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Refocusing the Fight

January 8th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

This is the first of what I hope will be many short-length posts in my journal expressing just a quick thought I have regarding politics and occasionally philosophy. I expect that most will just be brief comments on the news of the day, but since this is the first I wanted to make it more broad.

The mainstream media has got almost everyone brainwashed into looking at issues from the same old prism of conservative right vs. progressive left, when the important divide in the United States, the one everyone should be focused on now, is actually between the corporate interests and the public interest.

Right now, corporate influence is so pervasive in Washington that even a so-called “progressive” president in the White House can’t (or won’t) stand up to it. The giant financial institutions that caused the financial crisis have not been weakened at all by the current government, but as long as nobody is paying attention, they stand a very good chance of being strengthened by it. At a time when the average person is struggling harder than they have in a generation, most of the politicians who occupy our government still serve the corporate interests who fund them at the expense of their struggling constituents in the public. Yet almost everyone in the media remains focused on bullshit conservative vs. liberal “culture war” issues like abortion and gay marriage.

The recent Health Care debate highlights this problem perfectly. While the overwhelming majority of the public wanted a public insurance plan to compete with the private industry, the private industry had enough of a majority among our elected representatives in their pockets to overcome that. As a result, we’ll get a mandate to buy private insurance, and millions of new customers will be served to the corporations on a silver platter. In exchange we get a few token reforms so the democrats, the party supposedly serving the public interest, can act like it was a victory.

And yet where is all of the outrage during this despicable display? It’s all over the internet, but it’s only visible on the conservative right, as the tea-bagging crowd, fueled by a corporate-propaganda machine called “Fox News” are marching on Washington seemingly every other week, descending on town hall meetings and breaking into hysterics over the horrors of the encroaching liberal fascism that is destroying everything they hold dear. Those on the left are forced to say, “Hey wait a minute, calm down, it’s not that bad.”

When really we should be out there behaving just like the tea-baggers, marching on Washington and showing up at town-hall meetings, barraging our congressmen with hysterical messages shouting “what is happening to my country?”

The thing is: we are in the same boat as the tea-baggers, and that boat is sinking. Their anger has been expertly misdirected by the wealthy elites who are screwing them over, but their anger is justified, and the spirit that drives them to get out and march is a powerful one. If we can help them to realize that it’s not ‘Big Bad Government’ that’s screwing them but giant financial institutions and corporations (and I think more of them understand this already than we might think), to refocus their energy away from the culture war and back to the class war, I think that we might just have a real chance to take some power back.

I’m not normally prone to optimism, but look at the facts and consider what an explosive time this has the potential to be. We only lost real health care reform by a handful of votes in the senate, and even then only thanks to the filibuster rule and a president unwilling to exert pressure on behalf of the public. The pressure is right here, and it’s building with every economically stagnant month that goes by. If we refuse to swallow the frames that the traditional media is feeding us and look at things from a public vs. corporate instead of right vs. left point-of-view, to put aside our philosophical differences with the other side momentarily for the sake of our combined economic interests, there’s no way our government would be able to ignore us and continue to cater to the wealthy at our expense. Just because we’ve given up on Obama doesn’t mean we have to give up on Hope.

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