What is this nation supposed to be the greatest in? In how many people its military can kill at once? In how quickly and completely they can level a village and kill its inhabitants on the opposite side of the Earth? In how many military bases it possesses? Or is it the greatest in taking care of its people, in providing healthcare, affordable education, feeding the children and caring for the elderly? How about in protecting and ensuring the safety of the water we drink and the food we eat?
Already, we live in an era of very little government regulation and oversight of corporations and their activities that affect our food, water, air and the environment, leaving them alone to do as they please. Already, we live in an era of maximum corporate influence in politics and buying off of politicians, resulting in huge corporate profits, without regard to people’s health or the environment. But also, every time there is a cutback of government spending or a “shutdown”, as there is now, even that little oversight is abandoned. The first thing that’s considered in any endeavor that corporations set their eye on is, of course, profit, not how it would impact our water, in the case of fracturing, for example, or our food, in the case of genetically modified produce, or climate change, in the case of fossil fuel production.
This trend of increasing corporate power and influence has reached a dangerous and unsustainable level: it has impoverished what used to be a middle class; it has decimated organized labor and collective bargaining, pushing the working class into poverty; it has given rise to endless wars and a militarized police state with massive and indiscriminate spying on citizens; it has endangered people’s health and set the environment on a course for disaster. None of these should be a surprise in a society where profit determines everything and money alone can decide policies. And in all this, both corporate parties are at fault. It’s not about who is more at fault or who is the “lesser evil”; it’s about the dance they do together to satisfy and keep happy their corporate bosses. Both Republicans and Democrats, including and especially under Obama presidency have created the current situation.
The water reservoir shown in the photo is outside the town of Weynesburg, PA. A Duke University study published yesterday found dangerously high level of contamination due to fluids discharged after natural gas extraction which oil and gas companies are furiously engaged in currently, throughout the US and without EPA oversight. Such contaminated water finds its way into people’s drinking water. If you search for fracking or fracturing, you can see on YouTube, people holding a lighter to their tap water and setting it on fire. This is dangerous. It’s our drinking water that’s at stake. It doesn’t get any more basic than that. This is what the political and socioeconomic situation has come down to in this country that we are told is the greatest. This is what a system based on profit-first does. This must be stopped and it won’t be stopped by corporate politicians, the vast majority of whom are multi-millionaires receiving campaign contributions from corporations, and who cut children’s school lunches while keeping their high salaries and corporate gifts. Not even writing or calling them will do. What we need is to Occupy them. It’s time for change.