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Archive for May, 2012

4I often have to catch myself from being too pessimistic when I think of the future. I automatically think of growing disparities of wealth, corporate takeover, and a growing police state. However, when I study history, I realize that every generation has had fear of the future.

During the Cold War, the fear was that the U.S. was going to soon be taken over by the Russians. I remember my mom telling me that when she was a young a famous TV Preacher stated with the confidence that the Soviets would be marching down the streets of Washington DC in a matter of years. Of course, that never happened, just like all the other doomsday scenarios that the Cold War brought with it.

During the Industrial Revolution that was a great fear by many. With the new technology what was human society going to be like? And yes..there have certainly been very bad consequences to society and the environment as a result of technological advances, but there have also been a lot of positive changes. The fact that I am sitting here in Costa Rica, writing a blog that people could read in every corner of the globe is a pretty big testament to many the advantages and blessings that technology has brought us.

We could also look at the fear during the cultural changes during the 60’s and 70’s. People were completely fearful of what it would lead to in society. Obviously, there have been negatives that have come of the cultural revolution; however, there have also been many positives and many people have freedom and rights that were completely suppressed in early times. Minorities have been given a voice, and some ideas such as nationalism have lost their edge.

Does this mean that we just not be concerned about the direction the world economy or the nation is going in? Of course not, there could be some very serious problems if we don’t make some major changes. However, that is the beauty of humanity. In the midst of problems, great solutions often come. Maybe we should have a healthy skepticism of the future; however, every once in a while let’s sit back and realize that perhaps that the future is not as scary as we think it is going to be. It will be very different, but it might not be all bad.

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5Who are you voting for: Barack Obama or Mitt Romney? What are you: a Democrat or a Republican? This seems to be the dichotomy we have been forced into in the U.S. However, what if both parties have been corrupted by corporate funds? What if the Democrats are the good cops and the Republicans are the bad cops who work together to keep the status quo?

In some ways, it seems that we have played the fool in U.S. politics. Part of the problem is an outdated Constitution which really only supports a two party system. Instead of looking for ways to change this, we have just accepted the system the way it is. There are obviously a few exceptions like Bernie Sanders in the state of Vermont, but these are very rare.

Are Mitt Romney and Obama the same? No, Obama is a much better president that Mitt Romney would be. Romney seems to be nothing but a tool for Wall Street and the wealthy, while Obama is at least working for some reforms for the workers. Obama would also make wiser decisions on foreign policy than Romney. In fact, if I was living in a swing state, I would probably vote for Obama.

However, I am registered in the state of South Carolina, which would easily elect the most unqualified Republican candidate over President Obama. Unlike almost every other modern democracy, our leaders are not elected by popular vote, but rather in outdated electoral college. Because of this, the votes of people not living in swing states do not really count in many ways. Seeing that this is the case, I have a hard time voting for Obama even though I actively campaigned for him in 08. Why? For one, despite all the talk of change, Obama filled his Cabinet and his set of advisors with corporate and Wall Street leaders who care little for the average person. Obama has also been way too quick to simply capitulate to the Republicans. I think he is a good person, but he is pretty horrible at getting what he wants. Yes, the Republicans have tried to sabotage his every move, but he has time and time again fallen into their traps.

Obama has also done little to decrease the growing police state and assault on civil liberties; in fact he has extended the police state and caused even more of our rights to be abolished. With the National Defense Authorization Act, he basically made it legal for the government to hold individuals indefinitely without a warrant, which sounds like one step away from Orwell’s 1984. He has also extended the horrendous drone war which destroys families and creates even more hatred and terrorism in much of the world.

In the end, Obama hasn’t been a horrible president, and I hope that he does defeat Romney. However, he has not stood for much of the changed he campaigned for, rather he has the kept the status quo. And when you keep the status quo, it simply allows the corporate and police state to expand.

I don’t know who I will be voting for exactly…perhaps Green, Socialist, Justice Party, etc….the real issue is not the candidate I support. It is a protest vote saying that while Obama is the better alternative to Romney, we really need more options.

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6We all know that many corporations do many unethical and immoral activities, whether it is related to their workers, customers, or the environment; however, is the whole corporate structure immoral? Essentially, the corporation’s main goal is to earn money. That is why they are created, and that is why they exist. Money trumps any other concern. It is more important than what is ethical, compassionate, or just.

In the end, it is not even the fault of the actual leaders of the corporation. If they wanted to do the “right thing” and forgo profits to be more ethical, they could be sued by their stockholders for not looking out for the best interest of their investments. If a CEO tries to do the right thing, it usually means that profits will not be able to continue to increase. However, if the CEO does this, you can be guaranteed they will be out of a job very quickly.

There is something anonymous about the corporate structure that “frees” people of moral and ethical obligations. You may never personally pollute the environment, exploit workers, or sell dangerous products to others; however, if you are a stockholder in many corporations, you are in fact playing a role in doing this by demanding that the corporation maximizes your profits no matter who is hurt in the process.

In many ways, we have created a monster that now controls us. We can make villains out of different corporate leaders, but the real villain is the corporate system itself. Until we can change that, our world and society will continued to be damaged under the demand of profits by the few in society who control the market.

I love how Wendell Berry put it, ““A corporation, essentially, is a pile of money to which a number of persons have sold their moral allegiance.”

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