I generally focus these posts on Irish wisdom, culture, and heritage. I suppose the relationship here are the recent stunning words and actions by the Prime Ministers of Ireland and New Zealand. They lit up the world stage with the bright light of true leadership. Their words and actions also shine a glaring light on the lack of true leadership in this nation.
There is hope for our nation. But that hope will only be realized when we stop playing this sinister game of whack-a-mole. The game is rigged. And not in our favor.
So many critical issues face us right now. Social justice, climate change, gun violence, health care, education, white supremists and their hate crimes. The list is endless. And we struggle to attend to all of it because all of it is vitally important. Whack another mole.
Yes. There are victories for the issues and values we hold dear. And we celebrate them. But the horrific injustices keep popping up and this whack-a-mole dynamic is exhausting. Exhaustion and fatigue are part of the game plan.
But there is one issue at the root of all others, one issue that could end this game. This issue is our government being owned by corporate interests and influences. It started decades ago and got a huge power boost through Citizens United. Eisenhower saw it coming and warned us. Now we must end it.
It is painfully clear that so many of our elected representatives and so much of the legislation they pass are controlled by those interests and influences. Just three examples from current news. An NRA backed bill has been proposed in the Missouri legislature that would require every citizen to own an assault weapon. Influenced by chemical companies, the FDA is getting ready to approve GMO salmon production along with the re-approval of pesticides in our food. The Humana CEO just announced industry plans to hijack the medicare for all movement.
The only ones who will benefit are the corporations and the legislators they own. And every day the news brings more of these horror stories.
We may wonder why our elected officials would go along with all this legislation. And then we look at the records of their corporate and special interest campaign contributions. Even in my blue state of Washington, our senators continue to oppose healthcare-for-all legislation. They have each taken massive money from health care and insurance companies. When they are owned and influenced by these companies, our influence as voting citizens becomes a thinly veiled illusion.
There is hope for our nation. And I believe there is common ground for that hope. Our similarities are greater than our differences. We all want health and happiness and a sustainable lifestyle. We all care about our children and our families, our friends and our communities. But an insidious aspect of this whack-a-mole game is to divide us rather than join us. To polarize us with a narrative of separation and fear and anger. To polarize us into thinking that it’s our interests versus our neighbors’ interests when in fact the only interests being served are those of corporations and the wealthy.
And against this backdrop of decisive polarization and whack-a-mole distraction, corporate greed flourishes and corporate power continues to grow.
As the field of Democratic presidential candidates grows in anticipation of the 2020 election, I’m going to be watching for those voices who call for unity and call for an end to corporate control. Yes. It’s going to be a challenging time. The corporations and oligarchs will not give up without a fight. But we are already fighting. It’s time to hone our strategy. It’s time to take back this nation.
Judith – firstname.lastname@example.org