It's a very scary video about how politicians have become the hottest commodity in America. It's about how the wealthy buy influence to get what they want from the government and how for the rest of us, voting is more like rolling dice in Vegas. This is what we're leaving for our kids unless we become seriously willing to do something about it.
That's why I'm involved. That's why I blog. I see something seriously wrong with a culture so devoted and so dependent upon big money in politics that I feel compelled to write about it. There is something wrong with government when the people who work for it give up on public service and use it as a job fair for when they've done their time as a public servant.
Look at every problem facing us. Global warming, pollution, inequality, really expensive health care, and even corruption itself - all of it is a matter of public policy. How is it possible for a CEO to sleep at night knowing that the product he produces is poisoning the air, the water and the land? Oh, I know. He's not living there, where he dumps his waste. And if the voters figure out he's the problem, then he's got his Lear jet pointed at New Zealand, just in case.
Our lack of participation in politics leads directly to us having to choose between two of the most hated people in politics right now. This is not something that happened overnight. Many of us, myself included were busy with other things. Too busy to vote, too busy to be at the city council meeting, too busy to write a comment about that new federal regulation, too busy to show up at an important trial, too busy to show up at a committee hearing at the statehouse. It's all by design.
The elites, the wealthy, the billionaires, call'em what you want, they don't want us poking our noses into government. You want to raise taxes on them? No problem. Taxes go up for us, but for them, they have a cabal of lawyers set for the task of tax avoidance. That's because we're busy working and they're not. They hire someone to do it for them.
OK, enough of that. Now let's get to the point. That video was posted on Facebook by my niece, a millenial. She's just starting to figure out that her parents, her uncles and aunts, haven't been participating in politics enough to ensure that she has a decent future waiting for her. Millenials are having trouble finding jobs to pay for that college debt that they've stacked up. Billionaires love this. If millenials are busy looking for work or working for peanuts at a job that doesn't engage their talents, they won't at the committee hearing on legislation that will send more money to the billionaires.
But millenials are starting to notice that there are real problems ahead of them. Republicans are hearing it from their voters that they want a workers party. Democrats are wising up and taking polls that neglect the millenials because, in just about every poll that I've seen, millenials are supremely unhappy with Hillary Clinton.
Millenials are just starting to figure that the future is theirs to shape and to mold for what they want it to be. They're about 80 million strong and if they ever figure out how to get organized, they can be a tidal wave big enough to wash a lot of corrupt politicians out of office in 2018 and 2020, and at least a few this year. Here's what I see coming. A few weeks ago, I wrote about a list of Berniecrats that was about 270 strong at many levels of government.
I just found this list of Berniecrats from an article I read at the Washington Post of all places. But this list has about 480 Berniecrats. The revolution is just beginning.
So help me figure this out. Remember that "I, me, mine" generation? You know, the one that voted for Reagan, that voted for Bush, that voted for Clinton (Bubba), and that is now telling us to vote for his wife? Remember the message? We're gonna cut taxes so that you can get your fair share, right?
Who got that money? If you started your business in the 60s and 70s, you got that money. If you started working in the 80s, you're too late. Anything after that just became harder and harder to get. The reason for this is that once big money figured out how to get in and stay in, "The Greatest Generation" really didn't care for anyone else anymore. Even the people after that seemed to think that lower taxes would be better for the next generation.
But that's not how it worked out. Inequality got worse, much worse (video). The middle class has become a pale, sick ghost of what it used to be. What used to be the middle class can't pay for the kids to go to college, so the kids go into debt. Those kids can't buy houses, so the banks are holding millions of houses off the market to pump prices for what they can sell.
The professional class can buy influence. We know this because most "free trade" agreements pit manufacturing workers against the rest of the world while protecting doctors, lawyers and dentists. But if you're a millenial looking to get into the professional class, you're not going to make it without rich parents. If you have rich parents, be ready to do as you're told, if you're still talking with them.
We live in a disposable society. It's cheaper to buy a new one of whatever it is, than to fix it and use it. When we extend that attitude to people, we're in trouble. The older folks, for too long, have treated the next generation as disposable and now it's time to pay up.
A man named John Green summed it up rather nicely as follows:
“Public education does not exist for the benefit of students or the benefit of their parents. It exists for the benefit of the social order.
We have discovered as a species that it is useful to have an educated population. You do not need to be a student or have a child who is a student to benefit from public education. Every second of every day of your life, you benefit from public education.
So let me explain why I like to pay taxes for schools, even though I don't personally have a kid in school: It's because I don't like living in a country with a bunch of stupid people.”I totally agree with this sentiment, though I would replace "stupid" with "ignorant", because most of human suffering is due to ignorance. The taxes we pay are to be used to build the infrastructure we need to support our society. Schools, internet, highways, plumbing, and power plants, they are all infrastructure. But instead, the taxes we pay are being use to pump the bottom line at the largest and richest corporations in America.
That video by Represent.us shows us that over the last 5 years, corporations and private business interests have received at least $4 trillion from the federal government as a subsidy or payment for services rendered. Did we build highways, replace our crumbling bridges or run fiber all over the country? Not that I know of. Did we put solar panels on every rooftop in America? No, we're still engaged in war for oil. Did we use that money to lower the cost of health care or educate our kids? No, our government would rather push the TPP for longer and strong patent and copyright protection.
Disenfranchising our youth is not the way to build their future, but that's what we've been doing. Our houses, our cars, that fancy dinner at the restaurant, that diamond ring, that $12,000 pantsuit, whatever possessions we covet, we can't take it with us. Can we honestly look our kids in the eye and say that we're giving them a better life than we had? I don't think so, not now. But I want to.
That's why I'm voting for Berniecrats where I find them. That's why I'm voting for Jill Stein in November. I have enough. I'll be OK. But my kids? They need me. They need me to make the right decision for them today, for they have no other advocate. It's all on me. On us. We must be the change we want to see.