Saturday, March 5, 2011
You know, sometimes it really does feel like we are living in a Looking-Glass world. The frantic deregulation and merger frenzy of the last thirty years, stoked by the unfettered greed of banks, insurance companies, giant accounting firms, pharmaceuticals, media organizations, energy companies, and the Chamber of Commerce (to name but a few) nearly bankrupted this nation; the anti-tax policies and upward redistribution of wealth of the Bush years unquestionably brought on the greatest economic meltdown since the depression; colossal, criminal, corporate fraud and malfeasance have been exposed repeatedly, yet no real political or legal response has been forthcoming.
Instead, the "know-nothing" Tea Party swept politicians into power with the craziest campaign imaginable. Take all the things that nearly destroyed us—unfettered corporate greed, no public accountability for private or public corruption, an orchestrated attack against the regulation of criminal corporations, unlimited secret political spending by corporations wedded to an all-out assault on public and private unions and their political power—and reenergize each of these assaults on the middle-class ten-fold.
This illogical, delusional, self-destructive, Mad-Hatter Tea Party craze has now consumed the entire Republican’t party (as well as a few putative Democrazies) who are now clamoring and clambering over each other in a race to dismantle the last remaining shreds of the social, economic, and political safety nets of the diminishing pool of middle-income workers and the ever-increasing ocean of lower-income and unemployed workers.
Instead of attacking the obvious causes of our economic woes (including two illegal wars costing us over three billion dollars weekly), these elected representatives (read corporate political shills) and their deregulated media mouthpieces have mounted legislative campaigns to extend tax cuts and corporate subsidies for the wealthiest 1% while denying even minimal economic protections for workers; they are attempting to entirely eliminate funding for all public media, the only entities providing real, even-handed journalism in this country; they are attempting to severely curtail or destroy workers rights and protections with an unprecedented assault on collective bargaining; they have introduced a full-fledged campaign to decimate women’s rights by radically redefining rape, criminalizing miscarriages, allowing hospitals to refuse to save a woman’s life if doing so requires an abortion, and authorizing the legal murder of abortion providers; they have continued attacks on the rights of LGBT community; they continue their attempt to demonize immigrants and undocumented workers; and they have begun to decimate or eliminate environmental protections while legislatively denying scientific evidence and disallowing that evidence to affect our environmental policies.
The unimaginable harms of these initiatives, considered separately or collectively, is truly mind-boggling. As I learned from more than twenty-five years of collective bargaining, “once you give it up, you never get it back.” Just envision the havoc that any one of these proposals will wreak on our society, and then try to imagine what it would take to fix it once it is in place.
If we don’t get involved, NOW, in private conversations, in public demonstrations, in political campaigns; if we don’t immediately inform our elected representatives, both local and national, of our positions on these vital issues; if we don’t write our local newspapers and media outlets with rational, focused responses to the vitriolic distortion and lies of wacky political demagogues and crackpot pundits, the cause of democracy here and around the world will be setback for generations, perhaps many generations, to come.
“The Greatest Threat to Democracy is Hypocrisy! Seek Truth! Speak Truth!” Tim McMullen