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My Country 'tis of thee—
Corporatocracy! Of Thee I Sing
I know, I know. I’ve seen the blogosphere screeching about the Death of Democracy now that the Supreme Court has rolled back restrictions on corporate donations to political campaigns. Whiners. Haven’t you all stopped for even a moment to think how this might benefit humanity? Sure, sure, we’re all aware of the downside, but would it kill us to think positive for a change?
I mean, let’s face it: corporations have controlled the agenda since the Mayflower Compact duped those non-puritan losers into thinking it didn’t matter where they ‘settled,’ as long as they made some money. Come on, people--it's not as if corporate whoredom hasn't been a Staple(tm) of our 'democracy' from the beginning. The latest victory for corporate personhood just kicks the can a little bit further down Wall Street. Corporations are people too, dammit!
Do we really need such archaic forms of government. When business and information are moving around the globe at the speed of light, can we really afford to wait two, or four or even six years for an ‘election?’ Get real. Corporations know how to spend money wisely, and if we give ourselves completely to their benign control, won’t we all sleep just a little better at night? Now don't you smirk! (We own that gesture).
True, some changes will be in order. But we’ve been indulging this eighteenth century protocol crap for too long anyhow. Will the Gentleman yield? I yield to the Gentlelady from Texas. Come on. Besides, all these geographic obstacles have outspent their welcome, anyway. How about the Senator from Viacom? The Senator from Monsanto is up five points in heavy trading today…. No more of this sillynanny powdered wig stuff. It’s time to update our institutions: The Gentleman from United Health Care! As in, The Gentleman from United Health Care asks consent to revise and extend his remarks. And what’s with this gender bias—aren’t we beyond that? Think of the post-feminist breakthrough inspired by a whole new term, say, Gentlecorp.! As in, will the Gentlecorp. yield? I yield to the Gentlecorp..
To those who envision a gray, faceless corporate future, I say lighten up. I see a warmer, fuzzier world where politicians might even become sort of expensive, exotic pets, like say a python, an ostrich or a pot-bellied pig. "Julia and I would love to come to the thing tonight, but we have to stop off at the house and feed our Congressman." Or, to paraphrase Mrs. Slocumb, "If I'm not home to feed my Senator by six o'clock, I shall be stroking it all evening!" And think of the bonding experience for regular americans around the water cooler. "Hey, did you hear Jim and Martha made a killing on their Senate seat. Any idea what they're going to do with the money?" This might be particularly appropriate for the Senators from Blackwater or Haliburton. Or maybe "Pssst! I have a line on a seriously undervalued Senator--but we have to act fast if we want to get in on the ground floor."
And it’s not just in the formal setting of CongressCorp. that these sweeping changes will take place. Think of the advances for humankind! Not since Upton Sinclair ruined the meat industry with his snarky, lopsided hatchet job will corporations have been so free to not tell it like it is. Imagine—no more cholera, no more botulism or e. coli. In fact, no more disease or pain of any kind, now that definitions and regulations will become a thing of the past, consigned to history with the swipe of a corporate pen. Just like the World Health Organization did to smallpox. Well, virtually.
Homelessness will disappear, along with hunger, poverty and war. Unemployment will vanish—who’s counting? Want another double cheeseburger? Pile it on—coronary artery disease and diabetes, like obesity and racism, are things of the past when those silly rules that require reporting or cataloging them are gutted like the mad cows they are not (BSE doesn’t exist without testing, genius!). Age of Aquarius? Yeah, right! Make way for the Age of Corporatarius!
Sure, the American Dream will change. But be honest, hasn't it always been in flux? From the dream of female suffrage to joining a union, from home ownership to the negro right to vote... all these quaint notions have come and gone over time. I remember a political cartoonist in the 80's lampooned the dream of a black man running for president. An older, African American man was bouncing a grandson on his knee: "President? No, son—but you may grown up to be Frontrunner!"
Such cynicism! Within a mere twenty years, a black corporation was elected to the very White House this cartoonist implied was out of reach. And that was in the bad old days when corporations had to connive and scheme to line the public trough with billions of dollars of corporate cash. Brand Obama shattered the beige ceiling for millions. And, in time, so will the SCOTUS ruling today, setting the scene for that day not long from now, in some town or godforsaken hamlet somewhere between Orlando and the dawn.... in some lonely, lowly, humblest of business schools, a Latina or African American Grandma will smile, her eyes brimming with tears as she looks on at her successful granddaughter: "I always knew that if you prayed hard enough and worked hard enough... that someday you might just...grow up to [sniff] own a United States Senator!
[No corporations were harmed in the writing of this article.]
© 2010 Daniel Patrick Welch. Reprint permission granted with credit and link to
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Writer, singer, linguist and activist Daniel Patrick Welch lives and writes in Salem, Massachusetts, with his wife, Julia
Nambalirwa-Lugudde. Together they run The Greenhouse School.. Translations of articles are available in over two dozen languages. Links to the website are appreciated.