citizens seek redress.
Ban election polling, which can be manipulated by special interest groups.
Stop the revolving door between corporate managers who move between industry, then high government office before returning to industry.
Finally, ratify a Citizen Bill of Rights that guarantees every American the right to affordable food, shelter and a clean environment.
Pie in the sky? Perhaps. But even if we’ve been rocked on our heels by a gamed corporatocracy, the American spirit is indomitable. I’m keeping the faith.
Bill Morem can be reached at email@example.com or at 781-7852.