They say politicians are in the back pocket of corporations. But, come on, that’s not fair to corporations. Politicians are more or less employees of corporations at any rate. Let us give corporations credit where credit is due, they know how to game the system into serving their interests over the interests of the people. This creates an environment where the American people feel powerless or that when they cast a vote, they’re simply choosing between the perceived lesser of two evils. Which in turn leads to apathy and disengagement from political discourse.
Maybe I’m anti-corporate, I don’t know. I don’t consider myself anti-corporate and I don’t think I’m anti-capitalist. But I’m certainly not pro-corporation. If there’s a corporation out there that doesn’t kill small businesses, underpay their workers, poison the environment, or lube politicians with greenbacks in order to persuade them to act contrary to the interests of their constituents, then please, tell me. Until then, maybe I am anti-corporate after all.
Annual shareholders meeting.
Politicians who are not beholden to corporations or fringe special interest groups appear to be in short supply these days. Especially at the federal level. However, there is a slightly ogre-ish malcontent stirring up some trouble as of late though, and he might be just what we need. He’s a socialist but he prefers the nomenclature “democratic socialist” or “progressive” when asked. Even though Socialism is a big bad scary thing in American politics, I seriously doubt that most Americans even know what it is. I recently heard an educated, well-traveled American confuse Socialism for Communism which could suggest that perhaps, like this person, many do not know the difference.
It’s been posited (pretty much only in America and almost no where else) that Socialism is an evil, no good, very bad shitty way to do things. Socialism already exists in America (par example: social security, unions, Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act, food stamps, unemployment, workman’s compensation) so we can just go ahead and dispel the notion that democracy and socialism cannot coexist. The vast majority of Europe is also a reasonably good example, but whatever. Europe talks funny, it shouldn’t count.
If you haven’t realized it by now, the mad scientist-ish politician I’m talking about is Vermont Senator and victim of continual static electricity, Bernie Sanders. The only thing people can hang on him is that he’s unpolished and *GASP FAINT PISS PANTS* a socialist. Recent journalistic hit jobs on him would suggest that his being president would bankrupt America because his fantasy overhauls would carry a hefty price tag. That is completely true but only half of the story; the net cost of his proposals would come to benefit Americans and actually be cheaper than current healthcare cost projections. The Wall Street Journal estimated Sander’s “plan” would cost $18 trillion over the next decade, but neglected to mention that Sanders has not released his actual proposal and that their estimate is based on legislation proposed by Rep. John Conyers. And here’s the kicker, actual healthcare cost projections for the next decade in the system that now exists would total around $42 trillion.
Bernie on the campaign trail.
Bernie Sanders has conservatives salivating because they feel if he were to win the Democratic nomination that Republicans could put a red tie on a mop and win the general election. Avowed Sanders supporter though I am, if I am to make an inference based on the most current campaign finance figures, every candidate should be afraid of Sanders.
Bernie has surpassed one million donations already. Not bad for a guy who declared less than five months ago. It’s a record-setting pace, beating both of Obama’s presidential campaigns which set records of their own. And with average contributions $30 or so, his supporters represent a well that can be returned to over and over again. He raised just a little less than Hillary Clinton this past fiscal quarter, and she has a donor list that is topped by Wall Street firms and corporations that read like a who’s who of assholishness. Both raised more than any Republican, but that’s not necessarily a fair comparison when the Republican field is crowded like some milquetoast country club fundraiser for reseeding the greens.
When you look at those figures and the sizes of the crowds who come to hear him speak, it’s clear that although he prefers to be referred to as a democratic socialist or a progressive, his supporters view him as a true populist. If you were to assign designations to politicians based solely on the way the populace responds to them, Bernie can’t be anything less than a legit populist. Clinton would be a Borg cube. Jeb Bush would a flavorless milkshake. Bobby Jindal would be an elf that makes cookies in hollow trees. And Donald Trump would be a dustbunny riding the jet stream of a fart.
The Cash Money Records crew. (not pictured: Bernie Sanders)
Alright, my Sander’s stiffy aside, let us circle back to the original jumping-off point. Corporations may or may not be a work of the devil blah blah blah doo doo-doo. Corporations are not democratic entities. At their best, they are meritocracies, at their worst they fuel themselves on kitten blood and baby tears. They have a lot of clout in Congress, but how bad is it really?
Look, another group of innocent people at a school just got blown away for no good reason. And it seems likely that little will change in the aftermath. Politicians who aim to move against the gun lobby receive not-so-subtle notices that Remington or Winchester or whoever will relocate the factory in their district. So, unless they want a bunch of upset, newly unemployed voters to deal with, then they better step off. It’s an entirely tangential undertaking to unravel the myriad reasons why this works on politicians but shouldn’t. But I’ll leave that for another day.
Each shooting is one too many.
This is just the most recent example of why we maybe sort of kinda need a person to run the country who isn’t at the yoke of big money. There’s also issues like the Keystone XL pipeline. It seems a safe bet that any Republican, if elected, would approve it because, duh, oil money is the best money. Instead of focusing on nature and people-friendly renewable resources they’ll opt for the pipe because their short and curlies are firmly in the grip of corporations. They need that money for re-election. And if they don’t take that money and choose a different route, that money could potentially end up in the wallet of their opponent.
Am I being needlessly melodramatic?
I want Sanders as president because he can’t be pinned down or penned in by CEOs and lobbyists. I think the rest of the country wants that too, whether Sanders represents their ideal candidate or not. Let’s be real, you’re not likely to find many gun-loving bible thumpers preaching the gospel of conglomerates. Just like you’re not going to find a single mom working two jobs praying for a boardroom full of neckties to come and save her.
Cynicism is not an attractive trait. But my cynicism, and the collective negativity that the American electorate feels towards politicians is merely a reflection of our ever-diminishing hope that they will achieve something, anything that will make us feel safer, live healthier, or prosper. We feel this because their means and methods are so plainly obvious. Bernie’s are obvious as well, but we know with him that he’s on our side, not the side of money.
If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends or annoy your relatives.